28+ Graduation Cap Ideas to Make You Stand Out

For a graduation ceremony, what you wear is just as important as the ceremony itself. Check out these 28+ creative graduation cap ideas to make sure your ceremony is a memorable one.


Graduation Cap Ideas

Graduation ceremonies are perhaps the most important events of the academic life of a student, whether it is to receive a high school diploma or a bachelor degree. They also mark the end of a special part of your life as well as the beginning of a new one.

These are grand ceremonies and like every significant event in your life, you should have an attire that makes the day even more memorable to you with Graduation Cap Ideas.

However, most institutions require graduating students to wear a graduation cap and gown in a pre-decided color. The gown or robe is worn over formal clothes, with some closing in the front and some remaining open. A matching cap is also worn, which is known as a mortarboard but is most commonly referred to as a graduation cap.

Having said that, it can be difficult to come up with ideas in the short time between the end of your finals and graduation day. The good news is that this blog is going to feature a lot of useful and fun ideas for graduation cap Ideas, graduation cap decoration, graduation captions, graduation cap quotes, graduation cap designs, and much more to help you stand out at your graduation ceremony with the best graduation cap!

Read More: Easy Ways To Shrink A Shirt

Why do we wear a Graduation Cap?

The graduation attire or academic dress was worn by academics, scholars, and clerics to keep them warm throughout the day. Over the years, such attire has come to be associated with students achieving something in their academic life like a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, or a doctorate. (Source)

Different parts and countries of the world have different kinds of graduation attire, even different universities of the same country will sometimes have students wear a certain color, unique to that particular university, at their graduation.

The most common kind of graduation robe is a black robe with a colored stole or hood. Students also sometimes take part in the turning of the tassel, which is a tradition where as part of the graduation ceremony, students turn the tassels of their cap from one side to the other. This is mainly to mark the fact that the students have earned their degrees. Usually, the tassel of the cap is moved from right to left for high school and college graduates.

An interesting thing about the graduation cap, which is a square board placed on top of a cap with a tassel attached to a button at its center, is that it is that part of your graduation ceremony attire which can be decorated and customized in almost any way that you want to fit your style.

After all, it is always nice to add a personal touch to your outfit, and even more so when everyone else is going to be wearing the same graduation cap and gown as you. That being said, it is recommended that you check your university or high school’s policies and rules regarding decorations for graduation cap and find out graduation cap ideas that work for you.

How to DIY brilliant designs on graduation cap?

The most common graduation cap measurements are 8-9 inches so there is plenty of space to add pictures, quotes, fun accessories, etc. A craft project to channel your creativity is always a fun adventure so if you have decided to decorate your graduation cap rather than buy one from the market, but have no clue where to start, you’re in the right place.

Decorating a graduation cap can be very easy once you are clear about your vision. In fact, some glue, scissors, decoration accessories such as artificial flowers, and different types of crafting papers such as colored sheets or glitter foam sheets are sometimes all you might need to make your graduation cap awesome! 

Listed below are some fun and thoughtful graduation cap ideas that won’t take up too much time and effort to execute but result in a beautiful cap for your graduation.

1. Photo Collage

College is fun, exciting, adventurous, but also difficult to get through without a support system. Your support system could consist of your mom, dad, siblings, best friends, or even your adorable pet. They have been with you through all the ups and downs of your life, especially with all the college assignments that made you pull all-nighters and finals that turned out to be the most stressful week of the year. If you are looking for graduation cap decoration ideas, a photo collage might be a good option to express your gratitude towards your loved ones and get a good-looking graduation cap too.

All you need to do to create a photo collage on your cap is:

  • Find some photos of your family and friends or print them out in a very small size, preferably 2”x3”, but it all depends on how many photos you want on your graduation cap and in what manner.
  • They could be close to or pushed up against each other or placed apart like in the picture above.
  • It is better to place the photos on the cap in the manner you want so you have a better idea of how the finished look will be and then stick them using a glue gun one by one. 
  • Other than the photo collage, you can also add borders made of artificial flowers, crafting jewels, glitter, etc. and even add a written message about being grateful for your degree and the people in your life to further embellish your graduation cap.

2. Graduation cap with flowers 

Flowers can make just about anything look beautiful and elegant, so if you want to brighten up your graduation cap, flowers are perhaps the best option. Decorating graduation caps with flowers can be done in many, many ways but the best part about it is that you will only need some artificial or silk flowers and leaves available at your nearest dollar store and a glue gun.

  • For a simple but elegant look, place artificial flowers and leaves on the border of your cap, either in a row or in a haphazard manner
  • Paste them on the graduation cap after adjusting as needed.
  • Using a glitter foam sheet as a background that matches the flowers can look really pretty. If you do not know the exact graduation cap dimensions, simply trace the graduation cap outline onto the foam sheet and cut along those lines.
  • Mark the center and cut a hole out in the sheet for the button on top of the cap and then use a glue gun to stick the graduation cap template to the mortar board.

  • You could even use flowers of different sizes and colors to further enhance your look.
  • Using some crafting sheets and glitter foam, you can create the outline and stencil of a butterfly to go with the flowers.

Adding an interesting quote or joke on your cap, or just writing your name and year will also give a nice personal touch to your graduation cap. Fun graduation cap idea, isn’t it?

3. Graduation cap with flower crown

Each graduation cap has a skull part beneath the square mortarboard. It is made of cloth or some rigid material that goes over your forehead when worn.

  • Sticking flowers around the base of this skull part that connects to the mortarboard is going to create a unique and amazing look of a flower crown.
  • You can use lots of different types of artificial flowers and leaves and place them in random or alternate manner to give the flower crown a more natural look.
  • You might even use a string of artificial flowers or a readymade flower crown to make your work easier without compromising on the overall look of your graduation cap.

4. Graduation cap with borders

If you are looking for subtle but fancy graduation cap ideas, then this can be the perfect fit for you.

  • To create this look, stick crafting pearls or jewels in a single row along the border of your graduation cap. They can be a single color or multicolored, it is all up to you.
  • You can even use a matching colored sheet or glitter foam sheet to act as a background if you are not happy with the plain color of your graduation cap.
  • Trace the cap onto the sheet using a pencil to get the exact graduation cap size that you need and cut out the sheet along those lines.
  • Remember to also cut out a hole in the center of the square for the button in the graduation cap where the tassel usually goes. 

You can customize this look by placing the crafting jewels or pearls in multiple rows or randomly on only the border of the cap, leaving the middle of the cap empty. This is where you can add a fun or thoughtful quote, a Bible verse, or just your name with the year you’re graduating in to fill up the empty space. 

5. Graduation cap with crafting jewels or rhinestones

These kinds of graduation cap decorations are easy to create, extremely glamorous, and are bound to make you stand out of the crowd in the best way possible.

  • To create such a look, you will only need some crafting jewels or pearls in your desired colors and a glue gun.
  • You can start with creating a border with a string of crafting pearls or a particular type and size of jewels
  • Place the rest of the jewels on the cap with lots of space between each one on the corners of the cap
  • Gradually decrease the space and place them closer together towards the center of the graduation cap.
  • You can also create a similar effect by concentrating the crafting jewels on the bottom of the cap rather than the center.
  • Then use a glue gun to stick the jewels to the cap one by one and your bling graduation cap will be ready!

6. Graduation cap glitter mosaic

There is a lot that can be done with glitter foam sheets.

  • For this particular idea, you can use a pair of scissors or a paper cutter to cut out random triangles of different sizes.
  • You can then arrange all the little triangles in a mosaic-like manner to create a look like in the picture above.
  • Stick them to the graduation cap using a glue gun and you’re all done!
  • You can make a unique and colorful glitter mosaic on your graduation cap by using two or more different colored glitter foam sheets, and instead of cutting out triangles, using all kinds of shapes and sizes.

Keeping the mosaic restrained to the border or corners of the graduation cap and adding a great graduation quote or just your initials and graduation year will also look very chic and classy!

7. Graduation cap mandala 

If you are a very creative person and a big fan of mandalas, this idea is perfect for you. Mandalas can be made anywhere — paper, stones, walls, water bottles, you name it — so why not your graduation cap?

Grab some fabric or acrylic paint and make your best mandala on your graduation cap to create the most special look.

Adding a cute quote or the name of your university will take your graduation cap mandala to the next level.

It is always best to be cautious and draw the mandala with a pencil but if you are confident, go on ahead with the paint and make yourself a beautiful graduation cap for the special day! 

Also Read: What does dreaming about tornado mean?

21 Brilliant Graduation Cap Ideas  

Listed below are some wonderful, unique, and funny graduation cap images for some graduation cap ideas (2022) that are going to make your graduation day even more special and exciting. 

1. Thanking the teachers

Whether it is high school or college, your teachers have worked their hardest to get you through the class and onto bigger things in life by teaching you valuable lessons, even if they sometimes happened to be boring.

With this graduation cap idea, you can express your gratitude to your teachers and everyone who helped you throughout school by getting their signature on your mortar board. You can also take a paper the size of your graduation cap, get it signed by everyone and then stick it onto your cap for the special day.

2. Mean Girls themed graduation cap

Mean Girls (2004) was, no doubt, an iconic movie that gave us many, many equally amazing dialogues and scenes. This pink graduation cap features a border made from crafting jewels and the classic cut-out letters that spell out a play on the famous dialogue from the movie: “Get in loser, we’re going shopping!” Use this graduation cap to get in the spirit of graduation and remember your favorite movie on your graduation day.

3. Best out of late notes

Everyone is late to class every once in a while and although you might hate getting late notes or absence notes from the office, why not use all those scary late notes and make something creative and useful out of them? Late notes are perfect to act as the background to your graduation cap and remind yourself that despite being late to school so many times, you still managed to graduate on time. Adding a witty message to the cap such as “better late than never” will only make your mortar board funnier!

4. Minimum effort, maximum laughs

Were you the kind of student who procrastinated until just before the deadline and still managed to submit your assignment and get good grades? This graduation cap idea is just for you! With this mortar board, you can be honest and tell it like it is, while showing off your wit as well as your diploma!

The best part about this amazing idea is that no one will know if you actually procrastinated on decorating your graduation cap or if it is totally intentional. Another perk is that making this graduation cap will require the least amount of materials, time, and energy so you can focus on other things like a graduation party!

5. Matching graduation caps for BFFs

A best friend is perhaps the most important person to you in school. They are with you in all your ups and downs, just like you are with them. So here is the perfect graduation cap idea to honor your friendship which will remain “till the end of time”. You can even use a bunch of photos of the two of you together to reminisce on the golden days that were your time spent together. The hourglass connecting the two caps is just another cherry on top of this brilliant idea for matching graduation caps with your BFF!

6. Taylor Swift themed graduation cap

If Taylor Swift is your favorite singer, this grad cap idea’s definitely made for you and while there are many of her lyrics that you could use, this line from the song Long Story Short from her album, Evermore, does a good job in explaining everything about how you graduated, in short! However, if you are not a huge fan of Taylor Swift, this graduation cap idea does help in realizing that if you cannot find any good quotes for graduation cap decoration, maybe you need to look towards your favorite artists and find a song that you relate with the most to add to your mortar board for a special look.

7. Finding Dory themed graduation cap

Dory is an adorable character from the popular 2003 movie, Finding Nemo, and the 2016 movie, Finding Dory, who has short-term memory loss but still is one of the most loveable characters of all time. This graduation cap idea is a great option for anyone looking for a graduation cap in blue. It features a famous dialogue of Dory the fish and is perfect for someone looking for a funny graduation cap idea. After all, how is anyone supposed to remember all that information we cram up for the finals anyways? 

8. Graduation cap: Funny Spongebob Squarepants meme 

Everyone agrees that Spongebob Squarepants was a hilarious show when they were kids but this show has given rise to a huge number of memes on the internet that continue to entertain and make us laugh. This graduation cap cartoon idea has the popular “‘ight imma head out” meme with a graduation themed twist, with the classic flowers on the border that are featured in almost every episode of Spongebob Squarepants. This is also one of the many graduation cap ideas for guys, along with using time cards from the same show with the amount of years it took for you to get your degree such as “4 Years Later” or “3 Years Later”.

9. Dobby is freeee!

All those years attending classes, studying really hard, and perhaps even working part-time, all at once, and you are finally getting the diploma or degree you strived towards. Sounds pretty similar to Dobby’s situation from the Harry Potter series, doesn’t it? He also worked hard everyday for his freedom and squealed with joy when he got that sock, so use this brilliant and hysterical idea to use Dobby’s famous dialogue for your graduation cap and celebrate your freedom!

10. F.R.I.E.N.D.S. themed graduation cap

This is another amazing grad cap idea, inspired from the popular sitcom from the 90s, F.R.I.E.N.D.S. This TV show named each of its episodes in a way that the name always started with “The One Where…”, followed by a brief description of what happens in that particular episode. This unique style of naming episodes has only been associated with this sitcom and if you are one of the many people who love this show, use this wonderful idea to name this important event in your life in the same way using your graduation cap!

11. Powerful quotes for graduation caps

This beautiful mortar board idea has a great quote that reminds everyone how important it is to keep working towards your goal, no matter how many obstacles come in your course and never give up. You can add a glitter foam sheet as a background and add to the graduation cap flowers, leaves, and butterfly cutouts or stickers that match. In this idea, they have also used a string of crafting pearls to line the border of the mortar board.

12. The next chapter 

The day you graduate, you enter a new phase of life that is bound to be very different from anything you would have known before. From new duties and responsibilities and looking for a job to paying bills, your life will definitely change. However, it will also be exciting and wonderful as you will leave behind the world of deadlines, assignments, and exams. So this idea is a great way to acknowledge the beginning of a new chapter in your life using your graduation mortar board!

13. A thank you to coffee

Through all the late nights submitting tough assignments and early mornings to get to class on time the next day, coffee was the one to support you and provide you with a little bit of extra energy just so you could make it through the day. So thank all the cups of coffee you had over the years when you receive your diploma with this fun and unique decoration idea. You can use some actual coffee to paint the cap or use on your graduation cap, pictures of cups of your favorite brand of coffee with a simple message of “Thank You, Coffee” written on it.

14. That’s a wrap!

This brilliant idea is for all the film school graduates or even students who love watching movies. You can easily make a clapboard used in film production sets with the help of some cardboard and crafting papers, some glue, and marker pens. Name yourself as the director of the movie that is your graduation when you fill out the information in the clapboard and enjoy all the compliments you will receive at your graduation with this unique and creative mortar board decoration idea.

15. Graduation cap with flowers and a quote 

This is yet another idea for quotes you can put on a graduation cap for toppers. It signifies the importance of following your passion and whatever drives you in life until you achieve it. It can be a tribute to your student life, where you had to overcome a number of different types of hurdles and problems so that you could get your degree. You can further decorate your graduation cap by adding some multi-colored artificial flowers, leaves, crafting jewels, and pearls. For the letters for the quote, you can use iron-on vinyls or crafting papers and stencils to cut out individual letters.

16. Legally Blonde themed graduation cap

Legally Blonde (2001) is yet another iconic movie that gave us the legendary performance of Reese Witherspoon as Elle Woods and Jennifer Coolidge as Paulette. The movie taught us a great lesson about having faith in yourself and this is exactly what this graduation cap decoration idea is meant for as well! The famous dialogue “What, like it’s hard?” was about Elle Woods scores amazing marks on the LSAT and is accepted into Harvard. And while your life in college might have been a bit difficult, you are still going to get your degree and prove yourself to everyone, including yourself, just like Elle Woods did in Legally Blonde.

17. Graduation cap painting

If you are really good at painting, drawing, or any sort of art, and you do not want a quote or a lyric on your cap, then this graduation cap idea is for you. Grab your paint brushes and some acrylic or fabric paint, and start painting on the cap anything you want! In this particular idea, they have only used white paint, but you can go ahead and use the whole spectrum of colors available to you for painting a gorgeous scenery or even just a garden full of flowers. You can also add your name or the university’s logo for more effect.

18. Mischief Managed with Marauder’s Map

The Marauder’s Map from the Harry Potter series and books was perhaps one of the coolest magical things ever. It shows the current location of every person within Hogwarts, along with every hidden passage and hallway in it. So while it will be quite tedious and frankly, impossible to create an exact replica of the Map, it is possible to use a parchment-like or similarly colored paper and draw a part of it on your graduation cap. You can replace the name, Hogwarts, with the name of your university or school and make a pair of footprints with a banner of your name over them. The best graduation cap ideas come from Harry Potter!

19. Best out of waste

This special graduation cap decoration idea is for students of Fish and Wildlife Management, other environmental science students, and people who are simply passionate about the environment and the ongoing climate crisis. You can use your mortar board at the graduation ceremony as a message to your fellow students and the faculty about awareness about such matters by using waste materials commonly found in every house and dorm. These can be bottle caps, like in this example, or small plastic wrappers that can be cut into small pieces and stuck onto the cap, and even ice cream sticks that people usually throw away without a thought. A simple message such as “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” can go a long way.

20. Can I nap now?

All the sleepless nights finishing last-minute assignments and cramming up for the finals are finally in the past and you can finally relax now that you are getting your degree, so this graduation cap idea tells it like it is with the hilarious caption and gorgeous flower and pearl decorations.

21. Measuring tape bow

This idea is for all the fashion students whose weapon of choice for their work is the measuring tape. A fashion student has to use it for pretty much anything and everything involving their work and projects, so why not try to incorporate it into the graduation cap for the big day as well? You can use the measuring tape as a border for the mortar board or create an ostentatious bow like the one in this picture.


Graduation ceremonies are fun and exciting and so is the attire every student gets to wear at such an event, that is, the graduation cap and gown. The gown is a robe worn over formal clothes with a stole and the cap is a square mortar board attached to a skull cap that is used to wear the cap. The cap has a button in the center, where a tassel of a particular color is attached.

There is also a common tradition of turning the tassel from right to left but this is mostly done by high school and undergraduate students to signify the fact that they have earned their degree. (Source) This attire is worn by high school students, undergraduates, graduates, and even students receiving their doctorates at the ceremony. Since most universities allow it, it is common for students to decorate their graduation cap and look for fun graduation cap ideas.

Graduation cap decoration can be done in a lot of different ways. It is best to decide on a theme or a particular color you want your cap to be. For example, if you want a graduation cap with flowers, you can decorate your cap with artificial flowers and leaves by sticking them onto the cap with a glue gun or simply painting the flowers on the cap with fabric paint to create a graduation cap painting. Similarly, adding meaningful or popular quotes, lyrics from your favorite song, relatable dialogues from movies or TV shows, etc. are also great graduation cap ideas. Funny, graduation-themed memes can also be added if you don’t want your graduation cap to be too serious. 

Read more: 300+ Hilarious Knock Knock Jokes to Knock You off Your Chair

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Graduation Cap Ideas

Why do you move your tassel from right to left?

Most graduation caps from all around the world have a tassel that is attached to the button at the center of the square mortar board. These tassels are usually so short in the United Kingdom that they do not extend over the board, but graduation caps in the United States have much longer tassels that extend and hang over the mortar board. They are usually black but sometimes colored according to the subject a student is receiving the degree or diploma in, with gold metallic tassels being reserved for people receiving a doctorate. 
Generally, there is a tradition in the United States of America where all the graduating students turn the tassels of their graduation caps from the right to the left at the instruction of the speaker during the graduation ceremony. This tradition is often called the turning of the tassel and it is supposed to mark the fact that they have earned the degree they are receiving at the graduation ceremony. This is more commonly practiced at high school graduation ceremonies, but some universities also allow students receiving their undergraduate degree to take part in the turning of the tassel, where they also turn their tassel from right to left. Graduate and post-graduate students do not usually take part in this tradition and wear their tassels on the left side from the beginning.

How is a graduation cap supposed to look?

A graduation cap with tassel is part of the graduation cap and gown, that is an attire worn on graduation ceremonies by students receiving an academic degree of some sort. It has a square-shaped top, called a mortar board after the square tray used by brickmasons, with a skull cap under the mortar board. A tassel is usually attached to the center of the graduation cap, secured by a button. Such caps are usually the same color as the graduation gown, which is a robe with a stole and is worn over formal clothes
The skull cap, present under the mortar board, goes over your head and is supposed to sit at least an inch above your eyebrows or on your forehead. The pointed corner of the mortar board is supposed to be on the front and if you are confused about which corner it is, it will usually be mentioned under the cap itself. Since the cap sits so low on the head, it is recommended that you try the graduation cap on beforehand as many people find it hard to create suitable hairstyles, especially people with long hair. A high ponytail or bun is obviously not an option but half up-dos or leaving your hair open might be the trick to having perfect graduation cap hairstyles.

What should I put on my graduation cap?

Graduation caps are the best part of a graduation attire because they can be decorated and embellished in a million ways. However, you should always check your university or school’s policy on decoration of graduation caps beforehand because not all institutions allow it and you may not be allowed to attend the graduation ceremony if you do so. If it is allowed, you might want to visit the nearest arts supply store to get some materials to decorate your graduation cap such as crafting papers, glitter foam sheets, artificial flowers and leaves, crafting jewels and pearls, as well as a glue gun.

As for the ideas, you can decorate your graduation cap with just about anything, as long as it is appropriate for the graduation ceremony. However, it is best to decide on a general theme you want your cap to have such as a specific color or design. You can use just artificial flowers and leaves to decorate the mortar board or create a flower crown around the skull cap beneath it. Adding an impactful quote is always a good idea and you can dress it up with the help of crafting jewels or pearls and some flowers. You can also use a relatable lyric of your favorite song or quote a popular dialogue from a TV show or movie. Recently, students have also started using memes to put on their graduation caps such as Spongebob Squarepants memes.

What do the different hats at graduation mean?

There are not many different types of hats that are worn by recipients of an academic degree at a graduation ceremony. The most common graduation cap is still the square mortar board with a tassel attached to its center and a skull cap beneath it. However, there is another type of graduation cap that is almost exclusively worn by students receiving their graduate and doctoral degrees. This is the graduation tam, which is a bonnet made of velvet or felt material. The bottom part is usually circular and is worn over the head but the top part is a bit stuffed with either six or eight corners so it appears circular. Since this type cap was worn during the Tudor period of England, it is also commonly known as the Tudor bonnet.

The mortar board graduation cap is generally worn by high school students and those in college receiving an undergraduate degree, while the graduation tam or bonnet is worn by graduate or doctoral students. However, the Tudor bonnet is not commonly worn by these students and they continue to wear the mortar board graduation cap in most universities.

Do master’s graduates decorate their caps?

It is common for high school and undergraduate students to decorate their graduation caps for the graduation ceremony but people often wonder if it is appropriate for graduate students to do so as well. It all depends on the policy and rules of your school or university regarding decoration of graduation caps and if they allow it at all. Some universities will request the students to keep the decoration at a minimum and others will be strictly against any decoration at all. However, if your university does allow you to do so, there are many great ideas for decorating graduation caps. You could use influential quotes, popular lyrics or dialogues, or even use memes to make your graduation cap a hilarious one. If you want a minimal look, you can use crafting jewels or pearls to paste onto the borders or corners of your cap, and even a few flowers to embellish your cap for the graduation ceremony. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *