How to Create a Vision Board that Really Works

How to Create a Vision Board that Really Works

I’ve been making vision boards that really work for years and today I’m sharing my ideas and some examples on how to create vision board that works for you. You can also grab a free vision board planner with printables and inspiration and tons of quotes to help you manifest your dream life.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.

I realized recently that I have at least one quality that some people might find a little weird: I am a huge believer in vision boards. Popularized by The Secret, but around for long before then, a vision board is simply a way for you to keep your goals and desires in front of you in a visual format. The very act of making a vision board is also an excellent way to get clear on what it is you truly want in life as you see what you’re drawn to when you’re making your board.

There can often be a lot of New Age language attached to vision boards that can turn people off. I’ve read too many stories along the lines of “I put this picture of a multi-million dollar house on my vision board and forgot all about it. Years later, I realized that I now owned that very house!” Those stories may be true and I tend not to put multi-million dollar houses on my boards so I haven’t tested out that use, but I think for most of us, they can be useful tools regardless of how much or little we believe in the Law of Attraction.


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What is a Vision Board?

A vision board is simply a collage of images and/or phrases that resonate with you. The images on your board can be literal representations of goals you would like to achieve and things you’d like to have or they can be more abstract to remind you of the feelings you would like to be feeling on a regular basis.

Your vision board can be images cut out from magazines on a piece of poster board and a digital graphic you keep on your phone. It’s whatever works for you!

Why Does a Vision Board Work?

I believe there are scientific reasons that vision boards work, but there’s also a little magic there. (At least things that can’t yet be explained by science.)

For example, your vision board can act as a primer for your subconscious. Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink is filled with examples of how simply reading lists of words designed to evoke a certain feeling such as aggression or cooperation can indeed bring out that emotion without our conscious awareness, even if we know we’re being manipulated. That’s one reason I like to use lots of words on the boards I create and why I like to keep it where I can see it. So there is some real science behind why vision boards can work.

There’s also been a little magic. I’ve made several vision boards in my life and while I can’t really say I’ve had any mind-blowing coincidences, I can say that many of the things I’ve had on past boards have happened and that my life has changed dramatically since I started making them. Who’s to say what would or wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t made them? In a way, making the boards is like my own version of Pascal’s Wager. It helps me feel like I’m doing all I can, while I wait for the universe to kick in with her side of the bargain.

How to Make an Effective Vision Board

So! How to make the most effective vision board? Well, the first rule of making vision boards is there are no rules. Do what you like. I have my process which I’ll discuss here, but I have friends who swear by different methods.

Some people like to keep their boards out where they can look at them; others like to make them and then hide them away. I’ve actually used both methods in different times, although I mostly employ the “In your face” method, unless, paradoxically, it’s the board is about something I really, really want, but maybe don’t feel like I don’t deserve or am ready for. Then, I like to make the board, but hide it under my bed or some other place where I’ll come across it occasionally just to remind myself that I’ve got a wish that I’d like to come true. Most of those wishes, by the way, have come true.

I made a new vision board this weekend. Most of my life right now is going really well, but there are a couple of areas that I’d like to see expand more fully. Here’s the process I used.

1. Take a Moment to Get Clear on Your Goals and Get in a Calm and Thoughtful Mood Before You Start Your Board.

Some people have a ritual around making vision boards with burning candles, playing music, meditation, etc. I’ve done that before in workshops and liked it, but I don’t think it’s necessary. I tend to take a long time to make my vision boards; it can take me months to gather the pictures and then weeks to lay out the images. I finally laid out and glued down the images for this vision board in a one-hour session and I’m really happy with it. I did make sure I was alone and in a quiet state while I was doing it. I do think that’s really important.

Here’s what Oprah has to say about making an effective vision board. By the way, she’s so good at manifesting she no longer even makes vision boards!

Oprah gives master class on Manifestation and Vision Boards – A Wrinkle in Time
Watch this video on YouTube.

My Vision Board Planner can help you clarify your goals and get in the mood to create the perfect vision board for you.


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2. Determine a Theme for Your Board

I usually have a theme for the boards I create, even if it’s just as vague as the life I want to live someday. This can be as broad as “My Life” or as narrow as “My Career” or even, I suppose, “Next Thursday”.

I once a mini vision board on a post-it note that I put on my bathroom mirror two weeks before an important appointment so I could look at it every day.

3. Gather Your Images

Some people like to turn to the Internet for images, but I like to kick it old school and go through magazines. The Internet is excellent for finding really specific images but I don’t like the way they look printed out (I know this is very picky) and I actually don’t like to look for specific images. Instead, I gather a whole lot of magazines and go through them, looking for images that speak to me.  I’ll cull these images later.

4. Place Your Images on the Board

Cut out the images and plan their placement. Here’s where you can get creative. Some people are fine with white space on their board, but I don’t like a lot. I usually use a few foundational big, colorful images in the background and put several, smaller images on top. I also like to use inspirational words because I’m both a visual and a verbal person.

The Science (And Magic) of Vision Boards
Planning out my images

Pro tip: Once you’ve planned out your board, take a photo of it before you start gluing because you’ll have to move everything to start gluing things down. I was super happy with my board and then I couldn’t remember how I had it when I started gluing it back together. It all came out wonderfully in the end, though; I was happy with the final result as well.

5. Admire Your Work

After you’ve glued down your images, take a moment to admire your board. I think everyone feels excited at this point. You’ve put out a little bottle into the ocean of the universe and now you get to wait and see where it’s going to wash up. This is your adventure.

Where Should You Put Your Vision Board?

As I mentioned earlier you can put your vision board someplace where you see it frequently or hide it away. I have mine in my bedroom at the moment, but I think I’ll actually tape it up on my bathroom wall so I can see it when I get out of the shower. That’s a time when I feel a little vulnerable because I’m not thrilled with my weight at the moment so it will be nice to get a dose of positivity at the same time.

How Often Should You Make a Vision Board?

I think you’re going to know what I’m about to say: as often as you want to. I tend to make one at the beginning of every year, but I’ll sometimes create one mid-year if I feel I need a reset or if I have a goal I feel strongly about.

And you can absolutely have more than one vision board at a time! You might create one for your personal goals and another one for career goals, for example.

The Science (And Magic) of Vision Board
The Final Product – Ready to Inspire

Bonus Tip for Getting Vision Board Images!

My local post office has a giant bin where people can bring magazines for recycling. My personal belief has always been that if someone who normally also brings their magazines there occasionally comes along and takes a whole carload of magazines out of the bin for spiritual reasons and then brings those magazines back with a few pages missing, well, how is that a problem?

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  1. August 19, 2015 / 1:04 pm

    I have a vision board that I made a couple of years ago with my granddaughter. I wish I had it in a place where I can see it every day. I think it helps to have a vision in sight and look at it every day.

    • Katy
      August 19, 2015 / 1:27 pm

      I like the idea of making a board together – that can create a shared energy. And I do like having mine out where I can see it, but I have friends who believe just as strongly in keeping things hidden. Whatever works for you!

  2. January 22, 2016 / 6:32 pm

    Katy great post. Thanks for the take a picture suggestion, never thought of it and you’re right, I’m new to making vision boards and I was making a board and then forgot how I had it laid out LOL so thank you.

    • Katy
      January 22, 2016 / 6:39 pm

      I forget every time! That’s why I started taking the picture. But it does help keep the energy flow going if you’ll forgive the term.

  3. miracle mom
    February 17, 2016 / 5:25 pm

    I recently found a vision board I made in 2007. At the time, I was single, and I wasn’t even thinking about having kids. That’s why it surprised me to see the small words, “miracle mom” in the corner of the collage. In 2012, I had an unexpected high-risk pregnancy. I was told after my first appointment when they couldn’t find a heartbeat, to “hope for the best, expect the worst”.
    Well, at 38.5 weeks, I gave birth to a healthy set of twins, a girl and a boy, weighing over six pounds each!! They just turned 4.

    • Katy
      March 11, 2016 / 12:48 pm

      What a great story! Thanks so much for sharing it. I really do think there can be so much power in a vision.

  4. December 10, 2016 / 4:31 pm

    Hi Katy. I came across your blog while I was doing some light research about vision boards for an article I wrote for an online magazine. Anyway, I just want to say I love that there are so many women out there from all different age groups who are getting into the whole blogging scene. I’m in my mid-thirties and I started a blog a couple of years ago to document my life in Egypt ( after I got married and moved there. I haven’t been very active about it. But since I had a baby early this year I decided I wanted to get more serious about blogging. I’ve been trying to rename and rebrand it, but I always feel a bit silly, like I’m late to the party or something. Like it’s something I should have done in my 20s. Your blog showed me there’s no such thing. And I just want to thank you for being an inspiration to me to keep at it, as long as it makes me happy So keep on doing what you’re doing. Good on you…

    P.S I just created my first ever vision board a week ago and one of the things I put there was to write more in my blog and increase my traffic. So fingers crossed!!

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