How to Make An Inspiration Board for Your Life

Want to learn how to create a vision board for your life? Get ideas for making inspiration boards for your dreams and goals in this post. I'll share examples of some of the inspiration boards I've made in the past; they're super easy to make!

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Have you ever made an inspiration board? Often designers put them together to create a pictorial identity for a new product or the overall style of a brand. (They can also be called vision boards or mood boards.) They are usually minimalist and focus on the main colors, fonts, and photo inspiration that a particular brand will follow.

A personal inspiration board can be sparse as well, but mine usually end up being fairly “busy” photo collages. Years ago, I was introduced to the idea of making personal inspiration boards in an art journal. I loved the idea of assembling photos and words and dreams on a page of paper, and I think you will too.

Many of us have read about the benefits of goal-setting but there’s just something different about making a page in your journal (or as a stand-alone piece) that reminds you of what you’re working towards. That said, personal inspiration boards don’t have to be goal driven.

They can . . .

  • be a place to write out favorite quotes you want to remember
  • be a visual encouragement if you’re going through a tough time
  • help you visualize what you’re thankful for right now
  • help you talk about concepts that are difficult for you to put into words

Make an Inspiration Board for Your Life - How to make an inspiration board for your dreams, goals, memories, and current favorites in life. It's amazing how pictorially defining your hopes and dreams can serve as an encouragment and inspiration. Learn more @ littlegirldesigns.com

I’ll share how you can make one first and then show you some excerpts from my own art journals, okay?

Make an Inspiration Board for Your Life

Here are some ideas of materials to use:

Magazines and catalogs (I LOVE using Anthropologie catalogs!)
Quotes, song lyrics, poems
Lists of goals, words that are meaningful, things you want to remember
Scissors
Art journal or blank piece of paper
Glue stick
White glue
Brush (for glue)
Gel pens
Colored pencils or pens

First of all, this collage can be any size that you’d like. You might find this activity to be so much fun that you want to cover an entire cork board. I’ve definitely done that. I covered the back of a bedroom door once (taping things on, not gluing) and decoupaged a beloved guitar case when I was in high school. You could also use a page in an art journal, a plain postcard, or piece of copy paper for your collage.

Go through the magazines and cut out pictures and words that stand out. If you want to make this board themed, make sure the pictures are in the same colorways or are similar in some way. (For example: Either everything is some shade of blue or all the pictures represent the ocean somehow.) Cut out the letters for the quote you love from the words in headlines or write the quote onto a small piece of paper. Keep on going until you have enough pictures and words to cover your page.

I usually cut out pictures and arrange them on the page as I go. This allows me to see if I need a larger background photo or just a couple of smaller elements. It can be helpful to use photos in a symbolic way as well: leaves can mean growth, shoes might mean a journey, etc. This opens up catalogs and magazines to even more potential!

Arrange the pictures and words on the page and stand back to see what you’ve made. It looks better to put larger pictures in the back with smaller pops of color over them. Have fun with this; you won’t be graded, I promise. Once you’re finished arranging, use a glue stick to temporarily affix the pictures to the paper. Unless you’re using permanent glue, you’ll be able to continue to arrange until you get the look you desire.

Once everything is finished, pour a circle of glue onto a plate and “paint” your collage. Nudge a little bit of glue behind pieces that are sticking out to help them to lay down. Make your way over the entire collage and then let it dry completely.

After your inspiration board is dry, pull out the gel pens and decorate! Doodle along the edges, outline photos, and add words. This is when the board is going to start looking awesome because all of those details make everything stand out.

That’s it! Have fun with this project. Everyone’s personal inspiration board looks vastly different which is wonderful—we are all different individuals. :)

A Glimpse Into My Inspiration Board Journey

I used to make page after page of these in my art journals but kind of fell off the band wagon in the last couple of years. It wasn’t until recently that I picked up some magazines and decided to put together a new collage of encouragement in my regular journal. I think it is fascinating how in so many cases, the words that I’ve written in these inspiration boards have come true in ways I never would have expected. It’s like collaging a prayer in a way. :)

Make an Inspiration Board for Your Life - How to make an inspiration board for your dreams, goals, memories, and current favorites in life. It's amazing how pictorially defining your hopes and dreams can serve as an encouragment and inspiration. Learn more @ littlegirldesigns.com

I also really like making these after I’ve read a book that has deeply impacted me. It’s my way of processing and thinking through the material. I’ll cut out words that match what I learned or felt and assemble them together.

Make an Inspiration Board for Your Life - How to make an inspiration board for your dreams, goals, memories, and current favorites in life. It's amazing how pictorially defining your hopes and dreams can serve as an encouragment and inspiration. Learn more @ littlegirldesigns.com

In the photo above, I was thinking about a series of talks my pastor at the time was giving about how we all crave things in our lives. It struck me how we are never filled, no matter how many things we buy. Only the Lord can fill up our real needs. If I remember correctly, I mostly used catalogs for those pictures and then outlined and added words with gel pens. Gel pens are the best on magazine paper.

Make an Inspiration Board for Your Life - How to make an inspiration board for your dreams, goals, memories, and current favorites in life. It's amazing how pictorially defining your hopes and dreams can serve as an encouragment and inspiration. Learn more @ littlegirldesigns.com

Another time, I started a series in an art journal reflecting on stories from when I was little. This was the “cover” in the art journal. You could do something similar by cutting out photos and images from magazines and gluing them onto a page.

Make an Inspiration Board for Your Life - How to make an inspiration board for your dreams, goals, memories, and current favorites in life. It's amazing how pictorially defining your hopes and dreams can serve as an encouragment and inspiration. Learn more @ littlegirldesigns.com

In the photo above, I was reminiscing about my summer in Russia. That window reminds me of the window in our classroom. It was so large, several of us could stand in the windowsill. The room was so hot we often had those windows flung open towards the green countryside.

Make an Inspiration Board for Your Life - How to make an inspiration board for your dreams, goals, memories, and current favorites in life. It's amazing how pictorially defining your hopes and dreams can serve as an encouragment and inspiration. Learn more @ littlegirldesigns.com

Lately, I’ve been hearing and reading a lot about owning the life you have, as opposed to feeling like you got the short end of the stick or wishing you could somehow “arrive” already. In a world where it is getting easier and easier to compare ourselves with complete strangers (hello, social media!), this is an important truth I need to remind myself. My life will never look like other people’s lives, and that’s okay.

Make an Inspiration Board for Your Life - How to make an inspiration board for your dreams, goals, memories, and current favorites in life. It's amazing how pictorially defining your hopes and dreams can serve as an encouragment and inspiration. Learn more @ littlegirldesigns.com

In fact, that is more than okay. It’s incredibly freeing. Rather than running around trying to live up to the strange conglomerate of what is ideal in my head, I get to be me. And that is a beautiful thing.

I hope you have fun making your own personal inspiration boards.

Hope you have a lovely {and creative} day!

8 thoughts on “How to Make An Inspiration Board for Your Life

  1. Wonderful post Jennie. I enjoyed seeing your collages, pictures, and thoughts about making an inspiration board. I’m going to pin it. If you get a chance, check out my post about Value Your Work, Value Yourself at Inspire Me Monday # 192. I think in order for us to go after our dreams we need to value ourselves. Don’t you agree? Nancy A.

    1. Thanks so much, Nancy. I’ll definitely check your post out–what a great thought about valuing oneself…
      Have a great day!

  2. Thanks for sharing at Inspire Me Monday at Create With Joy!
    We’re looking forward to featuring you this week! (#192)

  3. Very cool – thanks for the tips! I must try this. Pinning to save the idea for later :)

    1. Thanks so much for your comment. :) I hope you have fun making your inspiration board! :)

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