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Wednesday, Dec 6, 2023
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Sprucing up your dorm with simple DIY projects

Beaded curtains are a beautiful way to liven up your dorm.
Beaded curtains are a beautiful way to liven up your dorm.

By now, you’ve moved into your dorm, and you’ve probably done some minor engineering to make your space functional and cute — a Command hook by the door for your keys, a photo wall to remember all your friends and family back home, a corkboard to display your jewelry.

But if you really want to make your dorm uniquely yours as well as a fun place for your friends to hang out, read on for some zesty ideas!

Beaded Curtains

My roommate and I bought one mega bucket of beads and a reel of fishing wire from Walmart, which made 21 bead strands that cover half of our three living room windows.

We strung them at random, intentionally not instituting any patterns in the bead arrangement, so each strand is unique. We also embedded little secret messages in some of the strands using letter beads.

When the sun shines just right, tiny rainbows are reflected on our living room wall.

This may be the most meticulous craft on this list, as it took several hours to complete all the strands — and likely many more if we’d done the whole length of the windows — but the beaded curtains are my favorite thing in our living room right now.


On the topic of stringed things, garlands are a personal, versatile touch to any living space. In a corner of my own room, I have a garland of origami butterflies and stars folded out of old book pages. I’ve also made a couple strings of rainbow origami cranes for my best friend and origami frogs for my girlfriend.

If origami isn’t your thing, there are tons of other items you can attach to a garland.

Picture dried oranges brightening up your kitchen area, or a wreath of dried flowers dangling above your bed, or your favorite crystals hanging over your dorm’s entrance.

Don’t forget that flat items attached to walls aren’t the only way you can liven up your living space!

Clay Magnets

This is a great, affordable activity for a couple of evenings with your friends.

My friends and I used air-dry clay, a package of small, circular magnets and acrylic paint to complete this project. Then, we got to work! We shaped snails, frogs, fairies and mushrooms out of our clay — let your imagination guide your hands!

While the clay was still moldable, we embedded the magnets into the backs of our creations so we would not have to glue magnets on later.

The next night, after the clay completely dried, we got together again and painted them.

Our magnets do look cute up there on our fridges, but truly the best part is that we swapped our little creations amongst each other. Now I can smile at my friends’ art when I’m reaching into the fridge!

Vinyl Bowl

This one is a little more complicated because you need an oven, but if you or a friend lives in one of the dorms with a full kitchen, then it’s a pretty simple and funky DIY.

It’s easier to explain with visuals, so I’ve linked the tutorial I followed.

In the end, you’ll have a retro bowl you can stick by the door as a catch-all, or you can pull it out and fill it with snacks for a themed party!

Smartphone Projector

This is also a more complex project, so check out the link for instructions.

Once you start, though, you’ll find that you probably already have all the items you need except a magnifying glass. And once you finish, you’ll have a groovy smartphone projector you can use for movies or photo shoots with friends.

Happy crafting!

Ivy Marie Clarke

Ivy Marie Clarke ‘22 is an English literature and creative writing double major, double minoring in art and women’s and gender studies. She has served as editor of the Arts & Culture section of The Cluster for the last two years. She also interns with Macon Magazine and Mercer University Press and edits for The Dulcimer. She also enjoys drinking coffee and writing poetry. 


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