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how to make a moodboard (the old fashioned way)

September 13, 2012
how to make a moodboard


materials needed:

bulletin board with push pins (or you could just use tape on your wall)

magazine pictures









good paper for painting on



start with a purpose

what’s the purpose in making your moodboard? are you decorating a room in your home? are you looking for inspiration in your art? do you want to design a collection of patterns? i started my moodboard because i needed a direction to design a collection of patterns. i think it helped to have a purpose for my moodboard. it made getting started so much easier!!!

choose a color palette

your moodboard does not have to be limited by color… it could just be a collection of shapes, textures and style. but i wanted a limited color palette for the purpose of my collection. it all just depends on the purpose of your moodboard. because i wanted my colors to be cutting edge i decided to research color trends for 2013. this is where i found the inspiration for my color palette. i found this group of colors and chose six of them that i really liked. it’s very important when choosing your color palette to make sure you include a few neutrals to balance out the color. it’s what gives your selection of colors balance and is more pleasing to the eye. otherwise all the colors are in competition with each other and your eye doesn’t know where to go. i always teach my students to include a few neutrals in their art because it helps colors really shine.

color trends for 2013

color trends for 2013

there are so many people making color palettes these days. you can make your own from one of your favorite photographs as well. for inspiration and information on how to make your own color palette go visit my friend brandi’s blog. she is an amazing colorist and full of inspiration.

paint your color palette

because this color palette was only on my computer, i wanted something i could hold in my hand. i suppose i could have printed out the palette or gone to the hardware store and picked out color swatches. instead i decided to paint my color palette with acrylic paint. for one, i love to paint and i knew that i would be using these same colors to paint a few pieces later. i also wanted to know how to make these specific colors with my paints. so i set out matching my paints to the colors i chose from the color palette on my computer. then i wrote down the exact colors i used to create all of the colors in my palette. that way when i come back to it later, i will know exactly how to create them again. very important!


paint your color palette

painting with the same colors

so as i was creating my color palette with paint, i decided to clean my brushes and use up any leftover paint on a blank journal page. this helped me to explore how the colors blended together and looked in a painting. i just made a very abstract painting on a piece of paper with the same colors. i wanted it to be loose and free. i added this painting to my inspiration moodboard later. you could also play with certain patterns that you like at this time. for example, i could have painted these same colors into chevron strips, polka dots or even flowers. just have fun playing with the color and exploring the relationship between the different colors. it helps to see what colors look the best next to each other and which ones need to be toned down more. it’s all about play!


painting with the same colors

collecting images

so now that i had my color palette and it was sitting in front of me, i went looking for images that matched my color palette. because i was looking for colors that are hot right now, i didn’t have a problem finding inspiration in design magazines. i did go out and buy some new magazines for this project because i wanted beautiful images for my moodboard. a family circle from ten years ago just wasn’t going to cut it. but you don’t have to go out and buy new magazines, look through your stash of fabric, paper, buttons, ribbons… whatever you have on hand. go out with your camera and take pictures of inspiration. you could even go to target or ikea and just take pictures of patterns and items that inspire you. the options are endless for finding and collecting your images. i spent an afternoon collecting my images but you can take as long as you like. take a week to gather your images. take your camera with you and snap pictures as you go about life. i need to restock my color in my printer right now, but you could totally print images off your computer if you like.

putting it all together

once you have collected all of your images for your moodboard you can start piecing them together on your bulletin board. cut out your images and lay them all out on a flat surface to see how they fit together. you don’t have to have every spot filled and you don’t even need to have it completed. you can always add more later. don’t be afraid to edit either. if an image just doesn’t seem to go with the others, simply remove it. after you have all of your images arranged the way you like them then start pinning them or putting them up on your wall.

start using your moodboard

now is probably the most important part of the whole process. go back to your purpose. start using your moodboard for inspiration and get started decorating that room or designing that collection. really look at all the textures and colors and examine the reasons why you chose those images. pull out the details that really stand out. have fun creating!!!

when i am done with the purpose of this moodboard, i will probably start on a new one. i think i will probably take all of the images down and place into a folder with the color palette on the outside so i can refer to it later.

here is my first pattern using this moodboard…

pattern using a moodboard

my first pattern

9 Comments leave one →
  1. September 13, 2012 12:20 pm

    Oh this is YUMMY! Deluxe yummy with whipped cream on top! This looks like fun.

  2. September 13, 2012 1:30 pm

    Very nice Wendy! I love the colors you chose. I have a feeling you are doing the ABSPD course?? I am too! Julie

  3. September 13, 2012 2:38 pm

    Love the colour palette 🙂

  4. September 13, 2012 5:28 pm

    Making mood boards if one of my all time favorite things. Love yours and your colors.

  5. September 13, 2012 5:29 pm

    is one of my faves.. oops

  6. ann dickey permalink
    September 17, 2012 7:54 pm

    i am catching up here- just had time to read your blog on mood boards. i am going to make one! cant wait. thanks for always sharing your creative tips with us wendy. your generosity is much appreciated… and inspiring.

  7. nylo permalink
    May 2, 2017 12:05 pm

    this has helped me sooo much. thank you!


  1. Where do I Start When Designing the Perfect Room ? - Cassandra Currie

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