It's Time to Get Really Into Mood Boards

This is how to make a great one.

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Tip No. 1: Determine Your #Mood

There's no right way to make a mood board. Some people like to cue up a "Getting Stuff Done" playlist, sit down with a stack of magazines and their sharpest scissors, and start tearing out pages. Others absentmindedly screenshot images throughout the day, and then assemble the best ones in Pinterest (or Polyvore, or Instagram Layout) manifestos.

The ideal mood board setup—colors, textures, and patterns galore.
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Are you redecorating your bedroom? Trying to come up with a shopping strategy for next season? Like creating records of what you're into at any particular moment that you can look back on fondly? Just want to de-stress? Having a vision (even a loose one) can help narrow down your moodboarding approach, because, as you'll see, there are a lot of ways this can go.

Tip No. 2: Gather Your Supplies

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Self-Healing Cutting Mat, $12, amazon.com; X-Acto Knife With Safety Cap, $6, amazon.com.

If you're taking the hands-on, analog route, and you want a layered look with intricate shapes, it's best to invest in an X-Acto knife and a non-slip cutting mat (just do a couple practice runs first, making sure to always drag the blade away from you).

Washi Rainbow Sticker Paper, $7, amazon.com; Wood Push Pins, $9, amazon.com.

Now comes the fun part: arranging your images. A cork board and a set of pins or thumbtacks allow for endless photo reconfiguring, while edging your images in washi tape adds some extra flair. Or, if you want to make your mood board look like a seamless collage, you can paste everything down with spray adhesive or rubber cement. Just don't forget to Snap the process.

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Tip No. 3: Do a Deep Dive

Collage genius Eugenia Loli (@eugenia_loli) probably didn't find that canoe in this month's Vogue.

To make your mood boards really stand out, look beyond this month's magazines. Check the bargain bins at your favorite used bookstore, scour Amazon for 99-cent deals on old artist monographs and coffee-table books, and poke around in your parents' attic. Outdated science textbooks, wildlife field guides, and dusty children's storybooks are also all fair game.

Tip No. 4: Or Load Up on Apps

If you'd rather source your photos from your camera roll, this trio of apps makes combining images easy. (For a straightforward grid approach to moodboarding, check out Instagram's Layout app.)

Enlight

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If you want to get good at editing photos—really, really good—start with Enlight. There are tons of gorgeous filters, as you'd expect with any great photo app. But Enlight also has an extensive suite of editing tools: tools for image blending, tools for altering composition, tools for adjusting even the tiniest bit of light and color, and tools for adding painterly touches.

Superimpose

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Wish your latest OOTD photo had actually been taken against a canal in Amsterdam? Superimpose it on top of another image, and then texturize, alter, crop, or rotate your new composition until it reflects the world you wish you could live in.

Photoblend

For the most niche of photo needs. Photoblend does exactly what you think it does. Take your favorite elements of one image and blend them with your favorite elements of another. Layer some moody tree branches over that contemplative selfie or build a composition with an inspirational aphorism.

Tip No. 5: Go Abstract

A digital collage by artist Rosanna Webster (@rosannawebster).

Moods are complicated, and mood boards can be, too. If you can't find any images that adequately capture your 2017 vibe, make your mark on found photos by cutting outside the lines, drawing over pictures with paint pens, or splicing together cutouts (if you always wanted to know what Zayn would look like with crystals for eyebrows, your time has come).

Tip No. 6: Dust Off Your Polaroid Camera

Photos of *actual* Polaroids always look better than Polaroid-inspired filters.

Mixing up textures makes for a great mood board, and throwing in some Polaroids is one way to break up a wall of flat, cut-out images. Or, you can go all-in with a Polaroid-only mini-mood board; take a photo, post it to Instagram, and make your followers give that zoom-in feature a workout.

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