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.

  • 01 of 13

    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.

  • 02 of 13
    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.

  • 03 of 13

    Photo Thumbtacks & Magnets

    Photo thumbtacks. 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.

  • 04 of 13
    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.

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  • 05 of 13

    A Photo Montage

    A photo montage made from old CD cases is the perfect, inexpensive way to decorate a dorm room or first apartment - or your kid's old room!. 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.

  • 06 of 13

    Lab Notebook Makeover

    A plain lab notebook gets a cool DIY makeover in this easy, inexpensive dorm craft project. 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 splatter print. Here those cardboard covers form the base for a glossy, academic-themed collage. It's a total lab notebook makeover.

  • 07 of 13
    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.)

  • 08 of 13
    A Hogwarts-adorned clipboard shares desk space with a Hogwarts Express pencil cup in this easy, DIY project. 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.

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  • 09 of 13

    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 of 13

    Cool Cork Boards

    Photo by Jackie Burrell

    A little paint - and a 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.

  • 11 of 13
    DIY Duvet. Photo by Jackie Burrell

    That new dorm room or apartment bedroom may look plain now, but by the time you outfit the bed with colorful linens and a duvet, it will be both cozy and stylish. Why spend the money on pricey linens when making your own DIY duvet cover is so easy? And you can pair it with all sorts of fun linens - custom made pillowcases, a bolster and throw pillows too.

  • 12 of 13

    A Photo Pencil Cup

    Photo crafts
    Photo by Jackie Burrell

    Photo crafts are a great way to bring family and friends' images into a dorm room. Take a utilitarian, empty soup can or pencil cup, twine a film strip graphic around it and insert photos to make a free and charming reminder of home.

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  • 13 of 13

    An Adorable Sewing Kit

    Photo by Jackie Burrell

    Button-sewing is one of those classic, essential skills every college kid or 20something should know how to do. But he (or she) will need the basic tools, including a needle and thread. Make it easy with a cute, compact sewing kit like this one. Best of all, it's a good way to use up odds and ends from other projects - fabric scraps from a bulletin board/jewelry frame project, for example, or fleece from a cozy dorm blanket - and a squat mason jar.