Last week, we resurfaced “Top Ten Dorm Room Hacks,” an updated post from a few years back of some great connected home, lighting, and furniture projects that would be perfect for maker-minded students living in dorms (or off-campus housing). We got a great response to that piece so we thought we’d have another look through the stacks for more domestic projects that might be applicable to those beginning or returning to college living.

Fashion a Swanky Convertible Table

converTabletableVersatility in a dorm space is key and this “Ikea hack” is a really easy and smart way to have a coffee/floor table that can convert into a regular dining table. The person who made it used Ikea’s “Vika Amon” tabletop, folding trestle legs she got at a hardware store, and some curtain rods fastened underneath to contain the traveling top of the trestle legs. Link: DIY Convertible Table.

Make a “Flying” Night Stand

bunkbednightstandWith a wooden tray, a few short lengths of 2×4, and some storage hooks, you can make this night tray that can hang onto the edge of a bunk bed or anything else with a railing for attaching it to. Link: Bunk Bed Night Stand.

Build a Clothes Folding Board

Screen-Shot-2015-04-16-at-2.43.34-PMOK, so maybe it’s wishful thinking to expect college students to actually fold their clothes. But for the fastidious among you, here’s a great 1+2+3 from the pages of Make:. All you need is some box cardboard and duct tape. Once you’ve made one of these and seen what a great job they do (and how much space well-folded clothes can save), you might actually continue folding your laundry. OK, never mind. It’s time to go play on the tabletop video arcade in the common space (see below). Link: 1+2+3 Clothes Folding Board.

Make an Alert Center Out of a Lamp

lamp_ikea_arduinoThis Ikea hack that I posted last week uses a Spark Core WiFi board (an Arduino compatible microcontroller with built-in WiFi), an LED light strip, and an Ikea Lampan to create a media alert system. It uses different colors to indicate incoming messages from different services. This could easily be programmed to serve the needs of a dorm suite or group house, alerting residents to class times, meals, events, or anything else the group would want to be alerted to. Link: Get Media Alerts from Your Lamp with this Ikea Hack.

Turn Mason Jars into LED Tiki Torch Lights

torch1-620x413These Tiki torches made out of Mason jars would make such cool ambient lighting in a dorm space. The lights are not that hard to put together, but they do each require a Gema microcontroller, a length of NeoPixel LED, and some other support electronics, so they’re not cheap. But a couple of these would be really fun to have around. And because they can be addressed to any color, you can change them to fit mood or occasion. Link: Mason Jar LED Tiki Torches.

Make a Hammock Chair

abeautifulmess_hammock_chair_01Here’s a fairly simple design for a canvas hammock chair. A hammock chair is a very fun and funky piece of furniture to hang in an active space. “Hang” might be the deal-breaker here for an on-campus dorm, but there may be circumstances that allow for this type of thing. All you need for this build is a wooden dowel, some braided rope, canvas material to make the seat, and the appropriate hanging hardware. Link: How-to: DIY Hammock Chair.

3D Print Death Star Speaker Enclosure

deathStarSpeaksThese Death Star speaker enclosures, which we also included in our recent Star Wars projects megapost, are so snazzy looking that I want a pair. They would certainly be a great conversation piece among your dorm mates, friends, and guests. Link: 3D Printable Death Star Speaker Enclosures.

Build a Tabletop Video Arcade

barTopArcadeWhat better thing to bring to school than a homemade tabletop video arcade machine? This is also a great way to repurpose an old PC that’s lying around and not doing anyone any favors. This isn’t an easy build, but if you’re showing up at college to study engineering, computer science, etc, what better way of showing off your impressive Tech Fu than a rig like this? Link: Bartop Video Arcade.

Make a Hands-free Sriracha Sauce Dispenser


This discovery of Make:’s Caleb Kraft, that you can use a hands-free soap dispenser as a Sriracha dispenser, is really a work in progress. He found it to work like a charm, but had concerns over the food-grade status of the tubing that delivered the liquid in the device. If you decide to try this, you’d want to try and determine this for food safety reasons (or maybe just replace the tubing with food-grade to be on the safe side). Wait, it’s Sriracha. That stuff will burn the life out of anything! :-) Link: Easiest Hands-Free Sriracha Dispenser.

3D Print Common Kitchen Tools

saltpigFor those of you who have a kitchen in a dorm suite or group house, here’s a handy collection of 3D printable common kitchen utensils, including a garlic press, a spaghetti measure, a cheese slicer, and last but not least, salt and pepper pigs (seen here). Link: 3D Printing Around the Kitchen.

Don’t forget to check out the initial article, Top Ten Dorm Room Hacks, for more great ideas for DIYing your dorm experience.