All you need is a rainbow blast of Sharpies, white ceramic tiles, rubbing alcohol in a spray bottle, and most importantly, a whole lot of imagination.

Depending on how many people a residential assistant (RA) is responsible for, you can grab four by four tiles at Home Depot for less than a dollar each. The closest hardware store to you can also be beneficial! While you’re out, you can purchase a pack of Sharpies with any colors you think your residents would use. Those can be found at any Walmart or Staples. Being the more expensive part of this project, you can always opt out for Sharpies and purchase any pack of permanent markers. The last two materials you need are the rubbing alcohol and spray bottle, which can both be found at Walmart for under $2.

Now that you’ve settled back into your hall, it’s time to test out your craft! First, fill the spray bottle with your rubbing alcohol and make sure the top is screwed on tightly. Secondly, take your tile and create any desired art with the permanent markers. Reminder: It doesn’t have to be perfect! The colors will spread out in a minute. After you’ve finished your drawing, take your tile in one hand and your spray bottle in the other. Hold your tile about four to six inches away from your bottle and spray the alcohol. One to two sprays should be enough for the colors to start spreading, but you can do more sprays if you’d like.

The rubbing alcohol acts as a repellent to the chemicals in the permanent markers, creating a bubbling, and spreading effect once the two come in contact. After about an hour, your art should be dried and you can appreciate your newly crafted decor.

Now that the tiles are covered in an array of reds, oranges, greens, blues and purples, they can be used in a variety of ways. Often, people will use them as coasters or even decorate a ton and put them on their walls. In a dorm, a coaster is probably the best bet, but students can always make them for other people as gifts!

During COVID-19, RAs may have a difficult time organizing a social like this for their residents, but this one is designed to adhere to COVID-19 health guidelines. RA’s can put the tiles on a communal table for people to take throughout the hours of their social. After the markers and spray bottle are returned, they are sanitized for the next people.

Sometimes it is difficult to curate activities for residents because they’re so quickly shifting into young adults and may not enjoy everything offered. It’s easy to imagine how discouraging it is when residents don’t show up to something their RAs went out of their way to make happen. With this project, however, the turnout will be promising.

Handler Hall at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) hosted this project last week to encourage some artistic and calming creativity. Madison Crocker, RA in Handler, said 11 people from different floors made their way to her activity, designing up to two tiles each.

Don’t let COVID-19 discourage communal activities that can be instructed into something safe and adherent to COVID-19 guidelines. RAs at UNH can use this craft as a simple way to keep their residents content and healthy.