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How to Make a Vision Board That Works in 9 Simple Steps

by Jean Van't Hul
May 20, 2022
1.0K Shares

How to make a vision board that works to help you achieve your dreams and goals. An easy and effective nine step tutorial.

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.
magazine pages for vision boards
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

Do Vision Boards Actually Work?

Yes!

They work for me. And they work for others.

I am always awed at what has transpired after putting something on a vision board.

I have achieved, received, changed, and manifested so very much. Not always in the way that I expected. Not always in the time frame that I expected or hoped for. And some things have yet to really happen. However, when I look back at vision boards I have made, I am incredibly humbled and grateful for the grace, mystery, and magic that I feel in my life.

Besides the fact that a vision board helps to turn a wish into reality, they work on other levels as well.

  • The act of making a vision board helps to identify and clarify goals, dreams, and intentions.
  • They help us to focus on values, gratitude, and lifestyle choices, becoming an effective tool for authentic alignment and change.
  • Vision boards act as visual affirmations, keeping dreams and goals active and believable in our imagination and world.
  • They act as a map toward our dreams and goals, helping us to focus, plan, and do the tasks necessary on the way to achieving them. 

A vision board will not make your life perfect. My life certainly isn’t perfect. But it puts the creative steering wheel in our hands in a way that I think many of us forget is a possibility. 

  • Instead of getting stuck in the shoulds and routines of our lives, let’s consider the coulds and the what ifs and the maybe, possiblys.  
  • And instead of always reacting to the circumstances around us, let’s consider what circumstances we’d like to create. 
  • Instead of letting others’ wishes dictate our actions, let’s give a little more attention to our own wishes. 
White Gold Foil New Year Vision Mood Board (2) copy
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

Vision boards allow us to step into our power in a unique way, acknowledging what we truly desire in our lives, saying out loud that we are ready to create or receive it, and then working together with the universe to bring it into our lives. Creating one is a magical, alchemical process of intention, feeling, imagery, words, and actions.

If you haven’t made a vision board before, perhaps now is a good time to start?

And if you have made one before, I hope you’ll find some new inspiration or ideas here to incorporate as you make your next one.

I am passionate about vision boards. So much so that I run vision board workshops and recently wrote a vision board book! I am happy to share my vision board process with you here in the hopes that it helps you to live the life you want to live.

This is a process that I’ve honed over 20 years of making vision boards as well as learning tidbits here and there from many wise authors and experts on subjects ranging from goal setting, self development, creativity, vision boards, spirituality, and more.

vision board pin graphic
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

How to Make a Vision Board that Works

Note: These are the instructions to make a physical vision board on poster board with a focus on the year ahead. You can adapt this tutorial for any format or subject. If you’d like to learn my digital vision board process, I share it in my online workshop as well as a variety of other formats. But know that you can easily take a photo of this physical version to use on your phone or computer.

magazines for vision boards
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

MATERIALS

  • Poster board
  • Magazines*
  • Additional images and words (optional), from artworks, old books, or printed from the internet
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Paper and pen
  • Art supplies (optional), such as Sharpies, paint, glitter, or sequins

*So many people ask me where to find magazines to cut up for vision boards, that I have written an entire blog post of ideas on Life Dreamery.

Additional reading: How & Where to Find Pictures for Your Vision Boards

Time needed: 3 hours.

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.

  1. Do a status check & review

    First, I sit down with my journal and reflect on the past year.

    This initial step is my chance to consider where I am now, what is working in my life, and what isn’t. I like to look back over the past year, what has happened, what goals I have achieved, what lessons I have learned, and what I’m grateful for. This step really sets the stage for everything else.

  2. Set goals and prioritize

    Next 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 everything from the big goals and dreams (write a book, learn how to meditate, take the family on vacation), 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.

    tearing out pages from magazines

  3. Find images and words for the vision board

    Now it’s time to 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). Then I clip everything I like—colors, words, interesting images. But, I am also on a hunt for images and words that relate to my goals.

    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. In fact, I rely on the internet more and more these days to find the best images to represent my goals. There’s so much available and it’s so easy to do an image search to find something quite specific. 

    My finished goal boards include a mix of magazine images, pictures that I print from the internet, and words.

    Since I often find so many images, I take some time to sort through and cull my stack. Ultimately, I’m looking for one or more images that capture the essence and feeling of each goal.

  4. Create a Basic Structure for the Vision Board

    This step is optional, but I often do it and really like it.

    Sometimes I divide the poster board into a nine section bagua (Feng Shui map of life areas) and sometimes I draw radiating lines from a central point and use the different triangular shapes as life area sections.

    Again, it’s optional, but can provide a nice framework and some general life categories to keep your goals and vision board well rounded. 

    After dividing the poster board into life areas, I often write 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. In addition, this part helps me to focus when I’m assembling my vision board.

    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 adding another layer of intention to the magic of the vision board!

    making a vision board

  5. Assemble the Vision Board

    Now it’s time to arrange your images and words on your poster board.

    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. Trim backgrounds away or crop images as you go if you like. Then continue through the pile of clippings.


    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.

    Once you have all of your goals and dreams represented on the board, stand back and take a look at it. How does it look? 

    If you’re happy with the board, proceed to the next step. Otherwise continue to arrange, add images or words, and trim around others until you’re satisfied.

    Vision Board 2018 in Progress (1)

  6. Glue Everything Together

    Once you’re satisfied with the arrangement, begin to glue everything down. Working with one image or word at a time, turn it over, apply a layer of glue with a glue stick, then stick it to the poster board. Rub over it with your hands to smooth it out as much as possible.

    Tip: Save scrap paper and cut up magazines to use as gluing surfaces.

    Adding glitter to vision boards

  7. Embellish! 

    This is another optional step but is a creative way to finish up your vision board. Add your own words, doodles, or sketches over and around the collaged images with Sharpie markers or glue on fun collage items such as sequins, glitter, lace, ribbon, or whatever else you desire.

    Digital vision board

  8. Display Your Board

    Once your vision board is complete, hang it on the wall where you will see it regularly. Think–your office, bedroom, or living room. It’s important to create a vision board, but equally important to see it regularly.

    You can frame it first, or simply tape it to the wall.

    Also, take a photo of the vision board. You might use this digital version as wallpaper on your computer or phone.

  9. Use Your Vision Board as a Road Map

    Making the vision board is just the beginning! Now it’s time to use it as a guide and road map into your new future. 

    There are so many ways you can do this such as:

    – Create an action plan for your goals (and then take action!)
    – Review your board as you create it whether it’s your to-do list for the day or week
    – Journal about the goals depicted on the board
    – Practice visioning exercises (closing your eyes and imagining the achievement of your goal)
    – Get support in the areas you know you would benefit from it.

file folder vision board
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

Different Vision Board Ideas & Formats

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.
  • Digital vision board – Use a simple graphic design software, such as Canva, to create a digital vision board.
  • A portable vision boardas an accordion fold book
  • Goal-specific vision boards – I sometimes make vision boards specifically for one goal like publish my first book. Or for one area of my life, such as 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
  • Small vision boards in planner – make or include small vision boards within/on your calendar or planner
  • Art journal as vision board
  • Pinterest board as vision board
  • And more! I have tutorials for several formats in my Vision Board Magic Workshop, including a shadow box vision board, a vision board card deck, an accordion-fold vision board, and a digital board, in addition to the tried-and-true poster board version. 
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul

Join the Vision Board Magic Workshop

I am so passionate about this subject, that I created an online workshop! This helps guide people through my process for creating a vision board that works. And afterwards, to breathe life into their own dreams and goals.

You can learn more or sign up at LifeDreamery.com.  

Do you make vision boards? Have you found them helpful for achieving your goals and creating the life that you want?

People Also Ask:

  • What should a vision board include? Your vision board can include anything you’d like, from the big goals and dreams (write a book, learn how to meditate, take the family on vacation), 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).
  • Are vision boards effective? We think so! We find that the process of making a vision board helps plant goals and intentions in our head and sends them out to the universe.
  • Where can I create a vision board? There are endless places where you can create a vision board: poster board, a cork board or bulletin board, a journal, an inspiration wall, or even a digital vision board!

More Vision Board Inspiration

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vision board pinterest
Photo by Jean Van’t Hul
How to Make a Vision Board That Works in 9 Simple Steps

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