How To Get In On The Reese Witherspoon Challenge That's Taking Over Instagram & Twitter

It captures your 2020 moods from Jan-Sept.

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The internet loves a mood board. Especially a mood board in which we get to use otherwise unusable photos of ourselves, our pets, or our favorite celebrities. In what people are calling the Reese Witherspoon Challenge, everyone from Mindy Kaling to Kerry Washington to, of course, Reese Witherspoon is turning lemons into... well, maybe not lemonade, but a photo collage of those lemons.

There is a calendar for every and all 2020 moods, including Toni Collette, Kate Beckinsale’s cat, and The Upside Down. Similar to the Dolly Parton Challenge from earlier this year, the Reese Witherspoon Challenge is a collage of nine pictures, each captioned with a different month. The challenge is dubbed as such because the trend took off after the actor posted her Reese-ified calendar to Instagram. It’s very “choose your fighter” coronavirus-edition. It’s the nine horsemen of the pandemic apocalypse. It’s... just something to do, OK?

If you don’t have photo editing tools at your disposal, fear not: you can still partake in the challenge. Here are three free ways to make your own Reese Witherspoon Challenge collage. Some require you to sign up with an account, but you aren’t required to sign up for any of the paid plans.


Adobe Spark

Mia Mercado/Bustle

Adobe offers a free version of Adobe Spark where you can easily meme-ify nine pictures of your choosing. Use their Free Collage Maker to start making your template. Start by selecting the square format. I skipped adding pictures and generated the template first. Once your template is generated, click on “layout” on the right sidebar. Scroll down to the bottom of the “grid” section to find the 3x3 template. From there, it’s just a matter of uploading your photos, adjusting accordingly, and adding your text.

Pros: You’ve got a lot of text editing options, and you can easily copy and paste text once you’ve got one title in the font and style you like.

Cons: It was a tiny bit tedious adding each photo and adjusting accordingly, but once I got the hang of it, it went pretty quickly.



Photos by Chase Castor; Mia Mercado/Bustle

If you’ve yet to use Canva, prepare to up your Insta Story game. The free version of the photo editing site has tons of options for collages, elaborate text overlay, presentations, and more. I used this photo collage template to create the above collage. Just drag and drop the photos you want into each of the nine boxes, add your text, and your good to download your final collage.

Pros: It’s super easy to drag and drop photos into the already-generated boxes.

Cons: Finding the right template was a little tricky. So, I’ll save you the trouble of having to dig: just search “photo collage” and selecting the 3x3 grid toward the top of the results with the “top 10 secluded beaches” text. I also needed to remove a photo filter/effect over some images from the original template.


Instagram Layout

Mia Mercado/Bustle

The Instagram Layout app is ideal if you want to create your collage entirely on your phone. Just add the photos from your camera roll and adjust accordingly. This was by far the fastest way to create a 3x3 photo grid. The downside is you’ll need to add your text after the fact. I worked around this by uploading the text-less collage into my Instagram Story editor and added text there just like I would in a Story.

Pros: It’s super easy to manipulate the photos, resizing and rearranging as you see fit. There’s also no fussing to resize the nine boxes. Plus, you can add a border if that is your preferred aesthetic.

Cons: You can’t add text in this app, and manipulating text can be kinda finicky in Insta Stories.

If all else fails, just become super rich and famous, hire an assistant, and make them figure it out! Or just enjoy the extremely good Reese Witherspoon Challenge collages everyone else has been making.