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How to create Emoji in Android

Miscommunication can happen when texting because, at times, emotions and tones in written form can be near impossible to properly convey. Emojis solve this issue: A fun and effective means to perfectly express exactly how you feel without using any words. They’ve become a staple of texting, social media, and group chats.

If you’ve ever struggled to find the perfect emoji, you’re not alone. However, there are means to create your own. Custom emojis are just better, they’re unique just like you, and more importantly, define your emotions, not one prerendered by Google.

Read on to find out how to create custom emoji in Android using first- and third-party tools.

Emoji Kitchen

Google introduced Emoji Kitchen in February 2020, a component in Gboard that’s currently only accessible through a beta. The company expanded Emoji Kitchen to more than 14,000 combinations in December 2020.

But here’s the deal: You can’t create a custom emoji using this tool, which contradicts the topic at hand. Instead, the Emoji Kitchen expands the selection of each standard emoji. For instance, if you tap a smiley face, you’ll see eight variants in a scrollable ribbon, including a happy ghost and a smiling heart.

That said, if you don’t want to be bothered with creating an emoji and just need an expanded selection, this is your ticket. However, not every emoji provides multiple variants — at least, not yet. You’ll see a message that says, “no suggestions here … try a different emoji,” when you tap an incompatible emoji. That will likely change as the Emoji Kitchen grows closer to leaving beta.

Here are a few emojis currently not supported in Emoji Kitchen:

  • Full moons
  • Some teeth and bones
  • Body parts
  • Weather

Google confirms that Emoji Kitchen works with these apps:

  • Gmail
  • Messages by Google
  • Messenger
  • Snapchat
  • Telegram
  • Whatsapp

The bottom line here is that if the app supports stickers, then it likely supports Google’s Emoji Kitchen.

Set Gboard as your default keyboard

The method differs across Android devices, but we list the most common two.

Android 11

Step 1: Swipe a finger down from the top to extend the shade and tap the cog icon to open the settings menu.

Step 2: Scroll down and tap System.

Step 3: Tap Language & Input.

Step 4: Tap On-screen Keyboard.

Step 5: Tap Manage On-screen Keyboards.

Step 6: Tap the toggle next to Gboard.

Samsung (Android 10)

Step 1: Swipe a finger down from the top to extend the shade and then tap the cog icon to open the Settings menu.

Step 2: Tap General Management.

Step 3: Tap Language and Input.

Step 4: Tap On-screen Keyboard.

Step 5: Tap Default Keyboard and select Gboard on the pop-up menu.

How to use Emoji Kitchen

With Gboard set as your default, you can now use Google’s Emoji Kitchen. As previously stated, it’s still in beta, so you’ll need to sign up first.

Step 1: Head to Google’s Gboard beta page and click the blue Become a Tester button.

Gboard Become Beta Tester
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Step 2: Download Gboard from Google Play if it’s not already installed.

Step 3: Wait. Google dishes out an update that enables Emoji Kitchen, but the wait may take some time. Be patient. You’ll serve up cool custom emoji soon enough.

Step 3: Once updated, open a compatible app and tap the Text entry field to activate Gboard. Absolutely do not tap the smiley face shown within the text field — this does access the Emoji Kitchen.

Step 4: Tap the Smiley face at the bottom parked next to the space bar.

You should now see a space between the text entry field and the emoji library. A message reads “tap a smiley to get stickers.”

Step 5: Tap any Emoji and you’ll see a cascade of custom stickers appear within that blank space. Swipe left or right to find your favorite.

Step 6: Tap the selected Sticker and it’s placed in the text entry field. Add a message or send it as is.

Emoji Mini

Google introduced this feature at the end of 2018. It uses the camera to capture your face and create nearly 100 custom emojis. To “emojify” your face, do the following:

Step 1: Tap the Stickers icon on the Gboard toolbar. If you don’t see it, tap the three-dot icon to access the remaining hidden tools and select it there.

Step 2: Tap Add on the Minis tile.

Step 3: Let the front-facing camera capture your face and the app generates a custom emoji.

Step 4: Tap the Customize button to make changes.

Step 5: Tap Save when you’re done.

Read our complete guide for more in-depth step-by-step instructions.


Another tool is Bitmoji, a third-party app that integrates into Gboard. Unlike Emoji Mini, you create an avatar from scratch versus using the phone’s camera.

To use Bitmoji in Gboard, do the following:

Step 1: Tap the Stickers icon on the Gboard toolbar. If you don’t see it, tap the three-dot icon to access the remaining hidden tools and select it there.

Step 2: Tap the Bitmoji tab at the bottom. It’s between the Smiley and Sticker tabs.

Step 3: Select a Bitmoji to insert into your text.

Kevin Parrish
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then…
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