Decor brightens dreary dorms

The first few weeks of the semester are always a bit hectic. Even in my fourth year here, I still find myself exhausted at the end of the day because I’m not quite into the


The first few weeks of the semester are always a bit hectic. Even in my fourth year here, I still find myself exhausted at the end of the day because I’m not quite into the swing of things. However, my exhaustion does not compare to the whirlwind of my freshman year when for the first month or two I came back to a less-than-homey dorm room.

Let’s face it, there’s something soothing about coming back to some place that feels like home. And in my opinion, while pictures of your friends and family hastily stuck to your walls on move-in day can be great, there are much better ways to make your dorm room or apartment feel more like home.

So today I’m offering up two different crafts. I know, fancy and ambitious, right?

The first craft is a candleholder. Now, if you’re living in university housing, I’m obligated to remind you that you’re not supposed to have candles. Because inevitably you’re going to get drunk, forget you left them lit while setting the mood and have to flee your room naked instead of getting down.

So you can either break the rules and have a real candle, or invest in an LED votive or tea light. You’ll also need a glass candleholder, or a large shot glass that can hold a small candle. Additionally, you’ll need patterned or colored paper or tissue paper, glue and a paintbrush (though I personally used an old, cleaned foundation brush that I no longer use for makeup).

1. Wrap your paper around your candleholder to figure out how big it needs to be, trim it to slightly larger than the circumference of the candleholder, with a little bit extra on the bottom as well.

2. Put some glue on scrap paper, tinfoil or a paper plate –anything so that it won’t go through onto your desk. If you’re using white glue I’d suggest mixing in some water to thin it out. Personally, I just invested in Mod Podge because I’m a pretty big fan of decorating anything I can get my grubby hands on.

3. Brush some glue onto your candleholder, and then start applying your paper. Take your time and smooth the paper out as you go. Add more glue as needed.

4. Once you’ve completely wrapped the outside of the candleholder, put the glue on top of the paper in order to seal it.

5. Wait for it to dry and then light that candle, or if you’re playing by the rules, turn it on.

Craft number two is a classier version of the sock on the door. Unlike some other columnists, I’m actually OK with the door being closed sometimes. Just be safe, and try to prevent your roommates from walking in on you. If you haven’t guessed by now I’m going to explain how to make a “getting lucky” door hanger.

You have the option of buying a wooden door hanger from a craft store, or printing out the PDF from the online version of this article. If you do that you’ll need cardboard, scissors, decorative paper and some sort of adhesive.

And really, you can use this pattern for pretty much anything, like telling your roommate you’re at class, or even reminding yourself to grab your keys on the way out.

1. Print out the online PDF and trace it onto your cardboard. Then cut out the door hanger and the horseshoe.

2. Now, decorate the door hanger. I personally printed out paper with patterns on it and attached it to both the door hanger and the horseshoe. However, you can decorate it however you please. Whip out your markers, paint or charcoal. Heck, you don’t even need to add the horseshoe if that’s not what you’re into.

3. Attach the horseshoe to the door hanger, and then hang it on your door.

So, there you go–two super easy crafts to make your dorm room feel a little bit more like home, and a little bit more fun.

Meghan White can be reached at

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