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How to Decorate Your Graduation Cap

So you’ve finally made it to the big day: graduation! You’ve been working hard for years and now you want to celebrate and look good doing it. Outfit: check. Gown: check. Graduation cap: check. But it’s time to step up your style even further by decorating your graduation cap. | How to Decorate Your Graduation Cap

Follow these tips and tricks to make a one-of-a-kind grad cap that will make you stand out in a crowd — in a good way.

Pick Your Theme | How to Decorate Your Graduation Cap

Before you do anything, plan out your process. There’s no right or wrong theme, but it helps to have an idea of what you envision ahead of time so that you can gather all your supplies now and not waste time down the road. Ask yourself the following questions to get some inspiration:

  • What are your interests?
  • What was your major?
  • What were your school activities or groups?
  • What are your career aspirations?
  • What are your favorite colors? What are your school colors?
  • Do you have a quote you want to use?
  • How do you want the end product to look? | How to Decorate Your Graduation Cap

Get Your Graduation Cap Decoration Supplies | Graduation Cap Decorating Supplies

Your supplies will depend on your theme, but here are several ideas to help you get started:


One of the easiest ways to make a big, colorful impact without ruining the original graduation cap is to use scrapbooking paper as a base. This is an especially useful strategy for those who rent their cap and gown and need to return them afterward.

Here's how to do just that.

1. Trace the top of the cap | How to Decorate Your Graduation Cap - Step 1

Turn the piece of scrapbooking paper over and trace the mortarboard of the graduation cap.

2. Cut | How to Decorate Your Graduation Cap - Step 2

Cut out the tracing.

2. Make room for the button | How to Decorate Your Graduation Cap - Step 3

To make sure that the button on top is free to loop the tassel around, place the cutout paper over the cap, and push down around where the button is. Draw a circle around where you feel it, and then slightly fold the paper to cut out the hole. It's better to make the circle smaller than what you think at first, and then cut it larger as you need. | How to Decorate Your Graduation Cap - Step 4

After cutting out the hole, flip the paper over and place it on top of the cap and around the button.

4. Secure the paper | How to Decorate Your Graduation Cap - Step 5

To make sure the paper stays in place, tape down the corners using tape. Washi tape is especially useful since it will leave minimal damage and residue behind after removal.

5. Stamp

Rubber stamps help to add neat, professional-looking fonts and graphics, perfect for those of us who don't have the best handwriting or artistic ability.

Stamping onto white cardstock, cutting it out, and then backing with scrapbooking paper helps the stamp impression pop in contrast to the background.

If you're designing directly on the cap, embossing the stamp impressions on the fabric offers more permanence.

6. Embellish | How to Decorate Your Graduation Cap - Step 6

Now it's time to add your decorations! Before securing anything down, lay out the decorations how you want them. Keep in mind where the front/top of the hat is. You'll want people behind you to be able to read what's on your cap. Also, remember to not add anything too large that the tassel won't be able to fit over. | How to Decorate Your Graduation Cap

A hot glue gun works great to secure bigger embellishments, like flowers or heavy rhinestones, whereas adhesive foam circles create depth for flatter pieces, like those stamp impressions. | How to Decorate Your Graduation Cap

Add whatever feels right! Glitter, sequins, and gold foil details on scrapbook paper look especially sparkly on a sunny graduation day.

How to Wear Your Graduation Cap | How to Wear Your Graduation Cap

The point the graduation cap should be facing forward on your forehead, about one inch above the eyebrows, while the elastic part goes on the back of your head.

The mortarboard should be flat and level to the ground (imagine that you're carrying something on your head). The tassel should be placed on the right side of the board near your temple. Later, when you receive your diploma, move the tassel to the left side of the cap.

Pro Tips | How to Decorate Your Graduation Cap
  1. Plan out your design ahead of time.
  2. Do a practice run on paper or cardboard to get the hang of it.
  3. Know how you will wear your graduation cap before you start designing it.
  4. Plan for the tassel.
  5. Decorate on a flat surface.
  6. Don't forget to take a picture of the finished cap to remember your special day!

Easy Last-Minute Ideas:

Running short on time? Here are three easy, last-minute graduation cap ideas:

  1. Get scrapbook paper that already has a design on it, and just use that. No other decorations needed!
  2. Grab a pack of stickers that fits your personality and stick them to the mortarboard.
  3. Glitter! Spray the cap with a fabric glue spray and throw some glitter on there.



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