This article is about creating vision boards. For more information on visions, see here.

A vision board (also called a Treasure Map or a Visual Explorer or Creativity Collage) is typically a poster board on which you paste or collage images that you’ve torn out from various magazines. It’s simple.

The idea behind this is that when you surround yourself with images of who you want to become, what you want to have, where you want to live, or where you want to vacation, your life changes to match those images and those desires.

For instance, before I ever started performing music and I had no idea how I’d ever get a gig, write enough songs, or assemble a press kit, I drew a picture of myself in a bar with people watching me perform (I’m a terrible visual artist, so I actually had to label the people “people!”). And though it wasn’t the only factor in making it happen, I had a calendar full of bar and coffeehouse gigs by the next year.

My drawing was a kind of a vision board. Vision boards do the same thing as my drawing did. They add clarity to your desires, and feeling to your visions. For instance, at the time I did my drawing, I knew I wanted to play in bars and coffeehouses. (I have since left the that circuit, and I’m performing in theatres and at conferences. But in my early twenties, I wanted to play in bars and coffeehouses. I was pretty clear about that!) Taking the time to draw it out, even poorly, made it indelible in my mind.

There are several methods you can use for creating your vision board. I’ve written about each one below. You can choose which one works best for you, depending on where you find yourself on this path of creating your life. (read on for more about vision boarding)

Supplies you’ll need for creating a Vision Board:

– Poster board. (Target sells a really nice matte finish board. I highly recommend it.)

– A big stack of different magazines. (You can get them at libraries, hair salons, dentist offices, the YMCA.) Make sure you find lots of different types. If you limit your options, you’ll lose interest after a while. When I facilitate my women’s retreats, I always make sure we have plenty of Oprah, Real Simple, Natural Home, Yoga Journal, Dwell, Ode, Parenting, Money, Utne, and an assortment of nature magazines.

– Glue. Not Elmers. (It makes the pages ripple.) I like using Yes!Glue or Rubber cement. Glue sticks are my second choice because they don’t last.

Before you begin your vision board:

No matter which method you’re choosing, have a little ritual before you begin your vision board. Sit quietly and set the intent. With lots of kindness and openness, ask yourself what it is you want. Maybe one word will be the answer. Maybe images will come into your head. Just take a moment to be with that. This process makes it a deeper experience. It gives a chance for your ego to step aside just a little, so that you can more clearly create your vision.

Put on soft music. My favorite music for activities like this is Anugama Shamanic Dream I and Shamanic Dream II. I love these CD’s for massage or any activity where you want to keep your mind quiet.

The Five Steps of Creating a Vision Board:

Step 1: Go through your magazines and tear the images from them. No gluing yet! Just let yourself have lots of fun looking through magazines and pulling out pictures or words or headlines that strike your fancy. Have fun with it. Make a big pile of images and phrases and words.

Step 2: Go through the images and begin to lay your favorites on the board. Eliminate any images that no longer feel right. This step is where your intuition comes in. As you lay the pictures on the board, you’ll get a sense how the board should be laid out. For instance, you might assign a theme to each corner of the board. Health, Job, Spirituality, Relationships, for instance. Or it may just be that the images want to go all over the place. Or you might want to fold the board into a book that tells a story. At my retreats, I’ve seen women come up with wildly creative ways to present a vision board.

Step 3: Glue everything onto the board. Add writing if you want. You can paint on it, or write words with markers.

Step 4: (optional, but powerful) Leave space in the very center of the vision board for a fantastic photo of yourself where you look radiant and happy. Paste yourself in the center of your board.

Step 5: Hang your vision board in a place where you will see it often.

Three Types of Vision Boards:

1 – The “I Know Exactly What I Want” Vision Board

Do this vision board if:

– You’re very clear about your desires.
– You want to change your environment or surroundings.
– There is a specific thing you want to manifest in your life. (i.e. a new home, or starting a business.)

How to create this vision board:

With your clear desire in mind, set out looking for the exact pictures which portray your vision. If you want a house by the water, then get out the Dwell magazine and start there. If you want to start your own business, find images that capture that idea for you. If you want to learn guitar, then find that picture. I remember at the last retreat, one woman yelled out, “If anyone finds a picture of a little girl with red hair who looks happy, give it to me!” And someone else yelled out, “I’m looking for a Cadillac!” Pretty soon, a lively trading session began. Following the five steps above, create your vision board out of these images.

2 – The “Opening and Allowing” Vision Board

Do this vision board if:

– You’re not sure what exactly you want
– You’ve been in a period of depression or grief
– You have a vision of what you want, but are uncertain about it in some way.
– You know you want change but don’t know how it’s possible.

How to create this vision board:

Go through each magazine. Tear out images that delight you. Don’t ask why. Just keep going through the magazines. If it’s a picture of a teddy bear that makes you smile, then pull it out. If it’s a cottage in a misty countryside, then rip it out. Just have fun and be open to whatever calls to you. Then, as you go through Step 2 above, hold that same openness, but ask yourself what this picture might mean. What is it telling you about you? Does it mean you need to take more naps? Does it mean you want to get a dog, or stop hanging out with a particular person who drains you? Most likely you’ll know the answer. If you don’t, but you still love the image, then put it on your vision board anyway. It will have an answer for you soon enough. Some women at my retreats had NO idea what their board was about, and it wasn’t until two months later that they understood. The Opening and Allowing Vision Board can be a powerful guide for you. I like it better than the first model because sometimes our egos think they know what we want, and lots of times those desires aren’t in alignment with who we really are. This goes deeper than just getting what you want. It can speak to you and teach you a little bit about yourself and your passion.

3 – The “Theme” Vision Board

Do this vision board if:

– It’s your birthday or New Years Eve or some significant event that starts a new cycle.
– If you are working with one particular area of your life. For instance, Work & Career.

How to create this vision board:

The only difference between this vision board and the others is that this one has clear parameters and intent. Before you begin the vision board, take a moment to hold the intent and the theme in mind. When you choose pictures, they will be in alignment with the theme. You can do the Theme Vision Board on smaller pages, like a page in your journal.

Some things to remember about vision boards:

– You can use a combination of all three types of vision boards as you create. Sometimes you might start out doing one kind, and then your intuition takes over and shifts into a whole different mode. That’s called creativity. Just roll with it.

– Your vision board might change as you are making it. I was just talking with a friend of mine who said that she had been making a vision board for the new year. The theme was all about what she wanted in this year. Then, as she pulled pictures and began to lay them out, the theme changed into a simpler one about her everyday life and the moments in each day. It surprised and delighted her to experience that evolution. You might find that you have little epiphanies from making a vision board.

Make a Vision Journal

Another option is to use these same principles in a big sketch book. Get a large sketch book and keep an on-going vision journal. This is especially effective if you’re going through many transitions in your life.

Christine Kane is the Mentor to People Who are Changing the World. She helps women and men Uplevel their lives, their businesses and their success. Her weekly Uplevel You eZine goes out to over 20,000 subscribers. If you are ready to take your life and your world to the next level, you can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at

  1. […] your unconscious mind which is like a kid in a candy store around images and affirmations. (click here for details on how to use vision […]

  2. Hi Christine! I was struck by the photo above this post – it looks like MY vision board! I’m very big on words – they denote feeling which is so important in a vision board. My vision board is pictures covered with words and the end result feels great!
    I’m a big believer in making one and you so clearly explain the methods of doing it. On one I made a couple of years ago I put a picture of a cruise ship. It was only after I returned from my dream mother-daughter trip to Greece that I looked at the board and realized the cruise ship was a part of OUR trip – it was the ferries we took from island to island! It’s amazing how you can “begin with the end in mind”  – with pictures and see them come into your reality!
    What fun! Great explanation Christine!

  3. Well said! If we have vision, if we lack focus, if we have a new goal, this is a great way to express it!  Even though I am an author, I always start with images and a vision before writing. The same goes for my personal life goals. You have described the possible uses very well! Thank you!

  4. Christine, Love your board and how you are reaching your goals of performing on your terms. Very much enjoyed reading this post. I create vision boards and posters pretty regularly. I love the whole process from beginning (digging through magazines, calendars and photos finding pictures and words) to the finished board with all of the textures and colors.  

    @ Susan H. McIntyre – Love the idea of creating a vision board before writing. Sounds fascinating and I can’t wait to try it!

    Morgan Dragonwillow

  5. Morgan, it’s so odd – I may be a writer, but I notice that my vision boards never seem to contain words. That alone can be an insight. I “see an image” of what I want to write before I have the words for it. Vision boards are also great for journal writing. Sometimes we try to journal and don’t know what to say. That’s when I get out the clippings I’ve collected and just glue-stick them in my journal. Later I find the words that express what was going on in my mind!

  6. Kathleen says:

    I have been making “Vision Boards” for over ten years. I first started by making collages  and called it my “dream board” then I heard about “treasure mapping” on a parenting website (MDC) and started to make my board on the Aeries New Moon each year  (usually early April).

    I have had phenomenal success drawing things into my life. By first visualizing and then the cut and paste and of utmost importance adding affirmations in the present tense.  

    This is an amazing tool for helping bring clarity into my (your)dreams and helping to focus on what I (and you) want in life.

    Always remember to DREAM BIG and ask for what you want in life.

    Peace and Love 

  7. Jwls says:

    Great post and Dream Board! I am also big on vision and wanted to add that you can also create an online vision board to have as a desk top or whatever you want! I did one, you can see on my site: 
    Created at Oprah’s Dream Board Page! It was so easy & fun to do!
    There are links to Oprah’s Dream Boards also!
    Thanks for the great post! Have an Awesome Day!  ~ Jwls ~ aka “Jwls1luv – Twitter”

  8. Sonali says:

    This is an awesome blog!  Have you heard of a Vision in Progress Box?  Check it out…

  9. Jim says:

    Great article. I like the idea of the online vision board as well.

  10. […] What is a Vision Board? by Christine Kane. […]

Post a Comment: