While emojis are fun and useful, at times they don’t send quite the right message. Many conversations demand more than a simple pile of smiling poop — like blowing a kiss during one of the best romantic exchanges ever. To enhance your messaging experience and strike the exact response from others, we will show you how to create custom emoji on your Android phone.
The latest Gboard beta for Android, launched in February, includes a new feature called Emoji Kitchen. However, you don’t cook up a custom emoji. Instead, you tap a single emoji to conjure up a small gallery of new variants created at Google. Consider this feature as an expanded library of what you already utilize each day.
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.
Google confirms that Emoji Kitchen works with these apps:
- Messages by Google
We tested the new Gboard beta in Samsung’s Messages app and Emoji Kitchen did not work. It also didn’t work after setting Gboard as the default keyboard. For now, this feature is only compatible with a handful of apps.
Here are a few emojis currently not supported in Emoji Kitchen:
- Crescent moons
- Full moons
- All cats
- Body parts
You’ll also need Gboard to be set as your default keyboard. The method differs across Android devices, but on the Samsung phone we have on hand, the path is Settings > General Management > Language and Input > Default Keyboard.
Here’s how to use the new Emoji Kitchen:
Step 1: Head to Google’s Gboard beta page and click the blue Become a Tester button.
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.
Step 4: Tap the smiley face at the bottom parked next to the space bar.
Step 5: You should now see a space between the text entry field and the emoji library. A smiling message reads “tap an emoji to get stickers.”
Step 6: 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 7: Tap the selected sticker and it’s placed in the text entry field. Add a message or send it as is.
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, tap the Plus icon on the emoji menu. On the following screen, tap the Add button located on the Minis card and follow the instructions.
Read our complete guide for step-by-step instructions.
Another tool is Bitmoji. It’s a separate app that integrates into Gboard. Unlike Emoji Mini, you create an avatar from scratch versus using the phone’s camera. After that, the app generates a large sticker library. You can access this library from within Gboard by tapping the Bitmoji icon located between the emoji and sticker add-on button.