Pinterest – Virtual Pinboard Guide

Pinterest – Virtual Pinboard Guide

I’ve just discovered Pinterest and I can see why people looove it !

According to the clever people behind Pinterest:

Think of Pinterest as a virtual pinboard — a place where you can create collections of things you love and “follow” collections created by other people.

People use Pinterest to collect and share all sorts of things — wedding inspiration, favourite T-shirts, DJ equipment. You name it, people are pinning it.

You don’t need to have an account to browse Pinterest, but having one means that you can pin items, create pinboards to organise your pinned items and follow other peoples pinboards.

I don’t know about you, but I have lots and lots of images saved on my computer that I have found online over the years and wanted to keep for future inspiration. But, they’re all over the place – I don’t have any real system to how they’re stored, and saving them in folders isn’t particularly user friendly. It seems that Pinterest may address this by providing a simple way to save, tag and organise interesting things you find online. And you can also remember where you originally found it as each image is linked to it’s source.

But WHY??

Is this just another way to waste time on the Internet? Well, yes, probably. But like anything else, use it wisely and you will make it work for you.

I like it for lots of reasons:

  • it’s so easy to use.
  • eyecandy everywhere!
  • it’s practical – sort inspirational items into logical groups.
  • artisans are creative, visual people and Pinterest was just made for us.
  • the ability to make connections with other people who are drawn to the same things you are.

Besides using Pinterest to sort and store the images you love you can also use it for things like:

  • a weekly menu board- with links to the recipes
  • a wedding gift registry
  • holiday activity ideas for the kids
  • mood boards for creative projects
  • designing the interiors of your dream home
  • get an understanding of your readers/shoppers. If you have a website, or sell products online, you can see if people are pinning your work. Ez of Creature Comforts has a great article on how to search Pinterest for pins of your work.
  • you can share all these! Invite everyone you want to be a part of those boards and everyone contributes their ideas, in a beautiful, visual way.

Interested? Here’s the nitty gritty of using Pinterest:

Getting Started

To sign up with Pinterest you need to request an invitation or receive an invitation from an existing member. Want in?? Just comment below and I’ll send you an invitation!!

Once you’ve signed up you will want to personalise your profile with a picture, short bio and links to your other online presences (Facebook, Twitter and website).

You will be offered to set up 5 default boards, which you can accept or create your own. As you can see in the above image, I have created my own boards for organising pins – Home, People and Ink, Inspiration, Kids and Adornment. You’ll notice in the image above that below each of my boards there is an “edit” button. Click on this and you can rename a board, write a description for that board, choose a category, determine if you are the only one who can pin or if it’s a shared board, or just delete the board altogether. Make sure you Save Board Settings when you’re finished!

In the top right corner is the menu, which is pretty self explanatory. Click the drop-down menus to help you navigate your own settings and boards as well as discover others on Pinterest. Clicking Rearrange lets you change the order your boards appear in.

Pinning an Item

The easiest way to pin an item is to use the Pin It bookmark. This is a special button that lets you grab an image from any website and add it to one of your boards. When you pin from a website, it automatically grabs the source link so the original creator can be credited.

To install the bookmark in your browser, just go to the Pinterest About page for instructions for all the browser types. It’s very simple.

Then, when you find something you want to pin while browsing you just click the “Pin It” button on your browser’s toolbar. A page will open showing all the images available on the page to pin. When you put your mouse over the image you want, the “Pin This” button appears. Click this and a popup window opens where you select what board to pin it to, add a description and choose if you want to also post it to your other linked social media accounts. And remember that everyone who follows you will see everything that you pin, in their feed.


When you log in to Pinterest it automatically shows you the thumbnails of the most recent pins of the people you follow.

When you see something you want to save to your own boards, hover your mouse over the thumbnail and click on repin. You can also comment on the image, or “Like” it (more about this below). When you click repin a popup window opens.

Just like pinning above, use the drop down menu to select which board you want to pin the image to. Fill in a description, then check the box if you want to automatically share the pin on your linked social media accounts.

The item will now appear in your feed.

Navigating Pinterest

When you are logged into Pinterest, click on the Pinterest icon in the top left-hand corner of your screen to go to your Pinterest home.  Just like going to your home page in Facebook or Twitter, this will show you your feed. Here you will see all of the recent pins of the people you follow.

From your home page, you can click the link to Discussions. This will show you what is hot on Pinterest at the moment based on comments and repins.

Next to that is the link to Everything. This brings up the feed for the most recent pins from everyone on Pinterest. When you first start using Pinterest, I’d recommend going here first and just spend some time browsing. It will help you see what kinds of things people are pinning, the types of boards people create and it will give you a good general feel for what Pinterest is about.

Finally, there is the Gift feed which features pins tagged with prices grouped into price ranges.


Pinterest can help you find friends on Pinterest using your email, Twitter, or Facebook, which is a really good way to start. Pinterest will then make suggestions for you and display those suggestions on your home page.

You have the choice to follow all of someone’s boards or follow individual boards they have created. If you follow all, that means that you will follow every board they have at present and all future boards they will create.

Unfollowing a board is very easy. Just click on the board from your feed and then click the Unfollow button from the top right-hand corner of that board. Done!

You can also try the Tastemakers service that lists who causes big splashes and wide ripples with a single pin. Within a category, Tastemakers lists the all-star pinners that get the most likes and repins.

Like it!

“Like” is a great feature on Pinterest. If you come across something that you like but don’t necessarily want to pin it, you can simply Like it. This won’t show up in the feed of those who follow you, but you can click on Likes from your profile to see a list of everything you have Liked.

Badges and Buttons

You can add a “Pin It!” button to your blog posts or product pages that lets users easily share them. Or you can show off your Pinterest account and make it easy for people to follow you with a button linked to your account.

Upload photos

Even though Pinterest is designed to share interesting items you find online, you can also use it to store and sort photos you have stored on your computer.

Instead of using the “Pin It” bookmarklet you click Add > Add a Pin on the toolbar near your username. This will open up a Pin It form. However, instead of pasting in a URL, click Upload.

Now you can browse and select an image already saved on your computer. Click Upload and then finish off your pin as usual.

Other Useful Tips

* You can choose to receive email notifications from your Preferences. This will alert you to new followers, new repins, @ mentions, and likes.

* To tag another Pinterest user when you pin something, use @ just like on Twitter or Facebook.

* Pinterest has an iPhone app. No Android version yet unfortunately ;(

* The Pinterest blog has lots of good tips and they interview interesting members. Worth a look!


And of course, you can follow me!!!

I hope this is useful for you and helps you get the most out of Pinterest quickly! And, if you would like an invitation, just leave a comment!

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4 Responses to Pinterest – Virtual Pinboard Guide

  1. Akiko Kaase says:

    This really is a amazing article. Thank you for bothering to explain this all out for all of us. It really is a great help!

  2. Janice Bear says:

    Hey Michelle! Great tutorial. I wanted to add that Pinterest is a good way to find people who are totally not like you. As artists it is important to leave our comfort zones and Pinterest is a great avenue for doing that. Hate modern art? Find someone who loves it. Think you have good style, follow someone who loves a different era of fashion. It is a whole different kind of fun.

  3. […] and creating in the middle of life useful. If not, perhaps you will be more interested in one of these […]

  4. Gina says:

    Hey Michelle!
    great guide! made it very easy to understand….I thought I was on pinterest, but I’m not…could you send me an invite to
    thanks so much!

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