How to Make a Vision Board That Works in 10 Simple Steps

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How to make a vision board that works using magazine images and words. An easy and effective ten step tutorial.

How to Make a Vision Board that Works

Vision boards create and hold a sort of good magic.

I make at least one every year and have since before I had kids. The more I do them, the more I believe in them.

Vision boards work for me on many levels

  • Vision boards are an important part of my annual goal-setting process. They help me set and prioritize my goals, values, and intentions.
  • Vision boards are fun to make and can be quite artistic/creative.
  • The process of making my vision board helps plant my goals and intentions in my head and sends them out to the universe.
  • Seeing my vision board regularly—with images and words representing my goals, wishes, and values—helps remind me what I want to do, be, and have. And helps to ensure that I continue to move towards those things, both consciously and unconsciously.

Note: I’m making assumptions about that unconscious part. I don’t really know what goes on in my head unconsciously! Maybe it’s wishful thinking. But I do believe that a big part of the vision board magic is it’s influence on the unconscious or subconscious mind.

Do Vision Boards Actually Work?

Yes!

They have worked for me. And they have worked for others.

I am surprised at what came to pass on other vision boards I created in the past. Not always within the year. Sometimes a few years later, in fact. I look back at old vision boards and am surprised and humbled.

But they work on other levels as well. Besides just the fact that what I put on them becomes reality.

As mentioned before, the act of making them helps me with my goal setting. I also add values—things that are important to me that I want to focus on more.

With all that in mind, I thought I’d share my vision board process on how to make a vision board that works for you.

How to Make a Vision Board that Works

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The Vision Board Process

Note: This is the general process that I use. Feel free to take what you like from these instructions and ad lib the rest. Make it your own process! I’ll include some ideas for different formats and processes at the end as well as some resources and books that might be helpful if you want to read more.

Journaling in preparation for making a vision board

1. Set goals and prioritize

First I sit down with paper and pen and think about my goals for the coming year.

This initial step is my big brain dump and includes the big goals (get healthy and strong, learn how to meditate, take the family on a trip to St. John) to the little wish list type of stuff (get a new vacuum cleaner), intentions (be more mindful, connect with my family better), and words for the year (clarity, joy, peace).

After I do the first brain dump, I review my thoughts and notes and figure out what my priorities are and either circle them or create a new list.

What are the things I really, really want to happen above all else? Those are definitely going on my vision board. A lot of the other things will end up on my board, too, but I want to make sure the biggies get their place.

Using the feng shui bagua in making a vision board

2. Create a basic structure for my vision board

This step is optional, but I’ve been doing it for the past several years and really like it.

I divide the poster board into a nine section bagua by drawing two equidistant vertical and horizontal lines, then title each section with the life area that it corresponds with in the bagua.

The bagua is a key component of feng shui. Even if you don’t believe in feng shui (I’m still not sure myself) it provides a nice frame work and some general life categories to keep your goals and vision board well rounded.

Again, it’s optional, but I’m telling you what I do.

Each section has a corresponding life area associated with it as well as a color. I tend to consider both when creating my vision boards.

Preparing the poster board for making a vision board

3. Write goals and ideas on my poster board

So, once I draw the bagua on my poster board, and write both the life area and color on it, I then start writing my goals and intentions for each area directly on the poster board. It will get covered over later with collage images so I don’t worry about how it looks or if I’m just thinking on paper and later change my mind about some of my priorities or whatever.

This part helps me round out my goals. For example if my initial brain dump focused on finances and health, I am now reminded to consider relationships, skills, etc.

Hmm… What do I want in the area of wisdom?

In addition, this part helps me to focus when I’m searching for vision board images (in the next step).

And I like how the layer of intention and goals are a part of the finished vision board, even if you can’t see this layer ultimately. It makes me feel like it’s helping to do the work!

Magazines for making the vision board

4. Find images and words for the vision board

Search for and cut out images and words that embody your goals and/or just speak to you.

I love this step!

I go through a stack of magazines (generally from the free stack at the public library or bought for a quarter each from Goodwill) and clip everything I like—colors, words, interesting images—but am also on a hunt for images and words that relate to the goals I’m making.

Clipping magazine images for the vision board

In fact, I cut out way more than I need or will ultimately use!

Also, if there’s a goal or intention that I can’t find a good image for, I hop on the computer and do an image search. My finished goal boards include a mix of magazine images, pictures I print from the internet, and words.

Kids cutting out magazine pictures for collage

The kids usually join me in clipping images for collage, but tend to focus on images they like (or treats they want to eat) more than goals.

Clipping magazine pictures and words for the vision board

5. Sort and arrange the images and words

You could do this as you go or after the cutting spree. I’ve done both.

So, with your poster board in front of you, and your pile of images at hand, go through the images and decide what belongs on the poster board and place it roughly in the section it will go. Then continue through the pile of clippings.

Outtakes from the Vision Board Process

Some images will go on the poster board, some will go in a “later” pile to be used in a future collage, and some will just be recycled.

Trimming around images for the vision board

6. Edit and create your goal board

Now it’s time to narrow down both the images and words, and the placement.

Time to trim around the flowers or bicycle or whatever, if you haven’t already. I edit out more of the images and arrange the others. Trim and refine.

Creating a color and image foundation for the vision board

7. Glue down your images

Note: I often like to begin with a base layer of color and themes that I then build on with the smaller images (as in the photo above), but this is not necessary!

How to Make a Vision Board that Works with Magazine Collage and More

Here’s my (almost) finished vision board collage from yesterday.

8. Add your own words, doodles, or sketches

Now, add your own words, doodles, or sketches over and around the collaged images with Sharpie markers (optional).

A new vision board in progress!

A photo posted by Jean Van’t Hul (@jeanvanthul) on

9. Display!

And now it’s time to hang your new vision board on the wall where you will see it regularly!

I hang mine in my office, where I can see it from my desk, but you could put yours anywhere you will see it daily. The act of creating it is important, but so is seeing it regularly.

  • Optional: Once your collage is complete, have it laminated at Kinko’s or Staples.
  • You can also share it with others if you like…

Travel goals for the vision board

Incidentally, I texted this photo of a section of my vision board to my francophile friend Sarah, for example, in the hopes that she would plan a trip to Paris with me this spring!

10. Review your goals daily

So you have your new vision board in a place where you can see it every day, right? Make sure to pause and review the images, messages, and goals at least once a day.

I’ve recently started taking  a few minutes each morning to revisit the goals that the images and words represent, to imagine what it will be like when they come to pass, and to think about something I could do that day toward each goal.

Different Vision Board Ideas

There are so many different ways you could make a vision board!

  • Poster – Glue images to a piece of poster board (as in my process above). You can see many vision board examples here.
  • A portable vision boardas an accordion fold book
  • Goal-specific vision boards – I’ve made vision boards specifically for one goal (getting my first book finished and published) or for one area of my life (health)
  • Cork board or bulletin board – Use pushpins to attach images and words to a bulletin board
  • Inspiration wall – Pin or tape images and words to a wall
  • String + clothespins
  • Small vision boards in planner – make or include small vision boards within/on your calendar or planner
  • Art journal as vision board
  • SoulCollage Cards
  • Pinterest board as vision board

6 Books about How to Make Vision Boards

Helpful Vision Board Books and Resources

*These are the books I’ve read. The others are highly rated and reviewed on Amazon.

More Vision Board Ideas

How about you? Any ideas on how to make a vision board that works? Leave them in the comments, I’d love to hear!

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How to make a vision board that works using magazine images and words. A ten step tutorial from brainstorming & goal setting through creating vision boards. #visionboard #goalsetting #dreams #goals #lawofattraction

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28 Comments

  • Reply
    Claire Potter
    December 31, 2014 at 10:20 am

    Getting ready to sit down and make plans and goals for coming year tomorrow night – this is a great way to do it! Love the mixture of structure and art!

  • Reply
    Jean Van't Hul
    December 31, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    Thanks, Claire! I like the mixture of structure and art, too. Enjoy your planning and vision boarding!

  • Reply
    jen berlingo
    December 31, 2014 at 5:50 pm

    love this post and will certainly share it on my art therapy page! brilliant how you divided up the paper – i’m going to try this for myself! i’m glad you enjoyed the soul collage link and info! i love that format! happy new year, jean! xo

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      January 1, 2015 at 5:41 am

      Glad you like the post, Jen! And yes, the Soul Collages seem like they might be right up my alley — I’ll have to give them a try.

    • Reply
      dr ali
      January 15, 2015 at 12:55 pm

      A gift for ur lovely kids. U ve 3.5days to Win dis Bid. After that regular listing price will be $25/book. Give a chance to ur kid plz.
      Check out this item I found on eBay: http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&id=331446320630&alt=web

  • Reply
    Janell
    December 31, 2014 at 10:20 pm

    I love this idea; this is the first time I’ve seen a “vision board.” Are there any resources for collages that you can recommend for us who lack magazines and artistic talent worthy of reflection and wall-hanging? The nearest collage image material we have is the American Girl and King Arthur Flour catalogs, and I believe they’re of limited use :\

    • Reply
      Jean Van't Hul
      January 1, 2015 at 5:48 am

      Glad you like this idea, Janell!

      Here are some options if you don’t have magazines in your home ::

      Pick some up for free or cheap from thrift stores, libraries, yard sales, friends.

      Use images from old/falling apart books — for example from the thrift store. I like children’s picture books as well as coffee table books.

      Print out images from the internet (do an image search on google for whatever it is you’re interested in).

      Photocopy images from books.

      Draw or paint images and words — definitely okay if you don’t feel like you are a master artist! The important thing is to create your vision board with intention to represent what you want to be, do, and have in your life. It doesn’t have to look like it would go on art museum wall!

      Use word processing software to create the text you want to use in your vision board.

      Use your own photos. Take photos that represent what you want to be, do, and have.

      Hope this helps!
      Jean

    • Reply
      dr ali
      January 15, 2015 at 12:56 pm

      A precious gift for ur lovely kids. U ve 3.5days to Win dis Bid. After that regular listing price will be $25/book. Give a chance to ur kid plz.
      Check out this item I found on eBay: http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&id=331446320630&alt=web

  • Reply
    Betsy
    January 1, 2015 at 9:39 am

    I love how you divided the collage into sections like feng shui. I completely agree about vision boards working. I made some years ago and it is crazy looking at them now and what has come to fruition. I got out of the habit of making them though, after I had my daughter. Thanks for the reminder. I am totally making one for 2015!!!!

  • Reply
    Catherine Mayfield
    January 1, 2015 at 10:20 am

    Keys to making a vision board:

  • Reply
    ANya
    January 1, 2015 at 9:47 pm

    Love this post, thank you so much! I’ve tried vision board before, but I don’t think I really put my heart into it, so it didn’t work very well. Now I have a vision journal, but I tend to forget to look in it.. Your post inspires me to try another vision board, I think it will be fun!

  • Reply
    Megan @ The Art Pantry
    January 4, 2015 at 12:02 am

    Love this. I have almost exactly the same process as you for my vision/manifestation board, but I’ve never thought to map it out into a bagua. Thanks for the tip! I use a shadow box frame and pin my collage into it at the beginning of the new year, then hang it next to my bed.
    I have been making them for 8 years and it is truly incredible how many seemingly unrealistic hopes/goals from my boards have actually come true. I am a huge believer.

  • Reply
    Megan @ The Art Pantry
    January 4, 2015 at 12:08 am

    I forgot to mention that you can see my style of a shadow box vision board in my home tour on Design Mom’s, Living with Kids. It’s in one of the bedroom photos here: http://www.designmom.com/2014/10/living-with-kids-megan-schiller/

  • Reply
    dr ali
    January 15, 2015 at 12:58 pm

    To All parents who love their kids growing smoothly.A gift for ur lovely kids. U ve 3.5days to Win dis Bid. After that regular listing price will be $25/book. Give a chance to ur kid plz.
    Check out this item I found on eBay: http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&id=331446320630&alt=web

  • Reply
    Anya
    February 26, 2015 at 6:52 pm

    I felt everyone had interesting information. I will allow these tools to be used for my vision board.

    I Will add to my ideas tonight.

  • Reply
    Prerna
    July 26, 2015 at 11:13 am

    This is an amazing tutorial I have made almost a similar one and I’m sure I would be successfully in getting all the things I wrote in my board its so much positive but just wanted to know should we set any date to achieve our goal since we write the goals in affirmative form i.e already happened.

  • Reply
    Charlene
    August 27, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    This is such a great article! Thanks for sharing! I thought I was the only one that designed vision boards from a bagua map. Guess not! Beautiful!

  • Reply
    Isaac
    December 9, 2015 at 7:50 pm

    Sweet article. This is awesome. i love how thoroough this is.. Most people just take pictures and post it on a piece of cardboard or posterboard.. But this seems alot more thought out..

  • Reply
    MONALISA DAVINCI
    November 16, 2017 at 11:06 am

    OMG. I Love your vision boards, It almost sounds like magic. I also use an amazing technique which takes way less time , so when I come to a point that needs to be addressed and is not only important but also my desire in my heart, I tell my Daddy, and ALTHOUGH you may be Magic, my Daddy created Magic, but when Monalisa wants anything I just simply say “DADDY”, and then say 5 4 3 2 1, BOOM, I get what I want. But I never ask for anything except OG 18, which is a marijuana Indica and My phone fully charged so I can watch Bruno Mars videos and of course System of a Down.

    LOVE YOU MORE

    MONALISA DAVINCI

  • Reply
    Timo
    May 6, 2018 at 6:28 am

    Thanks for the inspiring article.

    All I can do is add the miracle question: “What would you do if you knew you could not fail?”

  • Reply
    Alan Young
    September 26, 2018 at 9:02 am

    Great post! Very inspiring. I love that you put a lot of thought into the purpose and intent with your vision boards. When I first created one I just chucked things that I thought I should put on there like nice cars, pictures of money etc but it didn’t really excite me as it wasn’t what I was looking to get. I did a new one with purpose and intent behind it and really made one that made me “feel good” when I looked at it. Anyway just thought I’d share that with you. Also I’ve read 2 of the books you mentioned, Write it Down, Make it Happen by Henriette Anne Klauser &
    The Complete Vision Board Kit by John Assaraf and I have to agree they are both great books! Thanks :-)

  • Reply
    Jakes Pietro
    October 9, 2018 at 8:45 am

    Great article. I have a vision board of my own which helps me stay focused. A simple yet effective tool to have a clear vision of your goals! If you want to know more about vision board you can visit: https://www.amazer.me/vision-board/

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