Stitch Craft Create Blog

5 Fun Tips for Creating Idea Boards

Today, we want to share some tips and tricks for making idea boards. Our creative team loves to make them, and we use them at the SCC office all the time: to help theme our issues, to decorate our offices, to plan articles and photoshoots – they’re extremely useful to the creative process.
A small board hanging in Shannon’s office

So what are idea boards, anyway? Call them what you want – idea boards, mood boards, inspiration boards…they all follow the same concept, and they’re fun to both make for yourself and share with others. Big, small, complex, simple, digital or physical – the possibilities are endless.

Simply put, from our perspective, an idea board is a visually stimulating collection of ideas and/or ephemera, sometimes representing a particular mood or theme. There are no rules; it can be as simple as just a few pretty items, or as complex as a wall full of magazine tear-outs, scraps of lovely craft items and photographs. It can be something you create in a folder on your computer, or it can be a stack of random items on your desk. Maybe you plan one out to the last detail and painstakingly photograph it, or perhaps you just pull together some things that make you smile and hang them together from a picture frame with string and clothespins. Use it to plan a party; use it to waste a few hours on Sunday afternoon.
Color Palette
Color Palette by Merissa Revestir
We like to create style sheets when planning each individual issue of Stitch Craft Create that are a one-page “idea boards” to capture the color palette, seasonal theme and style perspective that we want to frame the edition around. They consist of a handful of photographs, color swatches and a few descriptive words, and we refer to them throughout the production on any given issue to help keep our look and feel consistent.
A few of our SCC style sheets
And ahem, Pinterest! Where do you think they got the concept of “pinning to a board,” anyway? Pinterest is the epitome of bringing together technology and idea boards. It is a straightforward example of collecting ideas, images, etcetera in themed visual collections. Boards can be as broad (“Christmas crafts”) or as specific (“orange and aqua geometric quilts”) as you want, and they’re the very definition of the “idea board” concept.
We made the Pinterest board above as an example of what you might create to enter our Singer One Idea Board Challenge, based on the project idea of making simple market tote bags for autumn.

All of that said, here are 5 tips for making idea boards that we hope inspire you to start some of your own:
1. Choose a theme and refer to it when adding to your idea board. Your theme can be as loose or as specific as you want; anything from “things that make me happy” to a particular mood, color palette or project idea. There are no rules.
Inspired by lavenderlime

2. Be on constant lookout for things you can tuck away and use later. Even if you’re not sure what you’ll do with it at first, if you like it – save it! It can be a pretty shell, a beautiful letterpress business card, a fantastic quote, a scrap of nice ribbon, a photograph or magazine clipping, an old piece of wood, a must-have button. Again – no rules, and the sky is the limit.

3. Add to (and take away from) a board over time. An idea board can be one-time deal that you photograph and then put away; but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, some of the most inspiring idea boards out there are living – ones that have been added to for days, weeks, months, years. Idea boards can be static or organic; it doesn’t have to be permanent, and you can remove things that don’t “fit” anytime you like, or as the board morphs into a different look.
by afewthingsfrommylife

4. Create for yourself. Make at least a few boards every now and then that serve no purpose but to make you happy! Idea boards are fantastic tools for jumpstarting the creative process or for helping you plan a project. But they don’t always have to have a reason for being; if you’re feeling blue, collect some yellow things from around the house and keep an eye out for spots of yellow around town. Put them all together and just revel in the bright color; the process will therapeutic in itself, and hey – don’t you feel better now? If you’re feeling creatively burnt out, raid your stash for scraps from some of your favorite past projects and write down an inspiring quote to go along with it. Enjoy the time you’ve spent with your yummy supplies, then look over your creation without concern for what it “should” look like. It might even encourage you to craft something new.

5. Stop stressing. Sure, other people may have created the most drop dead gorgeous inspiration boards you’ve ever seen (hello, Leslie Shewing) but there’s no need to constantly compare your work to theirs (heard of Pinterest burnout?) While you can use idea boards for “work” purposes, at the heart of creating an idea board is the enjoyment that comes from putting your hands and eyes on beautiful things. Your end product can be completely different from what you started out to make in the first place – it’s really okay. There’s a reason art therapy is a certifiable field; it just makes us feel better to have a creative outlet, and it doesn’t have to look or feel any certain way; this is not going to be on the midterm.
The above idea board is an example of one you might create to enter our current Idea Board Challenge; it’s based on the project idea for making a new fall skirt.
So, who wants to go make an idea board now? Why not start by making one around the theme “Simple Fall Sewing” – you could win a brand new Singer One sewing machine! It’s all in good fun, so enjoy yourself and relax in the process. You can make a board on Pinterest or put together a real one – the choice is yours, but we insist that you have fun with it. Then, when you’re done, go on our contest blog post and enter to win!

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