Achieve Your Dreams with a Vision Board: How They Work and How To Create Your Own

Visualizing your dreams helps you achieve them. A vision board enables you to realize your dream life by transferring ideas from your imagination onto a permanent reminder you can see every day.  

What is a Vision Board?

A vision board is a physical board representing your aspirations. Think of it like a poster that showcases everything you hope to be and accomplish. It helps you see yourself in the place you want to be rather than where you are.

Vision boards serve as a daily reminder of your goals, inspiring you to achieve them every day. They’re a physical manifestation of mental imagery symbolizing your dream life.

Vision boards are also called dream boards, inspiration boards, and sometimes action boards.

What is on a Vision Board?

If you can dream it, you can put it on a vision board. It’s a visualization of your hopes, dreams, and desires, so the content should represent them.

Consider your life goals, ideas for personal development, and long-term goals when searching for vision board content. Look for items that speak to you or symbolize your dreams.

What Materials Go on My Board?

Vision boards include magazine cutouts, stickers, photographs, calligraphy, drawings, and anything else representing a grand vision.

Find materials that represent your dream life. It could be anything, like old family photos, receipts, and magazine clippings. You could also draw your own words, phrases, sketches, and affirmations directly onto the board.

My vision board includes power words I found in old magazines like “Achieve,” “You Can Do It,” and “Happiness,” in addition to photographs of gorgeous places, cutouts of graphics symbolizing my goals, and stickers of inspirational phrases.

How To Make a Vision Board

Are you ready to make your vision board?

First, you must determine your vision, and next, you need to decide whether you want a physical or digital board.

Determine Your Vision

Before starting your vision board, you must know what you want.

Vision boards help us achieve our goals. They motivate us to keep going even in the face of adversity. To do that, we must know what we’re striving for.

You must determine a theme for your board. Examples of vision board themes include:

  •       Goal Oriented
  •       Time-Based
  •       Who I Am/Who I Want To Be

There are no limits to your theme. It can be anything. However, your board should be focused on something for the best results.  

Goal Oriented

Goal-oriented vision boards are excellent tools for self-development. When making this board, you need a specific goal, like buying a house, becoming a writer, or achieving financial independence.

Everything you put on the board should speak to that specific goal.

Consider the smaller SMART goals you need to set to achieve your dream. Find imagery related to each of those steps for your board.

For example, if you want to be a writer, you may want to add graphics of books, photos of people typing, and words like “writer,” “author,” “published,” and “best seller” to your board. Visualize your life as a writer and find imagery that reminds you how that looks every day.

Consider everything you need to do to become a writer. You may need to take some classes in creative writing, speak to a publisher, or set a daily writing goal. Find items that represent those steps and affix them to your board.


I prefer to do yearly vision boards, representing what I want to accomplish in the period. These boards are specific to a time frame rather than a particular long-term goal, allowing you to consider multiple aspects of your life.

Think about where you are today and where you want to be a year from now. Are you looking for a new career? Do you want to take a big step in your relationship? Will you move, take a class, or try a new hobby?

Explore everything you want to accomplish this year on your vision board.

Who I Am/Who I Want To Be

A wellness vision board helps you visualize yourself as the person you want to be. You may have a fitness goal you want to achieve or learn healthier ways to handle stress.

Your vision board can help.

Find imagery that represents who you want to be.

For example, if you want to be a calmer, happier person, find photos of relaxed people, calming scenery, and cozy rooms. Whenever you feel stressed, look at your board to remind yourself that you want to remain calm.

You can also use this type of board to embrace your spirituality. Find imagery that represents your spiritual journey to help guide your path.

Do I Want a Physical or Digital Board?

Your next step is to decide whether you want a physical or digital board.

Physical boards are more powerful, as you must put a lot of effort into collecting materials and crafting your board. However, they also require a lot more work and, typically, are more static.

Digital boards are easier and more dynamic, but you can’t hang them in your office for a daily reminder. They’re also a little less impactful, as the physical work of putting a board together helps trigger your subconscious mindset changes.

How To Create a Physical Vision Board

I prefer physical vision boards because I love the creative aspect of putting them together. I like to use poster board and hang it in my office as a constant reminder of my ultimate goals.

There are six steps to crafting your board:

  •       Collect Clippings and Materials
  •       Gather Supplies
  •       Determine Your Aesthetics
  •       Think in Layers
  •       Attach Materials
  •       Hang Your Board

Collect Clippings and Materials

Collecting the materials for your board is the most challenging part, especially as more and more magazines shift to digital only. However, you can still find magazines at bookstores and even download and print online imagery that speaks to you.

Start collecting magazine clippings well before you make your board. Whenever you leaf through a magazine, look for inspirational images and words. Collect photos, graphics, and clippings representing your goals, wishlist items, dream life, bucket list ideas, and anything else that motivates you to seek your dream life.  Keep them in a box so you’re ready when it’s time to create your board.

Head to a used bookstore if you struggle to find things to clip. Many offer old magazines for just a few dollars apiece.

Gather Supplies

Magazine clippings are only one small part of the puzzle. You’ll also need photos, writing implements, stickers, a poster board, and a way to attach your items to the board. Glue sticks, wabi tape, scotch tape, thumbtacks, or even staples could accomplish this.

Next, consider the background. Most posterboards come in white; is that what you want as the backdrop? I use scrapbook paper as a top layer, so I don’t have any white space in my vision board.

Example of my vision board background showcasing the scrapbook paper used as a background layer.
Photo Credit: Melanie Allen – vision board background layer.

Determine Your Vision Board Aesthetics

Before you glue or tape anything to your board, you should lay it all out to create your aesthetic.  

Consider it a vision board rough draft.

You may also want to draw images, write power words in your own hand, or use highlighters to make pieces pop. Consider all those add-ons while designing your aesthetic.

Once you start gluing, it will be much harder to move things around if you don’t like how something looks.

Think in Layers

You’ll likely have some massive vision board pieces and some tiny statements. Consider how you will layer all the materials together in your collage.

Next, you’ll probably want to attach the large images and photos. Finally, you’ll want to add the words, phrases, and quotes that speak to you.

Consider the layers of your vision board while designing your aesthetics so you don’t have to unglue anything after you’ve affixed it. Use thumbtacks as placeholders to keep things in the right spot before using glue.

Vision board example.
Photo Credit: Melanie Allen, Partners in Fire.

Attach the Materials To Your Board

When you know where everything goes, you’re ready to make it permanent.

Carefully glue the back of your item and gently place it on your board.

You can also affix the items with wabi tape, staples, hot glue, scotch tape, or anything else you have on hand. Glue sticks and tape work best.

Hang Your Board

Once your vision board is complete, it’s time to find a spot for it!

Hang your board in your office so you can seek inspiration from it while you work. Put it in your bathroom next to the mirror so you’re forced to look at it daily when you’re getting ready.

Don’t tuck your vision board away in a closet. It works best when you can see it every day.

Using Corkboard Instead

Sometimes, our vision changes as we adjust our long-term goals. If you want a dynamic vision board, consider using a corkboard instead of a poster board.

Attach your cutouts and clippings to the cork with a pin or thumbtack. You can remove items that no longer speak to you and rearrange things as you achieve your goals.

I prefer a poster board because it forces me to make a new dream board each year, but you should use the materials that work best for you.

How To Create a Digital Vision Board

If you want the benefits of a vision board without the work of putting a physical board together, consider crafting a digital vision board.

Two websites, Pinterest and Canva, make perfect places to curate your dreams online.

Pinterest Vision Boards

Pinterest allows you to curate pins from other people to create your perfect vision board. You’ll need to create an account to make your online vision board on Pinterest.

Next, you’ll need to create a board. The icon to create a board isn’t intuitive. You must be on the “saved” tab rather than the “created” tab. Then you must click the little plus sign in the corner for the small “create” menu to pop up. Select “board.”

Screenshot showing how to create a board in Pinterest
Created in Canva

It’s straightforward from here. A popup appears asking you to name your board, and all you have to do is click “create.” Name it  “vision board” or something that speaks to you.

Creating a board in Pinterest: the popup.
Created in Canva with Pinterest screenshot.

Use the Pinterest search feature to find content you want to add to your board. Try phrases like “happiness,” “dream life,” “travel,” “family,” or “make money,” and add the pins that speak to you to your board.

A bonus of creating your board on Pinterest is you’ll have loads of content helping you achieve your dreams. Most of the pins on Pinterest lead to articles about that specific subject, so if you’re stuck, you can click through and read the article for even more inspiration.

The downside of creating a vision board on Pinterest is you’re limited to what’s already on the website. If you can’t find what speaks to you, you’ll have to use another tool, and at that point, you may as well keep your vision board on Canva.

Canva Vision Boards

Canva is a wonderful tool graphic design tool for people lacking artistic skills. Everything you need to create a vision board exists in the platform – no drawing required!

Canva has hundreds of templates. Use the search bar to discover all the vision board templates already available, or design your own.

Screenshot showing search panel in Canva and the vision board templates.
Created in Canva.

A bonus of Canva is that you can upload your own images for your design. If family and friends are crucial aspects of your board, you can add photos from your personal collection.

Once you’ve finished your board on Canva, you can download it and save it as a desktop background, or you can use Canva Print Services to get a copy printed out and sent to you.

Do Vision Boards Really Work?

Vision boards may seem like new-age mumbo jumbo, but they really work.

The act of creating a vision board forces you to be intentional about what you want. You must leaf through magazines and collect photos representing your grand plan, constantly considering it as you collect your materials. This focus helps ease your subconscious mind into the idea of achieving the dreams on your board.

Once you have the vision board, it serves as a daily reminder of your goals. Each time you look at it, you give yourself a tiny nudge to act on your ambitions. It’s a powerful motivator, offering endless inspiration to bring your vision to life.  

Vision boards help us shift our mindset. When you visualize your dream life every day, your subconscious slowly starts to think of it as a reality.

How To Create a Board That Works

You can’t just create a vision board and expect your life to change. The board provides motivation, inspiration, and a daily reminder of what you need to do, but if you don’t take action, you won’t succeed.

You must truly want it.

Your vision board can represent the things you ask the universe for, but you must do the work to get it by setting goals and creating action plans to achieve them. The visions you affix to your board should relate to SMART goals so they’re realistic and achievable.

A vision board isn’t a magic button that gives you unattainable riches. It’s a tool that motivates you to change your life and achieve your version of success.

When you create a vision board with that realism in mind, you’ll position yourself to get everything you want.

More Ways To Change Your Life

Your vision board is only one tool in your toolkit for building your best life. It helps many people visualize and achieve their dreams, but it doesn’t work for everyone and is not magic.

Other tools include journals, manifestation rituals, meditation, the Law of Attraction, spell work, prayer, and self-help.

The tools help you shift your mindset and focus your energy on your ultimate goals, but they won’t do the work for you.

If you truly want to live your best life, you must take action. Your vision board can inspire you but can’t do the work for you. 

Author: Melanie Allen

Title: Journalist

Expertise: Pursuing Your Passions, Travel, Wellness, Hobbies, Finance, Gaming, Happiness

Melanie Allen is an American journalist and happiness expert. She has bylines on MSN, the AP News Wire, Wealth of Geeks, Media Decision, and numerous media outlets across the nation and is a certified happiness life coach. She covers a wide range of topics centered around self-actualization and the quest for a fulfilling life.