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When I was getting ready for graduation, one of the things I searched Pinterest for most was graduation cap ideas. Because this was my one time to graduate from college, I wanted everything to feel perfectly tailored to my interests and personality, right down to the mortarboard.
I ended up going with a flower crown in the colors of my graduation dress. That said, I still remember a lot of the funny quotes and sayings I saw on DIY graduation cap posts online! With graduation season just around the corner, today I’m sharing 53 graduation cap ideas for how to decorate your mortarboard, plus a few tips and things to avoid.
How to Decorate a Graduation Cap
There are two primary ways to decorate your graduation cap. The first is to paint directly onto the cap using inks and acrylic paints, and the second is to add a sheet of cardstock or other thick paper on top of the hat and decorate that. The benefit of painting on a piece of paper is that you can save the paper without having to keep the hat forever, that you can pass the hat on to someone else, and that you can work with background colors other than black (or the color of your mortarboard). Personally, though, I prefer the look of painting directly onto the hat. Ultimately, the choice is yours!
Tips for Decorating a Graduation Cap
If you’re using a piece of cardstock between the hat and your decorations, your process should be fairly self-explanatory, and you can skip down to the graduation cap ideas section below! However, if you’re painting directly onto the hat, there are a few things to keep in mind.
Supplies for Decorating a Graduation Cap
You really don’t need expensive paints to decorate your cap. The more expensive paints I used had a harder time showing up on the cap, while $1 acrylic paints did just fine. I recommend using cheap acrylic paints from your local craft store (I’ve used these before and they work just fine), a set of cheap brushes in different sizes (these or a similar set will do the trick), and paint markers (these are well-rated).
Washi tapes and other cute decor accents also work well on a graduation cap, especially if you have a hot glue gun (which can stick anything to anything if you have enough glue sticks and stubborn persistence). I got the paper flowers above from the local dollar store, and you can get washi tape in sets from your local craft store.
Use light paints
Dark paints tend to fade into the hat, as shown in this photo:
On the other hand, when using light paints or inks, they contrast really well with the hat and don’t fade at all:
How to Make a Graduation Flower Crown
Some of you may know that I ran an Etsy shop where I sold flower crowns for a few years. As a result, I made about 15-20 flower crowns for people to wear at their college graduation every year that I was in college. If you’re interested in learning how to make a flower crown to wear under your graduation cap, check out my blog post on how to DIY a flower crown!
Graduation Cap Ideas
Below are a few funny or inspirational quotes and phrases you can use on your graduation cap if you want to stand out!
Inspirational Graduation Cap Ideas
She believed she could so she did
Well-behaved women rarely make history
She laughs without fear of the future (Religious)
God is within her; she will not fail (Religious)
The best is yet to come
She turned her can’ts into cans and her dreams into plans
For I know the plans I have for you (Religious)
Veni Vidi Vici
A world of possibilities awaits
And off she went to change the world
Nevertheless, she persisted
Funny Graduation Cap Ideas
Can I take a nap now?
I usually wear a crown but today this will do
About damn time
Now hotter by one degree
The tassle’s worth the hassle
My $240,000 hat
Beyonce Graduation Cap Ideas
Best revenge is your paper (with a picture of a diploma)
Okay ladies now let’s get information
Disney Graduation Cap Ideas
Aladdin: A whole new world awaits
Beauty and the Beast: I just finished the most amazing story.
Beauty and the Beast: I want adventure in the great wide somewhere.
Cinderella: Bibbety Bobbety Bye.
Frozen: It’s time to see what I can do
Little Mermaid: Look at this degree, isn’t it need? Finally my Bachelor’s complete.
Mulan: The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.
Peter Pan: Isn’t it amazing what clever girls can do?
Princess and the Frog: I’m finally there!
Tangled: Now’s when my life begins!
Tangled: And at last I see the light
Tangled: On to my new dream
Toy Story: To Infinity and Beyond!
Dr. Seuss Graduation Cap Ideas
Oh the places I’ll go!
Gilmore Girls Graduation Cap Ideas
Where you lead I will follow
Hamilton Graduation Cap Ideas
Just You Wait
Immigrants – We Get the Job Done
Raise a Glass to Freedom
I Survived But I Paid for It
I Wrote My Way Out
Harry Potter Graduation Cap Ideas
Because My Hogwarts Letter Never Came
Because Hogwarts Doesn’t Take FAFSA
Master Gave Dobby a Diploma! Dobby is free!
How I Met Your Mother Graduation Cap Ideas
I’ll be legen- wait for it…
Legally Blonde Graduation Cap Ideas
What. like it’s hard?
Parks and Recreation Graduation Cap Ideas
Be the Leslie Knope of whatever you do
Spongebob Graduation Cap Ideas
Four years later…
Star Wars Graduation Cap Ideas
May the Work Force Be With You
Up Graduation Cap Ideas
Adventure is Out There!
West Wing Graduation Cap Ideas
A smart, savvy woman who could seriously consider world domination for her next career move
By decorating your cap with these ideas and recommendations, you’ll stand out in a sea of new graduates. And congratulations! You did it!
How will you be decorating your cap? Which of these ideas is your favorite?