How to Make a Mood Board that Inspires Creative Energy

how to create a mood board that inspires creative energy

Are you interested in surrounding yourself with images that inspire more art-making? Could you use some ideas on how to make a mood board? Here are five tips that are sure to help inspire more creative energy.

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1. Begin: Start with a board.

This could be a cork board, magnetic board, canvas frame, or a blank wall. It’s entirely up to you.

I prefer to use a magnetic board because the magnets allow me to preserve the integrity of the collected objects and treasures (no hole pins or tape tears!). I used two of the Spontan magnetic boards from IKEA (shown here). For magnets, my favorites are Mighties (Amazon) and Mighty Magnets (Container Store). Use caution with mini magnets around small children.

2. Collect Images and Objects

Gather images that inspire you. These can be magazine clippings, doodles, photographs, fabric swatches, paint chips, quotes, and found objects. I’ll include a list of things you can collect for your board (below) and as a printable. It will inspire you!

3. Arrange it Artfully

Arrange the images and objects. Line them up in a grid or overlap them artfully. This step will reflect your personality.

4. Put it to Work

Your mood board won’t be worth a dime if you hide it behind a door or inside a closet. It needs to be somewhere where you’ll see it frequently, preferably close to where your creative work happens.

Before sketching or while dreaming up new ideas, the mood board is a wonderful tool for centering your creative ideas. It will remind you of color choices, important words, or patterns that you want to incorporate into your work.

5. Update it Periodically

Over time we change and grow, and similarly your mood board should reflect your new ideas and inspiration. You might enjoy adding objects and images to it as you find them, or maybe you take time to change and refresh the board ever month.

I keep a manilla file that’s filled with interesting tidbits and ephemera that strike my fancy. I like to go through this file periodically and pull things out that grab my current interest. A fresh board keeps the positive energy flowing. I like to frequent a rad ephemera and used book sale that’s held in the same complex as my studio, which is where I found the cool map of Butte Lake (below).

I always have my eye out for things that hold meaning for me. Some of my new discoveries are glittery unicorn stickers, shiny gold printing paper with bumblebees, and smooth pieces of dried tempera paint.

how to make a moodboard with ephemeraHow to make a moodboard with fabric swatches

What to include on your mood board

What to Include on your Mood Board

  • Drawings
  • Your Own Art
  • Art from Other Artists
  • Magazine Clippings
  • Fabric Swatches
  • Wrapping Paper
  • Children’s Art
  • Inspiring Quotes
  • Library cards
  • Pages from old books
  • Printouts from your computer
  • Paint Chips
  • Buttons
  • Ribbon
  • Washi Tape
  • Photocopies
  • Sewing Patters
  • Photocopies from Books
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Maps
  • Postcards
  • Grocery Lists
  • Wallpaper Samples
  • Photo Booth Pictures
  • Interesting Envelope Patterns
  • Greeting Cards
  • Mail
  • Pages from Art Museum Catalogs

Print this image:

Ideas on what to include on your mood board

How to make a moodboard

My Palo Alto, CA studio is my happy place to make art, tinker with my kids, run my business, and host workshops. Check out the TinkerLab Event Page for details on our fun upcoming workshops and events.

moodboard in art studio

If you’d like to get inspired by creative workspaces for kids and adults, you’ll want to check out our Tinkering Spaces Series.
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