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Too Cool for School: Unique Dorm Room Bulletin or Memory Boards

written by: ccrzadkiewicz•edited by: Wendy Finn•updated: 12/8/2011

Instead of buying ordinary cork bulletin boards, college students can create their own cool dorm room bulletin boards that will make personal statements about who they really are. Moreover, students can make these dorm room bulletin boards using only a few affordable items that are easy to find.

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    Make it Individual

    When the new school year rolls around and students move into dorm rooms at colleges around the globe, they want to turn these rooms into their very own private spaces, even if that space is being shared with another person. They also want all the comforts of home, including not only a place to sit, a place to sleep, and a place to study, but also a place to put reminders, important dates, photos of friends and family, and perhaps cute, funny, or inspirational quotes. For this latter purpose, of course most students choose dorm bulletin boards or, as they’re known in some circles, memory boards.

    When it comes to bulletin boards, however, what some students don’t seem to realize is that they don’t have to settle for plain old prefabricated cork bulletin boards that just hang there on the wall looking “blah," not when they can make their own unique bulletin boards that will demonstrate their creativity and make a personal statement about who they really are to everyone who enters their room, even if their “room" is only half a room. Moreover, students can make their own bulletin boards for less than they’d pay for those plain cork bulletin boards that are mass-produced and, therefore, quite ordinary and rather unexceptional, regardless of what students thumbtack on them.

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    Picture (Frame) This!

    In order to make a bulletin board using a picture frame, all you will need are the following three items, which are reasonably priced at discount stores like Wal-Mart, Kmart, Target, or Family Dollar, but don’t forget to check out your local Goodwill:

    • A large wooden frame with a stiff cardboard backing: A good size is anywhere from 25 by 27 inches and up, and also look at framed pictures since the pictures can be removed.
    • Enough material to cover the cardboard: Any material will work for the matting but felt works especially well, although you could use a towel as long as it’s large enough.
    • A bottle or tube of glue.

    Note: You might want to checkout your parents’ or your grandparents’ attics or basements since they might have some beautiful old pictures frames tucked away gathering dust and just waiting for you to find them, dust them off, and put them to use as a dorm room decoration.

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    How Do I Do It?

    Here is how to make a bulletin board from a picture frame:

    1. Remove the cardboard from the frame, or if you bought a framed picture, remove the cardboard and the picture.
    2. Place the cardboard facedown on the selected material.
    3. Cut the material all around, approximately two inches from the edges of the cardboard.
    4. Put glue around the edges of the cardboard, covering only the area where the material will overlap.
    5. Pull the extra material snuggly over at the top, bottom, and sides of the backing, making it as tight as possible and pressing it down firmly onto the glue.
    6. Allow the glue to set.
    7. Place the covered cardboard back in the frame.

    If you want to create a bulletin board that really makes a statement and/or catches everyone’s eye, consider adding some of the following touches:

    • For girls, glue an artificial flower in each corner of the bulletin board; for example, you might use sunny yellow daisies with gold matting, red roses with pink matting, or purple hyacinths with lavender matting.
    • For boys, using a strong adhesive like Super Glue, attach an action figure, small model car, or other plastic item to each corner of the bulletin board, color coordinating the items with the matting.
    • For boys and girls, glue photos of singers, bands, or movie stars to each corner of the board or perhaps the inside wrappers from four favorite CDs. Then again, you could also use photos of family members, friends, or even pets.

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    Or Try This Corking Idea

    Another option for creating cool dorm room bulletin boards is using cork tiles with adhesive backing. They can usually be found at building supply stores like Home Depot or Lowes, although you might also checkout local chain discount stores and comparison shop.

    Obviously, making this type of bulletin board is quite simple since all have to do is peel off the backing and stick the tiles to the wall, either forming a square, a triangle, a rectangle, or some other pattern. Then again, before you opt for this type of bulletin board, you probably should check dorm regulations because some colleges might not allow students to put anything on walls that is considered a “permanent" modification, and once cork tiles are in place, they are not that easily removed, at least not without risk of damaging the paint or even the walls.

    In summary, why settle for plain dorm bulletin boards that just hang there on the wall looking “blah"? You don’t have to, not when you can create really cool boards that make personal statements, and do so with minimal expense. All it takes is a little time and imagination.