14 DIY Graduation Cap Decorating Ideas

14 DIY Graduation Cap Decorating Ideas

You’re done with homework and passed your last test, but there’s one extra credit project you won’t want to turn down—decorating your grad cap. Whether it’s heartfelt or humorous, a grad cap design is like making your mark on the pomp and circumstance. If graduation has got you feeling ready for the next big thing or sentimental about what you're leaving behind, you’ll find your perfect fit in our gallery of DIY graduation cap decorating ideas. When you're ready, shop all DIY graduation caps.

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Graduation stickers

Graduation Cap Decorating Materials:

  • Your grad cap (duh)
  • Glue gun
  • Scrapbook paper
  • Paint pens
  • Stickers (letters or cute icons!)
  • Ribbon and washi tapes
  • Fake flowers

You can also use photo booth props (just remove the sticks) or cutouts to create an easy and cute design with a professional look.

How to decorate a graduation cap: tips and tricks

We know you'll stand out from the sea of polyester robes with a grad cap glammed out with a favorite quote or personalized design! We also know decorating your grad cap can be pretty intimidating. Not only is your entire school (and your Instagram) going to see your design, but it's also a keepsake you'll treasure forever! The stakes feel pretty high. Here's what to consider before you decorate:

  1. Pick up your cap ASAP so you have lots of time to plan your design and decorate.
  2. Before you DIY, figure out which way is up! Your grad cap has a front and a back. You don’t want to go crazy with the hot glue only to find you pasted everything on the wrong way! The front should have a slight taper at the forehead, and look for the elastic band that “bunches” at the back.
  3. Remove your tassel before you decorate and keep it somewhere safe. As soon as your cap is complete, put the tassel back on so you're not searching for it the day of the ceremony.
  4. Create a “rough draft" cap. Place a large sheet of white paper over your cap and use a pencil to measure your cap size. Cut the paper so you can sketch out your design and make sure it looks perfect before you create your real cap.

DIY Graduation Cap Ideas

It's time to get creative! Take your time deciding on a grad cap design. One popular choice is to write out a special message or quote that relates to graduation, the future, or your life until now. Research quotes from your favorite books, TV shows and movies to get inspiration. You can also choose a grad cap design relating to your intended college major or shiny new degree. (Our fave for new teachers: “Made it to the top…now back to Kindergarten”)

Still stuck? We've got a few ideas...

Adhesive graduation patches

Easy DIY trend: adhesive graduation cap patches

These patches are the perfect starting point for your DIY graduation cap. They feature adhesive backing, which means you don't even need an iron to stick these to your gown or cap. Adhere the patch at the center of your cap design, then hot glue faux flowers, rhinestones or buttons to make it you-nique.

DIY grad cap decorated with duct tape

For the grad who doubled majored in duct tape engineering

As the saying goes, duct tape fixes everything—even when you’re stumped on a unique grad cap design. This creative take on duct tape and foam letters earns you a master in duct tape engineering—the perfect complement to your degree! Create a compass rose with duct tape by folding square pieces of duct tape into a triangle; keep layering the pieces until it forms a rose. Use silver duct tape to create the points of a compass. Add foam letter cutouts for the compass directions and spelling out the phrase, “Embrace the journey.”

Blue and purple striped grad cap with graduation cutouts

Make a creative and colorful DIY grad cap

The tassel was worth the hassle, so make sure to show it off! Create duck tape stripes on the top of the cap in your fave colors (or school colors!), then add a couple colorful mortarboard cutouts. Give the cap an A+ finish with a funny headline and cool pattern made of glitzy rhinestones.

White grad cap decorated with Frozen stickers

Melt her heart with a DIY Frozen graduation cap!

Let your grade-school graduate (or Disney mega-fan) get in on the cap-decorating fun with a white mortarboard, Frozen stickers and rhinestones. Make a frosty border with silver tape and have your Frozen fashionista write in her own name and grade with a cool-as-ice glitter pen. Graduating is *snow* much fun! Shop all Frozen party supplies.

DIY Graduation Cap Kits

These are what we call "DIY-lite." These sticker sets are an easy way to personalize your cap without having to gather all of the pieces at your local craft store. Feel free to "plus up" these kits with your own special touches!

Young man wearing grad cap reading "Genius in the family"

For a grad well acquainted with the periodic table

Nothing like a little science humor to celebrate your nerdy side at graduation! This grad cap kit contains foam stickers of glasses and text you can easily apply to your cap. This clever design uses elements from the periodic table to spell out GeNiUS—also known as Germanium, Nickel, Uranium and Sulfur. This grad cap is perfect for those who majored in Chemistry, Physics or other sciences.

Grad cap decorated with "It's time to get hired!" text

For the grad ready for the next big thing

Sure, graduation is a milestone, but you’re more excited about using your brand-spanking new diploma as a launch pad for what’s beyond the horizon. Let others know you’re ready for the next big thing with a grad cap idea that says “it’s time to get hired!” Pair it with a gold dollar sign necklace so it’s clear what you’re set on—money, money, money!

Grad cap decorated with "Thanks Mom, Dad and Coffee"

For the grad who had cram session hustle

You got smarts, but you know to give credit where credit is due: mom, dad and coffee. Especially coffee. It powered you through the numerous cram study sessions and finals week every semester, so it’s only makes sense that you give it a shout out on graduation with this easy grad cap design. Use letter foam cutouts to spell out “thanks mom, dad and coffee,” then add other funny cutouts—coffee beans, coffee drink and donut—to drive the point home.

Blue grad cap decorated with Greek letters and foil butterflies

For the Greek-life graduate

It’s clear that on graduation day, you’ll receive more than a diploma—you’ll have the friendships of your sorority sisters who have been with you through the thick and thin of college life. They gave you wings to fly, which makes for the perfect shout out to your soul sisters on your grad cap: spell out your sorority with silver-lined letter cutouts and add a couple of butterflies from a party decorating kit. Top it off with a silver ribbon.

Easy Grad Cap Toppers

For the less artistically inclined, cap toppers are an easy way to add flair to your cap. These are also a great choice for graduates renting their grad cap—just check with your school to make sure it's allowed!

Young woman wearing rainbow grad cap reading "Be bold, be brave, be you!"

For the graduate filled with pride!

Don't be afraid to show off your true colors! This grad cap is all about boldly celebrating who you are, along with the friends and family who love and support you. Stand out from the crowd of simple black graduation caps with this rainbow striped grad cap topper. Be bold. Be brave. Be YOU!

Grad cap decorated with "Goal Digger" in gold

For the graduate ready to slay

No doubt about it—you’ve slayed some serious #goals and you’re getting the diploma to prove it. A “Goal Digger” grad cap design is a clever way to show how you got to graduation day—and that you have what it takes to go beyond.

Grad cap decorated with "Game of Loans"

For the grad who aced binge watching

It’s OK to admit that you spent more time binge watching than studying. Take what you learned from your favorite TV series as inspiration for a grad cap idea: a foam cutout that says “Game of Loans” offers a lighthearted approach to heavy student loans. After all, when it comes to debts, Lannisters—err, students—always pay.

Graduation cap decorated with "Be one of a kind" and a unicorn head silhouette

For the grad who runs with unicorns

You’re a believer in dreams… and unicorns! For the one-of-a-kind grad, a unicorn grad cap is the perfect fit. Reflective paper embossed with “one of a kind” sets this grad cap design apart from the herd. Add a couple of stars and rainbows—you know, the stuff of dreams—and just like that, you’re ready to shine!

Young woman wearing graduation cap that reads "She's on her way!"

For the graduate ready to blossom

No matter where you go, you bloom where you’re planted. That’s why this grad cap idea is a perfect fit. You’ve grown in ways you’ve never expected, and the “She’s on her way!” grad cap embraces that spirit. Make sure to strike the perfect pose that says you’re ready to slay.

For the grad with major wanderlust

Graduation day proves you’ve always dreamed big, and that same spirit makes you prone to wanderlust. This grad cap idea “the best is yet to come” embraces your inner adventurer, making this grad cap your perfect fit yet.

Now that you've studied up and shopped for an A+ grad cap design, it's time to plan your graduation party! Not sure where to start? Explore all graduation party supplies.

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