Quick, Cheap DIY Projects for the Broke, College Kid

By Darice Chavira

In a post-Pinterest society, homemade, crafty decor can make or break an apartment living room, while also successfully emptying a pocketbook. ORANGE editor Darice Chavira has compiled a list of easy, affordable DIY projects that will bring some creativity into your life without leaving you broke — or worse, with a boring living space.

Note from the Editor: Click on the photos to enlarge.

CD vase project

CD Vases

Supplies needed:

  • glass jars
  • some old CDs
  • hot glue
  • an old newspaper or magazine
  • scissors

Author’s note: To save money, I reused a jar of maraschino cherries and salad dressing I found in my fridge, but any glass jar you can get your hands on will work for this project. Use your imagination!

1. Lie out a newspaper or magazine in your workspace.

2. Use your scissors to cut the CD into a variety of pieces of different shapes and sizes (As I began to cut, the paper from the CD started to create tiny shavings so using the magazine as a placemat really came in handy! Both jars I used for this project required two CDs to be cut.)

3. Once you’ve cut both CDs begin to hot glue the pieces to the jar.

4 & 5. All finished! Once you’ve completed both jars feel free to put in any object(s) you desire.

Author’s note: I decided on some artificial flowers for both jars. Your new vases can be put on your desk, a coffee table, a windowsill, etc. The possibilities are endless! This project didn’t cost a penny to make and took about 30 minutes to complete.

Coffee table centerpiece

Coffee Table Centerpiece

Supplies needed:

  • a frame
  • scrapbook paper

Author’s Note: I bought this frame and scrapbook paper at Hobby Lobby for less than $15. Scrapbook paper at Hobby Lobby varies from 49-99 cents and there are so many prints to choose from!

1. Take out the back part of the frame.

2. Insert the scrapbook paper.

Author’s Note: Simple as that, you now have a new centerpiece. I don’t think it can get any easier than that! Add any object(s) of your choice to dress up the décor in your living space.

Instagram Wall Canvas

Instagram Wall Canvas

Supplies needed:

  • 12×12 canvas
  • Instagram photos
  • gloss Mod Podge
  • paintbrush.

Author’s Note: I used a variety of sizes: 4×4 for larger prints and 4×2.5 for the smaller prints. I decided to use photos that shared a common theme — in this case, Austin and UT (Hook’em!). I bought this canvas for $6.99 and the Mod Podge for $4.99 at Hobby Lobby.

1. Arrange your photos on the canvas.

2. Experiment with placement until you’re happy!

3. Paste the photos to your canvas with Mod Podge (I found it easier to start in the corners and work my way in). Apply an extra coat of Mod Podge over your photos if needed.

4. Let it dry completely and display your canvas in your dorm or apartment!

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