How to make a Minecraft Skin

“Your skin is the look of your Minecraft character. This is how you are presented to other players that you meet in the game.” – Mojang website.

I’ve recently been recruited by my daughters to set up a Minecraft Realm, where they can hang out with eachother and their friends. This seems like a fun prospect, but as I face the moment of meeting my daughter in a virtual space, I really don’t want to just stand there looking like one of the two default characters. I want to know how to make a Minecraft skin.

We play on PCs, so we can add new skins through the Mojang website. You have to be logged in – and you have to upload a little file. I understand that if you play on a console, there are different ways to do it.

Anyway, if you login to the Mojang site and go to the Profile page, under the heading “Change your Skin”, you’re provided with this funky little .png file to download and use as a guide:

Template for Minecraft characters based on Steve - with 4px wide arms.

Whoa! Not much of a guide. But that, in a nutshell, is what gets wrapped around the boxes that make up your character in Minecraft. It defines how your character looks – it is a skin.

Now, to make some sense of this, I’ve blown it up in GIMP and labeled what all the body parts actually are:

minecraft skin template with parts labeled
minecraft skin template with parts labeled

And that’s all it is. Just all the parts of the “body”, laid out flat. The “outer” parts are like the armour. They render a little outside where the actual body renders, and can have as much or as little transparency as makes sense. This allows for some fun shapes and textures to take form.

For a more in-depth look at how to “edit” this gnarly looking thing, including an animated .gif showing 10 steps I took to reach my first skin, please see the next post.

At any rate, I’m going for sort of a Gandalf Jr. meets Mr. Spock Senior thing here. I’m hanging on to the blue from the torso, but putting it over both sleeves too, and also keeping the sorta checkerboard-transparency texture of the “armour”.

The rest I’m making up as I go along. Black pants – well, almost black. Deep, deep blues. I looked at a couple of anime-style sites where they make hair for Minecraft skins, and I borrowed a couple of ideas from them. And I added some gold braids just like Mr. Spock had. I kept fiddling with it in GIMP and uploading it and checking it out until I was satisfied that I could set it down:


Here’s a screenshot of the page on the Mojang site where you’re downloading the template and uploading your masterpiece:

As long as you can edit the template, all you have to click here is "download template" to get the working file - then "Browse" and "Upload" once you've made your changes. Easy and quick!
As long as you can edit the template, all you have to click here is “download template” to get the working file – then “Browse” and “Upload” once you’ve made your changes. Easy and quick!

And that’s it. That’s all you do. Back on the Mojang website, logged in as yourself, you select this file you’ve made, upload it, and you’re done. Next time you fire up your Minecraft client, you’ll be wearing your brand new skin.

My First Minecraft Skin


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Author: Pete

Editor-in-Chief, Lead Software Developer and Artistic Director @

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