girl holding her decorated grad cap

High school and college seniors, it’s your turn to celebrate! When you walk across that stage to receive your degree in front of Mom, Dad, and friends, make sure you dress up your mortarboard in style. You want your graduation cap decoration to reflect your personal style and aesthetic. This might mean decorating your graduation cap using lots of bright, glittery accents for maximum sparkle potential. Or, you may opt for an understated but elegant display of your Greek organization’s signature colors and letters. Graduation cap decorations are also a great way to show off your personal style and share your life motto or all-time favorite movie line.

The options for graduation cap decoration ideas are endless. Some seniors opt for inspirational graduation quotes while others go for whimsical or cute graduation caps. No matter your personal style, our tips for how to decorate your graduation cap are sure to spark your creativity. Read on to discover graduation cap ideas you’re sure to love.

What’s Your Graduation Cap Theme?

When it comes time to choose your graduation cap decoration, the first thing you should do is think about the theme that you’d like to use for your college grad cap. Do you want to feature a meme or catchphrase that was popular this year? Are you looking to create a design that’s related to your specific college major? Want to proudly decorate your cap in your school colors or with a design that features your beloved college mascot? Or maybe you’d like to showcase a clever line from a song, a Bible verse, or favorite Harry Potter quote? Nothing is impossible when it comes to how to decorate a grad cap.

graduation cap in frame

Keep in mind that you’ll inevitably be creating a piece of art that’s sure to become a treasured keepsake. Graduation cap designs celebrate one of the most pivotal events in seniors’ lives. More than likely, you’ll want to put this personal and meaningful artwork on display in a graduation cap shadowbox to preserve for years to come. Grad cap frames are ideal keepsakes to celebrate your school memories.

Unique Grad Cap Ideas

Deciding on just the right graduation cap decoration will probably take you more time than the actual process of decorating your cap. After all, this is a major milestone in your life, and your friends and family members will want to capture lots of pictures of you in your grad regalia for their scrapbooks and photo frames. If you’re looking for fun and imaginative graduation cap ideas, check out some of the themes that our college diploma frame customers and bloggers tackled and a wealth of artistic inspiration on our Pinterest graduation cap decorations board.

grad cap shopping list of items

Stock up on Crafting Supplies

Once you’ve decided on how to decorate your graduation cap and nailed down your theme, it’s time for the best part, shopping! While you’ll probably find everything you need at most arts and crafts stores, you may be able to find similar (and even better!) crafting supplies for less at your local dollar store. So before you shell out a ton of money at a retail chain hobby shop, check out the dollar store’s crafting and stationery sections for foam stickers, fabrics, beads, ribbons, silk flowers, glitter glues, colorful washi tapes, and decorative papers. We guarantee that no one will be able to tell the difference between a graduation cap decoration from the dollar store vs. a high end craft store. After all, it’s more about the time and effort you put into your design than the materials!

You may also find suitable $1.00 adhesives or bags of glue sticks to use for your crafting projects. However, while you’re sure to track down plenty of bargain-basement deals at dollar store chains, you should never cut corners when it comes to the safety of your graduation cap decoration. That’s why it’s best to invest in a high-quality glue gun from a brand you trust. Do your homework online, check out reviews, and then purchase your glue gun from a reputable big-box store or art supply store. As a general rule, it’s always worth it to pay full price for brand-name glue guns, extension cords, batteries, and decorative mini lights to ensure their longevity and, most importantly, your safety. The added cost is worth the peace of mind you’ll have while decorating your graduation cap.


8 Steps for How to Decorate Your Grad Cap

Graduation cap decoration steps 1-4

1.) The first step for how to decorate a cap for graduation involves placing it facedown on a sheet of poster board. Trace around the square mortarboard with a pencil. Use a ruler to determine the location of the tassel button at the center of the grad cap.

2.) Then, it’s time to sketch out your graduation cap decoration design, keeping in mind that you will be cutting the straight line leading up to the tassel button, so make sure your final artwork will cover that area. Cut out adhesive letters to determine placement.

3.) Cut out your mountain range from silver glitter paper. Use a horizontal strip of blue glitter paper for your lake. Next, cut a circle from gold glitter paper for the top of your cap button. Set letters and cut glitter paper pieces aside.

4.) Cut out the grad cap square then cut along the straight line toward the center of the cap. Next, cut a hole much smaller than the button outline to ensure a snug fit on your cap. Paint the sky light blue; let dry. Use a sponge or cotton ball to add white clouds to the sky.
Graduation cap decoration steps 5-8

5.) Swirl gold glitter glue and orange and yellow paints around the button area; let dry. Carefully slide the poster board square onto the top of the grad cap; turn over to find the front of the cap. Adjust the poster board accordingly before gluing to the mortarboard.

6.) Use your glue gun to affix the glitter mountain, lake, and sun to your cap. Print out the images that you plan to feature in your design. Cut them out and glue them in place. Cut four thin gold glitter paper strips; glue them to the edges of your cap to frame your artwork.

7.) Affix adhesive letters to the sky area. Add some orange and yellow paint accents to the top and sides of the button until you’re pleased with the look of your sunset. Next, add royal blue shading to the silver mountains and some subtle accents to the water area.

8.) Using dark green paint, add a forest along the base of the mountain. To make trees, move your brush left to right in a “Z” formation, starting with small strokes at the top that get broader at the base. Next, add light green highlights to the right sides of the trees and to the water.
Graduation cap decoration completed

Using white paint, brush some snow onto your mountain range and add ripples to the water. Keep in mind that there’s no wrong way to add accents, acrylic paints are very forgiving, so you can always add more blue or white where needed. As a finishing touch, cut out a pine tree shape from green glitter paper and glue to the foreground of your scene. Place the grad cap on your head and make sure you can move it back and forth without any letters or artwork falling off; secure items with hot glue where needed.

Of course, this is just an example of one graduation cap decoration. Use these tips and graduation cap ideas to make your own unique cap that matches your aesthetic or showcases your own interests!

Protect and Preserve Your Grad Cap

College graduation is a big cause for celebration, and the day you’ve been tirelessly working toward and dreaming about for years. Why not honor this momentous occasion with the perfect grad gift? Put your decorated mortarboard on display in a graduation cap frame and preserve it for future generations. In a custom frame, your graduation day memento will be kept safe and can be displayed for decades to come.

Check out Our How-To Video for More Grad Cap Ideas!


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