DIY Back To School Gift Idea For Kids, Teens & Adults: Handmade Dorm Room Bedding Quilts

Even though it is the middle of summer, those quilters with recent high school graduates may be preparing to move children or grandchildren into a college dorm for the first time. One of the best ways to send your kids away from home is with a touch of home – a quilt made by you.

Most dorms provide beds, but students need to supply their own sheet sets and bed coverings. Sometimes, students like to coordinate their bed spreads or comforters with their roommates for a unified look in their room. Others prefer to maintain their individuality. Regardless of what the student in your life prefers, he or she can certainly use a quilt in the dorm!

You can make any type of quilt you’d like, but if you gear it toward the student’s likes, it will be a sure hit. Use the quilt block of your choice, but select a color scheme that the student loves. Try to incorporate novelty prints that feature your student’s favorite things.

A blue jean quilt would stand up to heavy use.

T-shirt quilts are also popular choices for students going away to college. Their old graphic tees, turned into a quilt, keeps some of their favorite memories right there with them. Or, use old blue jeans to make a tough quilt that can withstand whatever wear college might bring. Remember, in most dorms, students use their beds as a couch and as a study center as well as for sleeping. Piece together some denim squares with the seams toward the front to make a rag quilt.

Photos will remind the student of home.

To keep family close to heart, make a photo quilt for your college student to carry to the dorm. Ask friends to loan you some of their favorite pics with your student. Transfer them to fabric quilt blocks with transfer paper or by using your favorite method of printing directly to fabric. Then, piece the blocks together. If you have a lot of pics, try transferring them to one large white or neutral colored piece of fabric (they’ll show up better) and make a whole cloth quilt collage. You can tie the quilt, or quilt it using your favorite stitching pattern. Even simple lines look great!

If the student you are sending off to college likes quilting, too, enlist some help from him or her. The extra time spent with you sharing your love for quilting is a priceless memory that will always be attached to the quilt you made together. For more fun, invite friends to join you and turn it into a quilting party. It’s a great send off for your college student and his/her friends!

One thing to keep in mind when quilting for the dorm – wall hangings may not be the best idea. Most schools have regulations about how things may be hung on walls. Don’t expect to be able to use mounting hardware or even simple nails on dorm walls. If you simply must make a wall quilt, make sure it is light weight enough to hang with removable adhesive hooks (if your school will allow even that).

College is a big move, especially for students who are moving onto campus. Many of these students have never been away from home for an extended period of time until now. The quilt you make will definitely provide comforting warmth and comforting memories for the student for which you quilt. Quilting just may help you, too. A little quilting therapy can help clear your mind while you deal with empty nest syndrome. It is hard to say goodbye to a child when you move them into a dorm. But when you send them with a quilt, it’s like a little bit of yourself stays too.

By Penny Halgren of

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