It’s your turn to celebrate, so make sure your dress up your mortarboard in style and commemorate this milestone achievement—graduation! You may want to decorate your grad 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. Decorating your grad cap is a great way to show off your personal style and share your life motto or all-time favorite movie line.
What’s Your Graduation Cap Theme?
First, think about the theme that you’d like to use for your college grad cap. Do you want to feature a funny 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 or a heartwarming quote from a favorite book? The possibilities are endless!
Keep in mind that you’ll inevitably be creating a piece of art that’s sure to become a treasured keepsake—a handmade item that celebrates one of the most pivotal events in your life. More than likely, you’ll want to put this personal and meaningful artwork on display alongside your school trophies, varsity letter frame, campus mementos, and your college diploma frame.
Find Grad Cap Design Ideas
Deciding on just the right design for graduation day 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 grad cap design ideas, check out some of the themes that our diplomaframe.com customers and bloggers tackled in our photo gallery below. Or, find a wealth of artistic inspiration on our Pinterest graduation cap decorations board.
Stock up on Crafting Supplies
Once you’ve decided on the perfect theme for your grad cap design, 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.
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 safety. 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.
Prepare Your Workspace
Once you have all of your crafting supplies on hand, you’ll want to find a workspace with a clean, flat surface that’s suitable for crafting. Since you’ll be working with glue, make sure you put down several sheets of newspaper to protect the surface of the table or countertop on which you will be working.
Steps for Decorating Your Grad Cap
Make sure you remove the tassel from the cap before you start working. (Keep your tassel in a safe spot while working to avoid any accidental mishaps with the glitter glue, sticky letters, or your hot glue gun.) Before you cut into anything or peel off any adhesive backings, sketch out your design first. Use a pencil, ruler, and eraser to work out the proportions of the grad cap and determine where you’ll place each decoration. Some grads prefer to create their design on poster board and then secure it to the cap, while others may want to use the square mortarboard as their canvas. Just keep in mind that it’s the one and only grad cap you have for the big day!
1.) Place your grad cap 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.) Sketch out your 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 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.
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.) Glue the gold glitter circle to the top of the cap button. Cut four narrow strips of gold glitter paper to create a frame around your grad cap artwork; glue strips to cap. Print out the images that you plan to feature on your cap. Cut them out and glue them down.
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.
9.) Using white paint, brush some snow onto your mountain range and waves 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.10.) As a finishing touch, cut out a pine tree shape from green glitter paper and glue to the foreground of your scene. Place 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.
Once the glue has dried completely, be sure to reattach your tassel to your newly decorated grad cap. While this sounds like a no-brainer, many a crafter has forgotten this important step! The grad cap tassel is an essential part of your graduation regalia. You’ll need it for the symbolic “turning of the tassel,” so it’s something you definitely don’t want to lose before the big day. (And, yes, it’s true what they say: That tassel is worth the hassle!) After graduation, you’ll want to carefully remove it from your decorated grad cap and display it in a tassel diploma frame. This is a cool way to protect and showcase a special graduation day memento alongside your hard-earned diploma!
More Grad Cap Design Ideas
Celebrate the Big Day
Graduation is a big cause for celebration and the day you’ve been tirelessly working toward and dreaming about for years. While a decorated grad cap will provide fond memories of your college commencement, make sure to celebrate the real star of graduation: your university degree! Browse our wide selection of college diploma frames to protect and display the most expensive piece of paper you’ll ever own.