Keeping Busy During Lockdown - Mood Boards

blog lockdown

Quarantine sucks, and I'm a homebody to begin with. It's already beginning to feel like the walls are closing in, inspiration is few and far between, and my motivation is definitely beginning wane. I'm sure I'm not the only one who is finding the isolation emotionally and artistically draining, so I thought I'd share some of the ways I've been getting the creative juices flowing while I'm stuck inside.



Creating mood boards is one of my favourite ways to get out of a creative slump. It's a low stress, quick, and easy way to get yourself back into a creative headspace. It allows you to play with composition, colour combinations, and textures, without the pressure of making new work.


If you're anything like me, you have a bordering-on-obsessive love for papers, photos, fabric swatches, and scraps of anything with a beautiful pattern or texture. Mood boarding is a perfect excuse to gather up your collection like a magpie and lay it all out on on the dining table (or rather, bedroom floor, if you're like me). Here's a list of to look out for while gathering your supplies:

  • wrapping papers - those beautiful but slightly battered gift wraps you saved are about to come in handy. Even plain tissue papers can be a lovely addition of texture, you can even play around with their transparency & overlap them with other materials.
  • magazines - Now, I know that popping out to the shop to look at magazines doesn't count as an essential outing, but I'm sure many of us have a few knocking around the house somewhere. Image heavy magazines are a gold mine for mood boarding & collaging materials. For textures and dynamic poses, try fashion magazines. To bring elements of nature into you mood board, look out for travel magazines & publications such as National Geographic.
  • photographs - old photographs and polaroids are perfect for adding a personal touch to your board. Think about the story behind your photographs - is there a deep connection to this photo? What sounds, smells, and feelings do you associate with the photos? Note - if you are creating a physical mood board (as opposed to a digital one, which I'll get into later) you do not have to cut them up if you wish to preserve the photos, and you can use blu tack to hold the photos in place so they can later be removed without damaging them. 
  • fabric - fabric swatches & scraps are perfect for adding variation & texture to your collection. If you don't have swatches & scraps lying around, maybe consider old clothing or towels that you no longer want. They do not need to be patterned - personally I find a collection of plain coloured materials ideal for creating new colour palettes.
  • drawings - these can be your own, or ones you've been gifted by friends or family
  • newspapers - great for photographs but also for sections of text - there's something about newspaper snippets that gives a vintage feel. Maybe even look out for headlines or words that appeal to you & cut those out.
  • notes & letters - I've always found handwriting fascinating, it so personal, and so uniquely individual. Diary pages and love letters can really add a romantic magic to your mood board, but shopping lists and little notes can also become profound & meaningful when grouped together with other pieces. 
  • flowers & leaves - give me any excuse to incorporate flowers into my work and I will.
  • newly created coloured & marked papers - If you only have plain paper to hand, you can create you own mood boarding materials by washing over them in paints of various colours, or scribbling all over them with crayons or graphite - whatever art supplied you have lying around.
  • thread, wool, & ribbon - I love adding tactile elements to mood boards and contrasting soft & rigid materials.
  • book pages - I know this might sound a little sacrilegious, but if you have any books knocking around that you're happy to tear up, pages of text can be a lovely addition to your mood board. See if you can find any title pages or chapter names which feel especially meaningful to you.
  • paint swatches - If you've decorated recently you might have colour samples you picked up from the homeware store, or alternatively you can make you own by swatching and paints you have lying around.
Once you've gathered your materials it's time to start assembling. I find the best way is to use a section of plain wall, preferably a neutral colour so as not to overpower your materials. If you'd rather, large sheets of paper or card can also be used for a background, or even a cork notice board if you have one.

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