How to use Canvas for Pebble to create your own dynamic watch face

By DJ Reyes on 16 Mar 2014 08:29 am

When looking to create your own watch face for your Pebble , the watch face generator website is a great place to do that. You can create very personalised watch faces but you can't add any dynamic elements to the watch face. I’m talking about displaying the weather or being able to see the amount of unread messages you have. One app that let’s you do this is Canvas for Pebble and is available for Android users.

I have to admit, the first time I looked at Canvas, it seemed a little overwhelming and didn’t know where to start but once you get going, you’ll get the hang of it. There’s just so much you can do and customise that you can get a little lost in the beginning. Fear not, we shall get you going with using Canvas in no time.

It should be noted that Canvas will only work with Pebble 2.0. So, if you haven’t yet updated to Pebble 2.0, you won’t be able to use Canvas.

Getting started

Canvas can be downloaded from the Google Play store, just search for Canvas. Alternatively, you can use the Pebble appstore. Using the Pebble appstore won’t install the watch face, it will simply direct you to the Google Play store as Canvas is listed as a Companion app only.

Once you have installed Canvas you are prompted to load the watch face when you launch the app for the first time. You can choose to load the watch face or watch app. What’s the difference? The watch app will load Canvas with the rest of your watch apps, found in the main menu. Your Pebble needs to be connected to your device in order to use it. Loading Canvas as a watch face means it joins the rest of your watch faces and you can use it as a watch face even when not connected. However, if it’s a dynamic watch face, none of the dynamic elements will appear.

Creating your watch face

After installing the Canvas watch face it will just say Loading… until you actually load a Screen. You’ll find some default screens readily available. You can go in a edit these or go ahead and create your own. To edit a screen, just tap into it. To create a new screen just tap the plus icon along the top bar. You’ll find a new screen added to the bottom of the list. Tap into it to start making your own screen.


You’ll be presented with something like the screenshot above. The bottom section is where you do all the editing. This will change depending on what is selected from the section in the top left. The top right section is a preview of your screen.

The main area you’ll be working in is the bottom section. There are two parts to the section - Layer and Content. The Layer part is where you name each layer and where you'll find the options to move or resize that particular layer. The Content part is just that, where you choose what the content of that specific layer will be.

One layer will be added by default, the time. This is called New Layer in the top left section, tap it to start making changes. You can give it a name, move it around, resize it and align it. These options are found in the Layer part. Sliding along to the Content bit gets a bit more gritty. Type is the type of layer you want. When adding a layer Time/Date/Pebble Status will be chosen by default. Depending on what you select the options after that will change accordingly. If you’re choosing the time, you can see that you can scroll down and change the format to suit you. You can even specify the time zone - make it a permanent time zone or select the dynamic one that changes for wherever you may be. You can also change the font type and add an animation too.

To add another layer just tap the plus sign in the top bar. As mentioned previously, the Time/Date/Pebble Status will be chosen by default. Just tap on the Type dropdown menu to choose what you want. You can add an image. You can choose from the bundled collection, weather icons or even just search your gallery to add your own image. Once you’ve chosen your image you can tweak it by using the Image Settings option. You can add dithering, change the size, flip the colours and even lock/unlock the ratio.

If you want to add a weather update to your watch face just choose Dynamic as the type of layer. You can then choose what type of dynamic layer it will be in the content dropdown menu. By default Phone State will be selected but you can choose from Unread/Missed, Calendar Appointment, Weather and more. There are many formats of the weather to choose from too, from just the temperature, long description, highs/lows and you can choose between fahrenheit and celcius also.

When dealing with the format of any layer they are assigned by a code but each code has a description so you know each of them mean. There is also see a preview of it at the bottom so you know what it will look like. You can add a combination of things too.

Once you’re happy with everything you can save your screen by tapping the play icon on the top bar. It will then be automatically sent to your Pebble and you can see it in action. You can always go back and edit it and each time you save it will refresh on your Pebble.


If you wanted to load another screen from your list, just go to the My Screens section, find the one you want and tap the play icon to load it up. You’ll also find a Screen Store within Canvas where you can find screens made by others. You can upload any of your screens to the Screen Store if you wish.

What is great about Canvas is that it will take up one of the eight slots available to you but you can make many screens that won’t take up anymore space. I love being able to create dynamic watch faces too. If you have a browse through the screens uploaded by others you can see how some people like to cram in a lot of elements into their watch face. To each their own and Canvas is a great app for customising a watch face to exactly how you want it.

Canvas is available for free so I definitely recommend checking it out.

Download Canvas for Pebble from Google Play

Reader comments

How to use Canvas for Pebble to create your own dynamic watch face


I have had nothing but trouble with this app. I have yet been able to transfer just the watch face over, even though it is an option. The message comes up if you want to install, but nothing. To install the app itself you have to remove most of not all your other watch faces. If you created one on your own somewhere else it does NOT go into the locker, it's just gone. Once you install the app, everything works okay I guess. If you go to the 'store' for use watch faces, the app blows up.

Posted via the Android Smartwatch Fans App!

I love canvas but in v2, I'm having trouble with the weather not updating when my phone's asleep. Still, it's my goto watch face and I prefer it to glance.