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How to Make a Mood Board

Updated on February 3, 2013
Example of a wedding inspiration mood board.
Example of a wedding inspiration mood board. | Source

If you have any kind of project in the works, a mood board may be just what you need to stay on track. Also referred to as an inspiration board, motivation board, or design board, a mood board is a collage of images, text, fabric, and other tidbits put together to bring focus to a vision. Designers frequently use mood boards to create a visual illustration of the overall feel they are working toward. Mood boards can be digital or physical, in any medium the creator desires, depicting any sort of inspiration.

The usefulness of a mood board is far reaching, beneficial to many kinds of projects. If you are a writer, a mood board can capture the main points of inspiration for your plotline and characterization. If you are planning a wedding, you can use a board to pin everything from your color scheme, to venue ideas, to small details in order to capture the overall mood desired. Mood boards can be used as fitness inspiration to bring focus and motivation to a workout plan. If you are designing a website, a room, a dress, a cake, or a party, you may find a mood board to be helpful for keeping you focused and expressing your vision to clients.

How to make a mood board:

1. Select a board type and style.

Cork board is commonly used for mood boards because it allows for items to be easily pinned into place and rearranged as desired. Magnetic boards, magnetic dry erase boards, fabric bulletin boards, and mixed board combos (for example, half cork board/half chalkboard within one frame) can also be used. Select whichever board type you find most aesthetically pleasing for the workplace where it will be hanging.

Some people prefer digital mood boards, which can be created and accessed through a computer or tablet. Programs and websites like Photoshop, Evernote, SampleBoard, and Pinterest can be used to create a virtual mood board. The benefit of a digital mood board is it can be carried with you via laptop, smart phone, or tablet. The downside of virtual mood boards is they may not hold the same effect as a physical board where actual textures and objects come into play.

2. Personalize your board and frame.

To add personal flair and style to your board, experiment with DIY board modifications. A cork board sheet can be cut into varying sizes and shapes to create a unique mood board canvas. Try hanging multiple squares of varying sized cork board on one wall for a cool effect.

Cork board can be covered in fabric of any color or pattern for personalization. To do this, lay your cork board over a sheet of fabric and cut the fabric several inches larger than your board. Use spray adhesive to glue the fabric to the front of your cork board, smoothing out bubbles as you press on the fabric. Wrap the extra length of fabric around the edges of your board and secure them in place with glue or tape.

To personalize your board’s frame, you can paint an existing board frame any color. Alternatively, you can purchase a distinctive frame of your choice and use it to create a one-of-a-kind pin board. Simply remove the glass from the frame and use it to cut a cork sheet to size. Pop the cork into the frame and replace the frame backing, and you have a lovely new self-designed board.


3. Pin your inspiration.

This is where a mood board becomes really fun. You have a blank canvas before you to cover with anything that inspires the vision you have for your project. You can do this all in one sitting, or collect your inspiration a little at a time. Anything that you are capable of pinning to a board can be used, so let yourself get creative. Popular items for mood boards include photographs, magazine clippings, ribbon, fabric swatches and trimmings, font examples, paint samples, jewelry pieces, buttons, and dried flowers. You can also experiment with paper garlands, invitations, gift wrap tags, and scrapbooking items.

The options are nearly endless, and mood boards should inspire your creativity. However, there are a few tricks that can help keep your board from becoming visually overwhelming. Stick to the pieces that you feel capture the feel of your project perfectly. Pinning fewer items that portray your vision exactly will benefit you more than dozens of items that only hint at your vision. Play around with the placement of your items to give your collage an artistic, yet put together feel. Determine your color scheme and stick to it to give your board continuity.

If an item looks out of place on your mood board, reconsider whether that idea fits in with the overall flow that you want for the project. Try holding unexpected pieces up to your board to see how they fit if you’re looking for more creative ideas. Decorative push pins and magnets are available, which can add to the overall look of your mood board and make pinning even more fun. Enjoy the process as a creative outlet, and keep tweaking your board until you are proud of the end result.

Mood Board Examples:

Beautiful example of a mood board over a workspace.
Beautiful example of a mood board over a workspace. | Source
Try cutting cork board into different sizes to create an artsy mood board wall.
Try cutting cork board into different sizes to create an artsy mood board wall. | Source
Pin words, notes, and inspirtional messages to make your mood board even more motivational.
Pin words, notes, and inspirtional messages to make your mood board even more motivational. | Source
Giving your mood board some sense of order will help keep it from becoming overwhelming.
Giving your mood board some sense of order will help keep it from becoming overwhelming. | Source


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    • Faith A Mullen profile imageAUTHOR

      Faith A Mullen 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment Dream On! May your board be super inspiring :)

    • DREAM ON profile image

      DREAM ON 

      5 years ago

      I love your mood boards to keep our greatest motivations alive. Well done. I have been planning one now after seeing yours I am excited to finish mine. Thank you so much.

    • Faith A Mullen profile imageAUTHOR

      Faith A Mullen 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for the comment, Argonaut! Glad you liked it.

    • Argonaut Jess profile image

      Jessica Salmon 

      6 years ago from Newcastle Upon Tyne

      Some good ideas here like :-)

    • Faith A Mullen profile imageAUTHOR

      Faith A Mullen 

      6 years ago

      Thanks, DevonJ140! Glad you enjoyed it.

    • DevonJ140 profile image

      Devon Johnson 

      6 years ago from New York City

      This is great, thanks for the post!

    • Faith A Mullen profile imageAUTHOR

      Faith A Mullen 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for the comment, That Grrl! I totally understand buying the items for a project and then losing momentum. I am the queen of half started projects ;)

    • That Grrl profile image

      Laura Brown 

      6 years ago from Barrie, Ontario, Canada

      Projects like this are a lot of fun. I've got a board but haven't taken the time to start doing anything with it. I don't even have it up on the wall yet.

    • Faith A Mullen profile imageAUTHOR

      Faith A Mullen 

      6 years ago

      Thanks so much for taking the time to read and vote, Sarah! Glad you enjoyed the hub.

    • SMD2012 profile image

      Sally Hayes 

      6 years ago

      Wow, these are totally gorgeous and totally inspiring. I have a blank wall above my desk that I've been afraid to decorate, but a mood board would be fantastic for that space. Voted Up, beautiful and shared. Have a great day! - Sarah Marie


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