Here’s the thing…college is expensive. Not just in the way that you’d expect: tuition, housing, books, living expenses…those are all costs that we’ve learned to expect from college.
I’m talking about the other unexpected costs – dorm decor, bedding, organizers, and anything else that makes our dorms feel like home. While the “college dorm” sections at box stores are inspiring, they can quickly add to the ever-growing list of college expenses. Why not save some money by making the essentials yourself?
I’ve tried to include a variety of DIY dorm ideas here, but I’ve also included a few accessories that aren’t necessary for dorms, but would certainly make college life a little bit more comfortable. I hope you’ll find something here that you can easily make for the college student in your life.
Here’s 50 DIY gift ideas for the college student in your life.
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1. Easy Sew Sun Glasses Case by Nap-Time Creations
2. Kate Spade Inspired Key Fobs by Flamingo Toes
3. DIY: Makeup Brush Holder by Centsational Girl
4. Spring Makeup Zipper Pouch by Flamingo Toes
5. Hanging Makeup Organizer by A girl and a glue gun
This is a really cute makeup organizer that can easily hang on the back of a bathroom or bedroom door, on the knob of a sink drawer, in the closet, or on the back of a desk chair. What a great way to be able to find all of your makeup essentials without having to search through a drawer!
6. Six-Pocket Round Bath Caddy: Fabric Depot @ Sew4Home
Even if your college student has his/her own private bathroom, a shower/bath caddy is great way to keep all of your essentials in once easy-to-reach place.
7. Circle Zip Earbud Pouch Tutorial by Erin Erickson/Dog Under My Desk
8. DIY Ruffled iPhone Wallet by My 3 Monsters
9. Easy DIY Phone Charger Holder by Flamingo Toes
In my dorm room, I used to put my smart phone in a drawstring bag that hung from a post on my lofted bed – that was the only way that I could simultaneously reach my phone and charge it at the same time, since the cord wasn’t long enough to reach. My roommate had to use a similar set up for the same reason.
Something like this would have made my life so. much. easier. This pattern looks like it could easily be modified to fit a bigger or smaller phone, as well.
10. Tutorial: DIY Cord Keeper From Fabric Scraps by Leafy Treetop’s Made by Me & Shared with You
There’s so many cords to keep track of these days. There’s chargers (for your computer and your phone), USB cords, cables for an external hard drive, printer cables, Ethernet cables, and many more. What an easy way to keep your cords/cables from becoming one big tangled mess!
11. Make Your Guy A Credit Card Wallet by So Sew Easy
Between credit cards, debit cards, ID cards, and student cards, it can be hard to keep track of all of them – they inevitably end up crammed into a busy drawer. Keep that from happening by making a college student a cute card wallet like this.
12. DIY Leather Passport Holder by Lovely Indeed
Is your college student planning to study abroad? Consider making them a cute passport holder so they’ll never lose their passport while traveling.
13. DIY Tutorial – Drawstring Travel Bag by Sew DIY
These little travel bags are perfect for carrying just about anything.
14. The Sewplicity Quilted Duffle Bag by Sewplicity
Instead of purchasing an over-priced duffle bag, make one with this simple pattern!
15. Easy Tote Bag Tutorial by Crazy Little Projects
This tote is perfect for carrying books, pens, pencils, tablet, or laptop to class.
16. Kindle Cover Tutorial by Clover & Violet
Show a Kindle or tablet some love by making this cute little cover to protect them.
17. Quilted iPad Mini Pouch Tutorial by Sew Caroline
18. DIY Laptop Sleeve Clutch Sewing Pattern by Polka Dot Chair
19. Laptop Bag Pattern by Crazy Little Projects
Sometimes a backpack is just not necessary for lecture – sometimes all you need is a laptop and maybe a pen or pencil. This bag is perfect for those days.
20. On The Go Organizers by PROBABLYACTUALLY
These cute little organizers could hold a day planner, note pad, calculator, or writing utensils for class.
21. Colorful Circle Cork Boards to Organize Your Home Office or Dorm by Trashy Crafter
Instead of buying a wall calendar that takes up a lot of space, try these cute little cork boards to pin reminders, important dates and assignments.
22. Washi Note Pad by Commona My House
A quick, easy and cheap way to personalize legal pads.
23. DIY Custom Washi Pens by This Girl’s Life Blog
Take it one step further and personalize pens by using washi tape in pretty patterns and colors.
24. DIY Fabric Scrap Magnet Tutorial by Andrea’s Notebook
These are adorable and could be used on a mini fridge to leave notes and reminders.
25. DIY Padded Camera Lens Case Sewing Tutorial by Polka Dot Chair
Art or photography major? Or just planning to take a lot of photos with a DSLR camera? Make some cute lens cases to replace your old ones.
26. Camera Accessory Clip by Shey B
This is a perfect little accessory clip for carrying extra SD cards and lens caps.
27. Hidden Pocket Scarf DIY by The Sewing Rabbit
A hidden pocket that could carry a phone, wallet, money, lip balm, etc.
28. $2 DIY Infinity Scarf in 10 Minutes by Pennies Into Pearls
Make a couple of infinity scarves in a variety of colors.
29. DIY Scarf Hanger by Skip To My Lou
This is perfect for those tiny dorm room closets. Keep all of your scarves in one place.
30. Maxx Gloss Dorm Room Ironing Board by A Little Craft In Your Day
Old or worn folding tables can be bought at thrift stores for cheap (I picked up 2 for $5/each a couple of months back) and spray painted. Use this tutorial to make a small ironing board that’s perfect for small dorms and apartments.
31. Study Pillow Sewing Pattern by Polka Dot Chair
Store a book, notepad, pens until you need them, and then use the pillow to prop up and study.
32. How to Sew a Pillowcase by Made Everyday
You totally don’t have to pay money for those cute packs of pillowcases. Pick out some pretty fabric and make your own.
33. Giant Body Pillow Sewing pattern with pocket by Polka Dot Chair
It’s my firm belief that every college student needs a body pillow. Not only do they make dorm beds a lot more comfortable, but like this one, they have multiple uses. I love the small pocket in this pattern.
34. How to Sew a Word Applique Throw Pillow by Back to Her Roots
As this tutorial shows, it’s so easy to add a cute appliqué to a simple pillow. This is a great way to add some character to a dorm room.
35. Easy DIY hello pillow tutorial by The Shabby Creek Cottage
36. Beside Pockets Organizer – free sewing tutorial by Sew Can She
Beside organizers are great for lofted dorm beds. Instead of climbing down every time you need something, imagine being able to store your most used items (like iPod, phone, chargers, pens, etc.) in this.
37. Memory Pillow sewing pattern by Polka Dot Chair
Pick a favorite photo of family, friends, or pets and make a memory pillow like this.
38. Pretty Camera Strap Covers by Sew Can She
39. Woven Rug DIY by A Beautiful Mess
40. Holder for Charging Cell Phone (made from lotion bottle) by Make It & Love It
41. DIY Closet Organizer by Craft A Doodle Doo
42. Faux Nail Head Trimmed Cork Board by Two Twenty One
43. Snappy Manicure Wallet – free pattern by Noodlehead
44. Printable Laundry Tips Laminated Flip Book by TidyMom.net
Make sure the college student in your life doesn’t end up with pink socks or those ugly bleach spots by including a small step-by-step guide for doing laundry. Pair it with a new laundry basket, a small bottle of detergent and a few towels and washcloths for the ultimate gift.
45. DIY Sisal Ottoman From a Milk Crate! by Dwelling In Happiness
This is probably one of my favorite projects to DIY for a dorm. All you need is a milk crate, some rope, fabric and a few other supplies to make a cute storage ottoman. What a great way to store extra blankets, shelf-stable snacks, or small appliances when they’re not in use.
46. Flat Iron Case ~ Tutorial by Rebecca Mae Designs
One of the hardest parts of college (for me) was traveling back and forth. Imagine trying to fit all of the essentials you might need for a weekend visit home into one duffle bag. My flat iron often ended up getting crushed beneath a huge pile of clothes or books. This case not only makes it easier to keep track of your flat iron in a dorm, but also makes traveling with it much easier.
47. Simple Checkbook Cover Tutorial by Sherri Noel Design
While I mostly used debit cards and cash in college, I was told by wiser family members to carry a check book for emergencies, in case I ever found myself in a situation where my debit card wasn’t working or I didn’t have any cash. This is a great way to carry a checkbook without making it noticeable, and it would also fit well in a small purse.
48. How to Make a Reversible Duvet Cover by Tidbits
Instead of shelling out for duvet covers to match your dorm bedding, why not pick out some pretty, soft fabric and make your own? Tidbits provides a detailed tutorial for making a reversible duvet cover.
49. French Mattress Edge Floor Cushions @ Sew4Home
Floor cushions are an excellent way to maximize under utilized space in dorm rooms. Imagine placing these under a lofted dorm bed. They’re great for sitting/lying on the floor when you need extra flat space for projects or studying. They would be nice for Netflix marathons, too.
50. DIY Handmade Rag Rug Tutorial by Everyday Art