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Crafts for Decorating the Dorm Room

Homemade fleece blankets, photo thumbtacks and more


Dorm rooms can be a bit cell-like until you add some cozy touches, photos and reminders of home. These fun, inexpensive craft projects add flair to any college kid's dorm decorating plans, without costing a fortune.

1. A Wordy Pencil Cup

Photo by Jackie Burrell
This clever, practically free craft project turns a boring desk mainstay into a whimsical, wordy pencil cup, adorned with college words to inspire. You'll notice the word "study" is printed really, really large.

2. A Cozy Fleece Blanket

Photo by Jackie Burrell

Every dorm room needs a cozy throw, something to wrap about one's shoulders during late night study sessions (or video game marathons) and remind one of home. This soft fleece blanket can be whipped up in an hour or so in fabrics that match any dorm decor. It's a great craft project for younger siblings to make too, and it pairs nicely with a set of no-sew DIY fleece pillows too.

3. Photo Thumbtacks & Magnets

Photo by Jackie Burrell
Dorm rooms aren't exactly known for their counter space or picture hanging options. But these easy to make photo thumbtacks and magnets will let your child’s dorm bulletin board (or mini-fridge) carry reminders of his goofy friends and loving family.

4. A Dorm Room First Aid Kit

Photo by Jackie Burrell
Every dorm room needs a first aid kit, stocked with bandages, antibiotic ointment and assorted pills. But there's no reason it has to be a spartan affair. Here's how to make a first aid kit that doesn't just offer bandages, it sports handy first aid tips too - on the outside.

5. A Photo Montage

Photo by Jackie Burrell
A wall of photos is just the thing to add color and personality to a spartan dorm room, but between the typical residence hall's anti-hammer rules and the realities of cinder block walls, it's tough to get anything to hang. Voila: DIY CD picture frames, a little poster putty and some clever photo action. The results look terrific on any dorm or first apartment wall - or, in your college kid's soon-to-be decorated old bedroom.

6. Lab Notebook Makeover

Photo by Jackie Burrell
Calculus and English lit are serious affairs, but that doesn't mean a notebook has to be. This easy craft project adds whimsy and pizzazz to those old composition notebooks we've all used - the $1.50 variety with the heavy cardboard covers and black-and-white spatter print. Here those cardboard covers form the base for a glossy, academic-themed collage. It's a total lab notebook makeover.

7. A Desk Blotter

A desk blotter
Photo by Jackie Burrell

Outfitting that new dorm room or first apartment with stylish, DIY desk supplies adds a little color, as well as practicality. And there's nothing like a fabulous, custom-made desk blotter to designate an "I work here" space. This particular version is so easy to do, and so easy to change out, drips and drops are a non-issue. (Plus, you can pair the blotter with a ridiculously whimsical pencil pot.)

8. A Hogwarts Clipboard

Photo by Jackie Burrell
This easy DIY project adds a little magic to those study supplies - and it makes a wonderful gift for any Harry Potter fan, especially when paired with a Hogwarts Express pencil cup.

9. A Bulletin Board or Jewelry Frame

Photo by Jackie Burrell

Between the beige walls, lack of storage and ban on hammering nails, decorating a dorm room or first apartment can be challenging. This craft project - a DIY jewelry frame - gives your teen or 20something somewhere to stash her jewelry, while adding a splash of color. And the technique works equally well for stylish bulletin boards.

10. Cool Cork Boards

Photo by Jackie Burrell

A little paint - and little creativity - is all it takes to transform mundane cork squares into something special that jazzes up that dorm room in no time flat. Of course, cool corkboards require cool thumbtacks too, like DIY tacks covered with goofy photos, for example, college landmarks or even glossy campus map buttons.

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