How to decorate cap?

Table of Contents

Post Views: 44,468

Graduation is right around the corner. With it comes the excitement and apprehension of entering the Real World for the first time, and the sadness of leaving the college where you spent the last four years. And then, of course, there’s the stress of preparing for graduation itself. It’s time to get all the wrinkles out of the gown and find the perfect decorations for your graduation cap.

The graduation cap represents the four years you spent going to classes to complete a major you loved — and, of course, all the nights you won’t remember with friends you won’t forget. Naturally, you’ll want it to look nice, but making the perfect graduation cap is not always as easy as it sounds. Here are the do’s and don’ts for having the best graduation cap on campus.

DO: Make Your Decoration Meaningful

Your graduation cap represents the goals you have been working towards for the past four years of your life. You’ve worked incredibly hard for the moment that you walk across the stage in that cap.

The last thing any graduate wants to do — besides trip and fall as they’re walking across the stage in front of their entire graduating class, of course — is have a decorated cap without any meaning. Make your cap something you can be proud of and that you will have framed next to your diploma.

For instance, a meaningful cap is decorated with symbols of your major or athletic team or an inspirational quote that has personal significance. You should not put a meme or something temporary that will not resonate with the same emotion when you look at you college graduation cap five years from now.

Even the smallest decoration will help you stick out amongst the crowd of graduates. No cap should be left bare of any decoration or embellishment.

You might also like:

A perfect example (Image via Pinterest)

DON’T: Pick the First One You See

In order to find inspiration for the perfect graduation cap, many students take to the internet to search for ideas. “Graduation caps” along with a theme such as “girly,” “inspirational” or “soccer” get typed in the Google search bar. Thousands of image hits appear on the screen to inspire any student looking for ideas.

If you’re stuck for ideas, it’s perfectly fine to look for some on the Internet, but don’t just pick the first images that you come across.

Every student looking for help designing their cap will use the first popular images they find. Therefore, if you choose the first thing that popped up on Google, you’re most likely going to meet at least a dozen people on your campus who settled for the exact same thing.

Keep looking until you find one that will set you apart from all the other graduates. In addition, don’t be afraid to be original. Even if you do take an idea from the Internet, don’t just copy that image; put a unique spin on the original design to make it your own.

DO: Secure Everything

There are a hundred tools at your disposal for decorating your cap. You might want to use sparkly paper, flowers, stickers, glitter, photos or any combination of those things. But whatever you do decide to use, make sure that everything is secured.

Use hot glue to ensure that your decorations stay on during the ceremony. It would be unfortunate if half of the decorations you slaved over fell off on your way across the stage.

Also, before you decorate your graduation cap, make sure you’ve tried it on first. Remember: the pointed end is supposed to go towards the front. You want your graduation cap to be visible to the people who stand around you and so your family can see you from the stands.

However, make sure it is facing the right way. You don’t want to glue everything down only to realize that the cap is sideways.

DON’T: Go Over the Top

When it comes to graduation cap decorations, simple and classic are the way to go. Some people will go out of their way to glue on a hundred individual gems between a dozen different colored ribbons and then drown the entire thing in glitter.

It takes several hours and you need tweezers to glue everything on perfectly. While you might have a specific idea in mind, it is easier and less time consuming to buy pre-glued strips of gems.

When it comes to decorating the graduation cap, everyone will have their own perfect idea of what they want their cap to look like. More often than not, however, the vision in your head won’t exactly correlate to what you’ll ultimately wear to graduation.

Sometimes we set our sights too high and we are disappointed when the end result is not exactly what we pictured. Set your sights a little lower and keep your expectations realistic; most likely, you will rise above your own standard.

DO: Thank the People Who Helped You Get Here

As an example, my graduation cap has the words “We Believe That Now’s The Time” on it, which comes from the first line of my school’s rugby chant. It is both meaningful to me and my team; in addition, those words give me inspiration to seize every moment because the time is now. Without them, I would not have stayed at my school and would have transferred home.

Nobody got to this point all on their own. Maybe you needed your friends to keep you from going insane during the crunch before finals week; maybe your family helped you see the finish line on the nights when you thought you could not make it to this day.

Or perhaps you had that one professor who pushed you to be the best student that you could be. You completed all of the strenuous school work, such as writing an English essay, but your support system helped you complete the four years of undergrad. If you don’t thank them in a “thanks mom & dad” on you cap, thank them in person for everything they do.

Or you could also thank other things that got you through the years (Image via Pinterest)

DON’T: Wait Until the Last Minute

Your graduation cap deserves to have enough time and attention to make it something special. If you wait until the last minute to start it, you’ll most likely find yourself scrambling to make sure all the decorations dry in time; naturally, this is a great way to ensure that something will fall off during the ceremony.

If you don’t have time to start decorating the cap, at least get a head start on your decorating by buying all your supplies beforehand. That way, when you do start working on your graduating cap, you can at least skip the step where you have to wait in line at the local craft store.

Of course, you’ll only wear your graduation cap for a few hours at most; when you consider that you might spend more time decorating the cap than you’ll spend wearing, the whole process might seem a bit silly.

However, you are dressing up for the most expensive piece of paper you will ever receive. You might as well decorate the cap so you can celebrate your accomplishments. And if you decide to throw your cap at the end of the ceremony, remember to take the tassel off first. There’s a good chance you will lose it in the throw.

Throwing your graduation cap up in the air is like your final salute to high school, so if your school allows you to decorate your cap, that just makes the moment even more powerful. Unsure of what direction to go in for your grad cap art? Lucky for you, I’ve rounded up some of the most creative and hilarious grad caps from Instagram. Whether you love music, movies, politics, or art, we’ve got you covered!

1. For the Ari stan

View this post on Instagram

I see it, I like it, I want it, I got it 👏🏽🎓💅🏽 New freestyle grad cap featuring queen @arianagrande 💕😍 This design is no longer available.

A post shared by Bria Paints (@briapaints) on Apr 4, 2019 at 10:51am PDT

“Thank u, next, high school!”

2. For the pun (and guac) lover

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Fierce by mitú (@fiercebymitu) on Apr 2, 2019 at 10:00am PDT

Grind it, girl!

3. For the educated queens

View this post on Instagram

Throwback to my favorite cap that I designed! 😍

A post shared by The Custom Goods ✨ (@thecustomgoods) on Apr 11, 2019 at 8:08am PDT

AKA, all of us.

What you need: Artificial flowers, $14,

4. For the Grown-ish fan

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Mickey Yant (@mickeyyant) on Mar 28, 2019 at 6:26pm PDT

WWZD—What would Zoey do?

5. For the grad who’s going to change the world

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Anna Hull ( on Apr 11, 2019 at 4:22am PDT

You’ve got this!

6. For the grad dedicating their big day to someone special

You couldn’t have done it without their support.

7. For the grad in the Bardigang

View this post on Instagram

#GradCapFreestyle: B*tch I’m a grad!🐄🎓 This design is no longer available.

A post shared by Bria Paints (@briapaints) on Dec 2, 2018 at 2:24pm PST

It’s time for you to make those money moves!

8. For the animal lover

View this post on Instagram

I got my cap and gown today and couldn’t wait to decorate. 1 month and 1 week until I graduate! 🎓🐶💜🐾

A post shared by Space Cat 😺🚀 (@spacecatsam) on Apr 10, 2019 at 4:50pm PDT

Who doesn’t love a good pun?

9. For the future doctor

View this post on Instagram

“EaRNed it” This fun cap was created on a white glitter cardstock with peach florals and some matching paint!

A post shared by Jessica Mascheri (@thelittlethingsbyjess) on Mar 23, 2019 at 8:24am PDT

Your heart rate is going to be WILD on graduation day.

10. For the Game of Thrones-obsessed grad

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Kassandra Camilla Reyes (@camilla_creations) on Apr 11, 2019 at 7:01am PDT

Graduation is coming.

11. For the future politician

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by 𝑨𝒍𝒊 𝑱𝒐𝒚 𝑺𝒑𝒓𝒂𝒏𝒈 | 𝐶𝑎𝑙𝑙𝑖𝑔𝑟𝑎𝑝ℎ𝑦 (@joyfuljourney1) on Apr 24, 2017 at 8:21am PDT

It’s time to change the world.

What you need: Paint Pens, $17,

12. For the Starbucks Gold Member

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Beth Kaufman (@bethkaufman3) on Aug 15, 2017 at 5:14am PDT

AKA, you’re life line in high school.

What you need: Glitter Cardstock, $16,

13. For the Black Panther fan

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by TheHairSurgeon™ (@thehairsurgeon_) on Mar 14, 2018 at 7:29am PDT

This one is epic.

14. For the design student

View this post on Instagram

Finished my graduation cap. 🎓 ✨ #graduation #pantone #gradcapdesign

A post shared by Yenne (@static_yenne) on Jun 7, 2016 at 4:09pm PDT

Simple and sophisticated.

What you need: Rhinestone Sheet, $5,

15. For the future teacher

View this post on Instagram

Cap made for my moms student teacher 🙂 Congrats to all graduates this week! #gradcap #gradcaps #graduation #gradcapdesign #graduationcap

A post shared by Grad Caps by Katie (@gradcaps_bykatie) on Jun 8, 2016 at 2:09pm PDT

…and you’re off to the next adventure!

What you need:Adhesive Glitter Letters, $6,

16. For the meme queen

View this post on Instagram

Same 😂 #spongebob #graduation #graduationcap #gradcap #gradcapideas

A post shared by Graduation Caps of Instagram (@graduation_caps) on Dec 1, 2017 at 2:29pm PST

Because if one more person asks me that question…I’m going to FLIP!

17. For the proud child of immigrants

View this post on Instagram

#GradCaps with a meaning!

A post shared by The Shade Room (@theshaderoom) on May 16, 2016 at 1:20pm PDT

Embrace your incredible heritage.

What you need: Fabric Paint, $16,

18. For the Legally Blonde fan

View this post on Instagram

Follow @kimscustomcaps !!❤️ Iconic. 🎓❤ #gradcap #gradcaps #graduationcap #graduationcaps #ellewoods #whatlikeitshard #graduating #ellewoodsgradcap #graduation

A post shared by Kim’s Custom Crafts (@kimscustomcrafts) on Mar 12, 2017 at 2:52pm PDT

Take on college with the confidence that Elle took on Harvard Law.

19. For the science whiz

View this post on Instagram

#pennstate science, you’re gonna miss me when i’m gone. 🔬 #graduation #graduationcap #science #pun #classof2014

A post shared by Amanda Jade (@amandajadexx) on Apr 28, 2014 at 5:46pm PDT

Puns AND glitter? What could be better?!

What you need: Glitter Powder, $8,

20. For the future art major

View this post on Instagram

Decorated my graduation cap🎓 #classof2016 #graduationcapart #gradcapart #graduation #2016 #art #wediditguys

A post shared by Hayley Stokes (@hayl_stokes) on Jun 5, 2016 at 2:34pm PDT

Get ready to fill it up with color!

21. For the Harry Potter fan

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by kaitlyn (@kaitlynerin7) on May 2, 2016 at 7:06am PDT


What you need: Stick-On Rhinestone Jewels, $7,

22. For the Disney fan

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Joy Princess⚜️ (@disneycutiepie) on Mar 1, 2014 at 9:08pm PST

Get ready for “A Whole New World.”

23. For the grad who loves their dog more than any other human

View this post on Instagram

YALL. my #graduationcap is done! #pearls #shihtzu #collage #craft #dog #dogcollage #utexas #classof2014

A post shared by erica worthy (@ericaworthy) on Mar 24, 2014 at 12:40pm PDT

Because you wouldn’t have gotten through high school without their slobbery kisses.

What you need: Adhesive Pearls, $9,

24. For the person looking for new adventures

View this post on Instagram

IT IS FINISHED #graduationcap #1moreweek #disneypixarup

A post shared by Amy Minton (@aims0323) on Apr 29, 2016 at 6:27pm PDT

Get ready to explore.

What you need: Pom Poms, $3,

25. For the SpongeBob lover

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by @sketches_by_sarah on Jun 24, 2017 at 2:20pm PDT

A classic design.

26. For the grad who can quote the whole Lizzie McGuire movie by heart

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Stephanie Ou (@steponmeou) on Apr 26, 2015 at 6:45am PDT

Have you ever seen such a beautiful cap?

27. For girls who embrace their #BlackGirlMagic

This one makes a statement.

What you need: Colorful Adhesive Gems, $7,

28. For the Swiftie

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Morgan Grace (@morgangrace7) on May 1, 2016 at 4:54pm PDT

Be the “Fearless” grad you know you can be.

29. For the traveler

View this post on Instagram

Simple yet bold Travel Cap #graduationcap #gradcapswag #grad #2016grads

A post shared by Grad Caps by Katie (@gradcaps_bykatie) on May 1, 2016 at 9:37pm PDT

Time to explore the world.

30. For the Friends fan

View this post on Instagram

Dear F•R•I•E•N•D•S, I graduated!! and cue the theme song.. #graduation #graduationcap #friends

A post shared by Deanna Politte (@deanna_politte) on Apr 29, 2016 at 12:24pm PDT

That’s my favorite episode.

Off to college? Check out Seventeen’s special college edition.


Seventeen’s Ultimate Guide to College hits newsstands on May 14. For $5.99, you can grab an issue from Barnes and Noble, Walmart, Hudson News, Walgreens, CVS, Target, grocery stores like Albertsons, Publix, and more.

Follow Carolyn on Instagram.

Carolyn Twersky Assistant Editor Carolyn Twersky is an assistant editor for Seventeen covering celebrities, entertainment, politics, fashion, beauty, and health.

Clearly, you’re not a dummy since you are getting ready to graduate this year, but when it comes to decorating your graduation cap, you have no idea where to start. Don’t worry – we have put together a list of the best tutorial videos for DIY graduation caps that cover all the details. So, all you have to do is follow along and do exactly what these videos say.

If crafts aren’t your expertise, no worries. Shop our collection of pre-made custom grad cap designs today.

“DIY Graduation Cap 3 Ways”

Hands down – our favorite DIY custom graduation cap tutorial is this one! In less than a minute and a half, you’re shown how to design a grad cap in three different ways. The tutorial also tells you the type of materials used to decorate the grad cap. There’s no talking or nonsense in this video; it greats straight to the point and shows you just how easy it is to have a custom grad cap.

“Graduation cap Design Tips and How To Put On”

If there’s one graduation cap tutorial to watch, it’s this one! Eleanour explains the tips to decorating a grad cap, as well as the how to wear your custom grad cap. Some of our favorite decorating grad cap tips from this video include:

  • Know how the cap will sit before you start designing it
  • Design your grad cap on a flat surface first
  • Use a pencil to start creating your graduation cap
  • You don’t have to cut out a circle for the tassel button

“Decorating My Grad Cap + Vlog”

We really like this grad cap tutorial because it’s also a vlog so you’re able to watch the steps to decorating your grad cap. Chaney also shows you absolutely every step she took to design her custom grad cap. She also paints the grad cap instead of gluing on grad cap decorations which adds a nice, personal touch to the final look – and experience.

“Decorating My Graduation Cap”

This is an amazing decorating a grad cap tutorial for people who have absolutely no idea what to do. Every step is shown to you – and explained – in this custom grad cap tutorial. So, just follow along and get started!

“Decorate My Graduation Cap With a Headband”

Here’s one of our favorite DIY grad cap tutorials. We really like this video because it breaks down the steps to decorating your grad cap – from shopping at a craft store to drawing your own design on the grad cap and everything in between.

Now that your custom graduation cap is done, send it over to Tassel Toppers to turn it into a masterpiece. We take your DIY grad cap and layer it with highest grade plastic to ensure you can keep your graduation cap as a souvenir for years to come. Your custom grad cap will also be waterproof and can be removed and reapplied as many times as you want.

Hang on for a minute…we’re trying to find some more stories you might like.

The short URL of the present article is:

While it’s nice for students to be able to express themselves, the decoration of graduation caps has many cons that far outweigh the pros.

Graduation already is a hectic time of year. If students were allowed to decorate their caps, someone would need to check each individual cap. While I’d like to say that the students graduating wouldn’t break the guidelines given, there are people who would decorate their caps in an inappropriate manner.

Students even agree with this statement. In a Lancer Media survey, 72.7% said that there would be a problem with students decorating the caps inappropriately. Of those, 63.6% said these issues would be with select students, which would cause the need for everyone’s caps to be checked prior to graduation.

So who would check all of the caps? Would someone volunteer to do it? The entire event is staffed by faculty volunteers who would have to take on another burden of checking everyone’s cap. And more importantly, if someone put something crude or disrespectful on their cap, would their cap be taken away, or would they not be allowed to walk? Who would even decide what would be appropriate versus inappropriate?

Staff members agree. “If you allow seniors to decorate their caps then who decides what’s appropriate and inappropriate? So, if you have someone from the school deciding what’s appropriate or inappropriate, where are you drawing that line? It’s a really slippery slope, and it could potentially not be fair,” said social studies teacher Jamie Hendi.

Also, not every adult or person at the ceremony knows every symbol or the latest meme. It would be easy for a student to slip something inappropriate by a checkpoint if teachers were to check the caps.

While this is one of the problems that could seemingly easily be fixed, other issues with the decorating of caps exist and could be overlooked by people who want to decorate their caps.

With the decoration of graduation caps, some students could feel left out, especially if they can’t come up with an idea or if they aren’t artistic. Not every student knows exactly what they plan to do following high school, or even have any achievements that they would like to showcase during graduation.

Everyone graduating is equal because they are getting a high school diploma- even if some excelled in school, the diploma means the same.

Class of 2021 member Nicole Golemboski said, “I wouldn’t want to decorate my cap because I feel like mine wouldn’t be as good as other people’s, and that would stress me out.”

Most importantly, graduation is a uniform ceremony, and where while each student is individual and unique, graduation serves the purpose of celebrating the collective achievement of the class completing high school and moving on to the future. Decorating graduation caps could disrupt this uniformity of graduation.

Art teacher, Christian Madenspacher, is on the fence. While he does believe students should be able to express their individuality, “Graduation is a traditional and ceremonial practice.”

Students can find other times and places other than graduation to express their individuality and celebrate completing high school. This way graduation can stay professional and uniform. Why not decorate your cap AFTER the ceremony and take photos–better yet, students could buy two caps–one decorated for photos and the other plain.

Statements saying that honors society cords disrupt the uniformity of graduation are not valid. Cords from honors societies are made so that each cord has the same general look, just different colors to differentiate from the different honor societies. This showcases academic achievements while not disrupting the uniformity of graduation.

Students decorating their caps in different manners could not only cause graduation to appear informal due to clashing colors or objects added onto the caps, but some students could “steal the spotlight” from others if their caps are decorated differently.

Students decorating their graduation caps would cause issues, disrupt the ceremony’s uniformity, and therefore should not be allowed.

Native American student fights Valley Vista High School’s ban on decorated graduation caps


LaRissa Waln has looked forward to decorating her cap and gown since she started high school.

Waln, a senior at Valley Vista High School in Surprise, is a member of a Sioux tribe, and planned on beading her cap and gown in a traditional Native American style.

But Waln ran into problems this week when her assistant principal told students that decorations would not be allowed for caps and gowns.

“I think every student should have the right to show pride in their culture,” Waln told The Arizona Republic. “It’s just my family and me celebrating my next step in life as I graduate high school.”

‘How does your tradition override my tradition?’

LaRissa’s father, Bryan Waln, said traditional regalia has historically been worn to celebrate important milestones in his culture.

“It’s been a tradition for quite some time now that when children graduate from high school we decorate their caps by beading it or putting feathers on it and celebrate them moving on into adulthood from high school,” Bryan Waln said. “How does your tradition override my tradition?”

Post by fanof7.

Caps and gowns cannot be decorated in any way, and only school-approved, academic regalia are allowed on students’ gowns, according to the Dysart Unified School District.

“We appreciate the desire of students to honor cultural traditions, however there are many ways to do so beyond decorating a graduation cap, and we invite and allow our students to do just that,” a district statement read. “Traditional clothing or footwear under the gowns are welcomed.”

The district has scheduled a meeting with the family to discuss concerns and how to appropriately resolve the situation, district spokeswoman Renee Ryon said.

The school’s graduation will be held May 16 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale. Bryan Waln said his daughter plans to wear the beaded cap and gown regardless, but the school has informed her they will take it away from her when she arrives.

“Why do I have to cover up my culture underneath a gown?” LaRissa said. “It’s disappointing that there’s still this kind of suppression at a school that teaches us to learn from history.”

For more stories that matter: .

Why can’t students decorate?

Decorated caps and gowns have become a staple of college graduations across the country.

But what about high schools?

Decorated caps are not typical at the high school level, Ryon said. The district’s goal is to make sure each student is appropriately recognized for graduating high school, she said.

“Decorated caps and gowns take away from the purpose of the ceremony and unnecessarily call attention to individual students,” Ryon said.

But Bryan Waln says his two older children were allowed to bead their caps and gowns when they graduated from Desert Vista High School in Ahwatukee.

When he asked Valley Vista Assistant Principal Brad Larremore about the school’s policy for caps and gowns, Waln says Larremore could not provide him with a written policy.

Both the Chandler Unified and Mesa Unified school districts don’t decorate their caps and gowns.

Graduates may wear jewelry and decorate their hair, but jewelry must not “otherwise detract from the unity achieved by graduates wearing a common cap and gown,” Mesa’s policy reads.

But in the Phoenix Union High School District, students can decorate their caps for graduation, and there are no restrictions on Native American decorations, according to spokesman Craig Pletenik.

Caps are checked by school officials to make sure nothing obscene, dangerous or distracting makes its way onto the cap, Pletenik said.

“I want to try and set a precedent,” Bryan Waln said. “I’m hoping that they make the exception and are able to let other students know about other cultures and traditions. Policies are changing all over the Valley already.”

Have a news tip? Reach the reporter Lorraine Longhi at [email protected] or 480-243-4086. Follow her on Twitter @lolonghi.

Support local journalism. Subscribe to today.

With graduation right around the corner, it can be fun to add a little bit of personality to your graduation cap. While there are plenty of funny examples floating around the Internet, most of which just involve stickers, a UCLA-specific grad cap is hard to find. Below, you’ll find our DIY tutorial for a Royce Hall cap. It’s a fun and unique way to express your Bruin pride before you leave UCLA behind.

Download the Template Here

3. Remove the paper from the top of the grad cap, and draw a circle where you put the dot. The circle should be the approximate size of the knob on top of the cap. Be very careful with the size of the circle – if it’s too big, some of the black will show through.

4. Cut along the straight line carefully, and cut out the circle. Then slowly slide the paper onto the cap, fitting the circle around the knob.

5. On the back of the cardstock, tape the slit back together. That way, the paper can’t slide off your cap but the tape is not visible.

8. Using what’s left of the red cardstock, begin to trace arches of various sizes. Dark red arches will go on the light red portions of Royce Hall and vice versa. Looking at a picture of Royce Hall can be really helpful for this step, as it gives you a better idea of how many arches each side needs, since they’re not symmetrical. Once you’ve drawn all the arches, cut them out.

9. Now that you have all the arches, attach the basic Royce Hall structure to the blue base, using it to cover the line that you cut. Either glue or tape works. Next, attach the dark red rectangles over the sides of Royce Hall and then attach the arches carefully.

Optional Steps

10. Using the brown pen, draw some of the lines and smaller arches of Royce. This helps make the building look more detailed and realistic, but isn’t necessary if you want a more minimalist look.

11. Cut out a small rectangle of gold cardstock. Attach it above Royce Hall and outline it using the dark blue marker. Place a graduation-themed sticker of your choice onto the gold cardstock and a 2014 sticker below.

12. Add your tassel and put your cap on your head. Congratulations, you’re ready to graduate!

Make your Grad Cap Stand Out with These Fun Tips!

The time has finally come! After four years of hard work and dedication, you can walk across the stage with a degree in hand. When it’s time to turn that tassel, you’ll want to have a grad cap that means something to you. Whether you’re a class clown or a serious student, you should accessorize your cap to symbolize your time at school. Here are some grade “A” ideas to make your one of a kind cap perfect for your special day.

Items you’ll need:

  • Hot glue gun and hot glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Colored scrap booking paper
  • Letter Stickers
  • Spray Glue
  • Personal decorations for your specific design

Tips Before You Start:

  • If you use a paper background DON’T forget to cut a hole where the tassel hangs.
  • Mark the top and bottom so your design doesn’t end up upside down
  • On a piece of paper, the same size as your cap sketch out the design before you make permanent changes
  • Lay all your items on the cap before you glue things down
  • Make sure your cap follows your school guidelines

PRO Tip: After you are happy with how your graduation cap looks, make sure to set it in place. Take your spray glue and give it a good spritz. This way your design will be sealed in, so nothing will fall or be out of place on your important day.

Different Ideas on How to Decorate

The way you decorate your cap should reflect who you are or what you love. While picking a design make sure you choose one you would like to look back on years later.

Simply Perfect

Step simple up a notch. Take a grad cap with just your name, monogrammed initials or graduating year and add some sass.

Stick on a diamond border or glittery background paper.

Glue a bow or flowers all around the crown.

Go one step further and add letters or glitter to the ends of the bow.


Are you graduating as a student athlete? Show off your team pride and make your grad cap resemble your favorite sport. Mimic the field you play on. Use green scrapbook paper and draw hash marks or a penalty area with a white marker. Add your team number using stickers in the shape of the ball your sport uses.


Are you an artist? Don’t just stick things on, take it a step further and draw or paint! Show off your talents by painting your favorite piece or drawing your favorite sketch. Incorporate details about your school. From your graduate class year to your school mascot, you have plenty of options.

Memory Lane

Did your family and friends help support you through school? Show them your appreciation by creating a family photo collage on your cap. Your whole class will see who means the most to you. If you want extra space use small photos like polaroids instead. Lay them across so you have room for added decoration.

Time to Shine

Let everyone know you were a bright student and make your grad cap shine. An innovative way to make your cap stand out is by adding lights! With battery operated or stick on lights, your family is sure to be able to spot you amongst the crowd.

Quick, yet cute!

If you lack the artistic ability to create your perfect grad cap, look no further.

Pick a background and added decorations, because a graduation cap decal will do the rest.

Choose from multiple designs, like a monogram, quotes, bachelor’s degree designs, and nursing designs.

You save time and energy while accomplishing a quality result.

Decorating your grad cap is just a bonus for your special ceremony. It takes a lot of work to earn a degree, so when it comes to graduation try to relax and enjoy every moment. It is not every day you get to celebrate your achievements. After you put on your cap and gown, the world is yours for the taking. Take time to throw a party, go on a weekend trip or spend time with friends and family. 904 Custom offers personalized grad gifts that’ll make celebrating your big day even more exciting! Sit back, relax and enjoy the rest of your time as a student.

Graduation is the one day you get to honor your years of hard work, so make it count and make your grad cap stand out! Decorating your cap is a fun way to express yourself and capture your experiences from your time in school. To help you out, we’ve rounded up 60 graduation cap ideas. There are funny caps, inspirational caps, artsy caps and everything in between to fit every grad’s taste.

1. Dream Big Worry Small

This Rascal Flatts quote is perfect for a graduate stepping out into the world. It’s even more perfect for the student who happens to be a country music fan. Try using your favorite music quote to make your cap personal to you.

Photo by: @midwestmermaidart

2. Great Things Come in Small Packages

This is a great quote for the petite graduate. We also love how the hometown and college town were incorporated and honored on this cap. The foliage border is super cute too!

Photo by: @babykait

3. Beauty and the Grad

Belle is an intelligent bookworm who strives for an adventurous life. Who better than to represent you as you celebrate your academic achievements? After all, she embodies the characteristics of a newly minted graduate.

Photo by: @kimscustomcaps

4. Gold for the Win

Elegant and bold, gold foil and a simple quote are a very effective combination on the black background of this hat. It is always best to look towards the future, especially on your graduation day!

Photo by: @sunkissed_lifestyle

5. For the Art Majors and Art Lovers

We love the idea of honoring the artists who inspired you throughout your studies. Whether it’s Matisse, Monet, Pollock or Hokusai, channeling their style is sure to make your cap stand out from the crowd.

Photo by: @shaysimonsart

6. The Muggle Struggle

Future teachers should take note of this marvelous Harry Potter cap. It is funny and impressively decorated. It’s a bummer that Hogwarts wasn’t hiring this year, but maybe they’ll have some openings soon? Stay hopeful.

Photo by:

7. Adventure in a World of Possibilities

Showcase your adventurous side with a cap like this. The delicate outline of the world is simple and doesn’t overshadow the quote. It will get you pumped up for your post-graduation trip abroad!

Photo by: @echoes.of.grace

8. The Little Mer-grad

This Ariel silhouette is gorgeous against the sunset and ocean. It is a sweet nod to your childhood, if she inspired you when you were younger. The quote inspires others to follow their dreams too!

Photo by: @kimscustomcaps

9. The Motivation Behind the Hustle

This is an amazing way to include your furry best friend in your celebration. And it will make for some hilarious photos that your friends and family will love. You just got your degree so that they wouldn’t have a “ruff” life—how selfless of you.

Photo by: @covrtcreates

10. Pink and Flowery

This is a great short and simple sentiment that encourages everyone to be their best. The flower border is a very nice touch and adds variety to the pink color scheme. Super cute.

Photo by: @cambam0_o

11. The Happiest Grad on Earth

An homage to Disney is a popular theme amongst grad cap decorations. The quote is the classic inspirational message that Disney aims to share. Include your favorite characters or keep it simple with Tink and fireworks in front of the castle.

Photo by: @allisonsdisneydays

12. Blinged Out BSN

Bling works on anything really, but it looks especially good on this simple background. Showcase your degree that you worked so hard to earn. The heartbeat rhythm strip is a nice touch.

Photo by: @nurseroshani

13. The Avid “Mean Girls” Quoter

“She doesn’t even go here!” Your favorite movie is definitely a great option for your grad cap. Use a movie quote that fits with graduation and have fun with it! Just remember that on graduation day, we wear pink.

Photo by: @midwestmermaidart

14. Iridescent Art Design

The mosaic look is a super cool option if you don’t want to include writing on your grad cap. The tiles on this cap are different colors depending on the angle that you look at it, making it a definite stand out in a sea of grad caps.

Photo by: @nicseidl

15. Resilience is Key

Represent your perseverance with this grad cap quote. Sunflowers portray adoration and longevity, perfect for graduation day and your future career. You could also include the flower of your birth month for an added personal touch.

Photo by: @letteringmanna

16. Hungry for Success

Steve Jobs and Apple are perfect for someone going into the tech industry, or even better someone who landed a position at Apple. But honestly, his words and success are great motivation for anyone. Just ignore the irony in that he was a college dropout.

Photo by: @yesenisgarcia

17. Are You Young, Scrappy and Hungry?

Alexander Hamilton, the Musical, has inspired millions since its debut. If you are one of those people, A. Ham. is the perfect theme for your grad cap. The quote is straight from the show, but it seems like it’s made for graduation!

Photo by: @voila.design_

18. Hard Work Makes the Dream Work

Caps that combine design and inspirational quotes are always a big hit. This motivational quote and blue color scheme look clean and really pop. Everyone always talks about dreams, but they don’t always talk about the work that goes into them.

Photo by: @newhuepaintings

19. Best Revenge is Your Paper

We are obsessed with this “Lemonade” Beyonce reference. Equal parts clever, applicable and well executed, this is a home run. “Okay ladies, now let’s get in (graduation) formation.”

Photo by:

20. For the “Lion King” Lover

We can definitely feel the love tonight for this grad cap. This Lion King design goes perfectly with the quote about destinies. We also like the creative border and bright color scheme.

Photo by: @midwestmermaidart

21. Hija de Inmigrantes

Show pride for your heritage and for your parents. “Daughter of Immigrants” is a powerful message in any language. Including flowers from your family’s home country is also a nice touch.

Photo by: @kimscustomcaps

22. Ravenclaw Pride

Take pride in your Harry Potter fan status as well as your house. “Mischief Managed” is a perfect way to sum up your time in school, and the cap can be easily themed for Gryffindor, Hufflepuff or Slytherin as well.

Photo by: @midwestmermaidart

23. Up, Up and Away

Referencing “Up” is perfect for those who love adventure. Unless you are an artist, you may have to go to a professional to get such accurate characters painted on. The quote is a good on its own as well.

Photo by: @kimscustomcaps

24. Game of (Student) Loans

We love the Game of Thrones and caffeinated college life references. This particular cap has decoration elements for a graduating nurse, but it is easily modified for other majors. Graduation is coming.

Photo by: @caffeinatednewyorker

25. Bride-To-Be

Here comes the grad. Wow, you have managed to wrap two major life events into one period of time in your life. This is a super cute way to represent both of them and to let everyone know that you finished school while planning a wedding, you overachiever.

Photo by: @decoryourday

26. Push the Boundaries

This cap is gorgeous and empowering. The silhouette and black writing are a nice contrast to the glitter and sparkle. Plus, we all need to be reminded sometimes that we should push boundaries.

Photo by:

27. Wanderlust

For those with a touch of wanderlust, this cap is for you. We love the how the cap is filled out well, but doesn’t feel crowded. The mix of calligraphy and hand-painted dots are a great combo, and it’s always fun to add a pop of color.

Photo by: @jonescrafts

28. “He, She Wumbo… it’s First Grade Spongebob”

For anyone whoever dreamed of majoring in Wumbology, it’s your time to shine. True Spongebob fans will love the reference and it is sure to make people laugh. Also, how often do you get to wear the word “wumbo?” This might be your only chance.

Photo by: @kimscustomcaps

29. I May Have ‘Wined’ a Lot, but I Did it

Thanking your parents or other supporters in your life is very important. But don’t neglect the thing that helped you unwind after hard week of school, your favorite wine! If you aren’t much of a wine fiend, beer (IPA, Stouts, etc.) works just as well.

Photo by: @camilla_creations

30. A Simple and Charming Nursing Graduation Cap

Any Grey’s Anatomy fans? Even if you aren’t a Meredith, this is such a cute cap for future nurses or doctors too. The stethoscope heart is a nice touch.

Photo by: @simplesoutherncrafts

31. Adios, Ciao and Au Revoir!

The simplicity of one word with the array of flowers is a perfect grad cap idea. This cap was created for a Spanish major, but it is perfect for any type of language major, or anyone really. You could use this as a nod to your heritage as well.

Photo by: @midwestmermaidart

32. For the Hamilton Fan

Hamilton scores again with another quote that had to be made for graduation. Even those who don’t know the show would love this cap. You’re graduating and you are ready to take on the world.

Photo by: @gdeimz

33. Sweet and Lighthearted Grad Cap

Grad caps can match your personality too. This fun quote is short and sweet. If you want something lighthearted, try this pineapple cap out!

Photo by: @midwestmermaidart

34. Family, Pride and Humility

This cap translates to “Flying high without forgetting where I come from. Thank you Mom and Dad.” This is a perfect sentiment for a graduate. Recognize your roots and allow them to help you grow to new heights. And of course thank those who nurtured you along the way.

Photo by: @kimscustomcaps

35. “End of Act One”

The curtains may have closed on Act One, but Act Two is here now that you are graduating and starting a new chapter in your life. This cap is perfect for a theatre major, or someone who enjoys performing.

Photo by: @the_creativecreations

36. “I Busted Mine to Save Yours”

If you are going into the field of caring for others, you are going to have to deal with a lot of ungrateful people and thankless work. This works for anyone going into the medical field or for those who are going to be first responders. Remind everyone how important these professions are with this clever cap.

Photo by: @decoryourday

37. You’ll Bring Honor to Us All

Mulan is a classic, and everyone will love the Mushu reference. Funny and fitting for graduation, we also love the cherry blossoms.

Photo by: @chilaaan

38. Landlocked Mermaid

We all know someone who is a landlocked mermaid at heart. This sparkly cap is cute and whimsical. It ties your personality into your major and degree. Congrats! Now that you’ve graduated, you’re free to return to the ocean.

Photo by: @midwestmermaidart

39. Hello Graduation

This cap is purrfect for a Hello Kitty lover. The stripes add dimension and a light contrast against the iconic cat. Remember kindergarten you with the Hello Kitty backpack? She would be so proud right now.

Photo by: @covrtcreates

40. Starry Night

We thought that Starry Night was untouchable, but we love it with the addition of rhinestones. Great for an art major or an art lover. Now you can rock your favorite masterpiece at graduation.

Photo by: @chellegreycosplay

41. First Generation Grad

First generation graduate ready to take on the world? This design is for you. Represent your love of travel and what this accomplishment means to you and your family.

Photo by: @midwestmermaidart

42. Represent your Faith

This cap represents what faith has meant to you along this journey to graduation. The leaves and calligraphy are sophisticated and well balanced. If you don’t want to include a whole quote on your cap, many people just add the name and number of their favorite scripture onto their caps.

Photo by: @emsgemscreations

43. Kanye for Class President 2018

Kanye’s “Graduation Day” album is a great reference for your grad cap for obvious reasons. We love the quote as well. A fun way to personalize your cap would be to include the skyline of your hometown or college town on the cap.

Photo by: @kimscustomcaps

44. Worry Less, Laugh More

This subtle grad cap would look great on a white cap and gown set. It would also look great in a different color combination for a black cap and gown. This quote is a great reminder to not worry too much about the next steps. You’ve already put in so much work and earned a degree that will set you up for a bright future!

Photo by: @gildedgracedesigns

45. Alice in Wonderland

This classic story is a perfect symbol for your new adventure. You could use newspaper print or copies of pages from your favorite book for a personalized background. Even the Cheshire Cat couldn’t smile wider than you while you’re wearing this cap.

Photo by: @midwestmermaidart

46. Turn Pain into Power

Heritage means everything, especially when it inspires you. Celebrate your heritage with this inspirational addition to your ceremony. Let others see the queen that you are.

Photo by: @mickeyyant

47. Simple and Grateful

Show your gratitude with this simple and sparkly cap. The flowers and different styles of text are pretty touches. On your graduation day, you’ll have a lot to be grateful for!

Photo by: @decoryourday

48. Grad Meets World

All the 90’s kids won’t be able to hide their jealousy at this clever cap. Throw it back to your favorite show and reminisce as you make the walk. Trust us, Boy/Girl Meets World is timeless.

Photo by: @coolrianche

49. 3-D Design Elements

We love the use of flowers to create a 3-D effect on this super cute dream catcher design. The pop-up look makes for an eye-catching cap.

Photo by: @midwestmermaidart

50. Dobby is a Free Elf

This is an amazing cap for a graduate earning their Masters degree. Harry Potter graduation caps are always a hit and Dobby is no different. After all of those years as a student, you are finally free!

Photo by: @kimscustomcaps

51. Bright Pearly White Future

Show off your DDS and your bright future in dentistry! Show off your degree with this sparkly cap accented with pearly whites. It’ll be hard not to smile on your graduation day, especially with this design.

Photo by: @decoryourday

52. White and Gold

“The best is yet to come.” This cap would go great with a white gown, since it almost has a bridal quality to it. The best graduation pictures are yet to come with this cute design.

Photo by: @midwestmermaidart

53. “I Am Not Throwing Away My Shot”

Another great example of a Hamilton-inspired grad cap. This design features a sparkly gold border and gorgeous calligraphy. This show is full of graduation appropriate quotes, so use your favorite!

Photo by: @yesenisgarcia

54. Caps that Don’t Grind Your Gears

This is a cute way to show off your degree and all of your hard work. The gear is perfect for a mechanical engineer. Hopefully this inspires you and gets your wheels turning!

Photo by: @midwestmermaidart

55. Feminine and Future-Focused

This design includes so many different elements that make it pretty. The cap has a sparkly background, flowers balanced by script and is capped off with a bow. We also love the subtle inclusion of “thanks Mom and Dad” on the bow.

Photo by: @sweet_reverie_

56. The Gift that Keeps on Giving

You are the best gift your parents ever received, right? Remind them of that and show them your gratitude for their support. It really is a gift for parents to see their children walk at graduation. So this hat makes a lot of sense if they offered you a lot of support—whether that be emotionally and/or financially.

Photo by: @midwestmermaidart

57. For the “La La Land” Lover

“La La Land” the movie/ musical was a smash hit, and with good reason. The painted scene is beautiful. Really, you could choose almost any setting from this movie for your cap.

Photo by @kimscustomcaps

58. When You Slayed College

We could look at these Beyonce-inspired caps all day. We love that the text is modeled after her 2013 album, “Beyonce.” The hand presenting the diploma is great too. You put in the time and this cap proves how your hard work has payed off.

Photo by:

59. Artsy Ariel

Show off your art skills with a hand-painted design of your favorite inspirational character. Ariel followed her dreams and made it happen. Be like Ariel.

Photo by: @joe_are

60. Go Forth with Confidence

The real world can be a daunting thought for a graduate. Just remember how many obstacles you faced during school; you can do it. This cap is beautiful and inspirational, what more could you want?

Photo by: @midwestmermaidart

We hope that you found the grad cap inspiration you were looking for! Now that you have an idea of what you want to do, you just need to know how to make it happen. Below you will find some tips on how to decorate your cap!

Graduation Cap Decoration Ideas

Decorating your cap can be quite stressful because all of your friends and family will see it on your big day. It is also your chance to stand out amongst the sea of matching gowns. Whether you are aiming towards funny graduation cap ideas, or a sentimental message, we have created a few tips on how to decorate a graduation cap. When decorating your cap:

  • Make sure your cap is right side up
    • Before you put anything on your cap, make a little pencil mark to show which way is up
  • Have a plan
    • Know the dimensions of your cap. Typical caps are 10” by 10”
    • Sketch everything out before hand
    • Let a friend check it out to make sure that it makes sense and is spelled correctly
  • Space out your letters well
    • Don’t be the person whose writing is all spaced out on the left side and squished on the right side
  • Try out your supplies on the material ahead of time if possible
    • This will help you to avoid ruining the material or your cap
  • Leave enough time for any paint or glue to dry before you have to wear it
  • Space out your 3D additions ahead of time; this includes flowers, bows and rhinestones
  • Consider using a thick paper cut out on top of your cap
    • This will give you the opportunity to start over if needed
    • Or you could try out different designs and decide which is your favorite
  • Make sure that your cap is true to you and have fun with it

Many graduates or graduates’ parents want something in addition to the personalized cap to remember the big day. So check out our other unique items and gifts to commemorate your accomplishment in a customized way. We wish you a happy graduation and a successful future!