20 Grad Cap Designs Worth DIYing

Last weekend, I had the pleasure (although some people thought I was crazy to give up my Saturday and get up early) of volunteering for our University’s graduation ceremony. The best part by far was to see the ladies and gents that had volunteered as tour guides and Ambassadors for me walking across that stage to shake the hand of the University President and receive their diploma. It was so special!

Okay, so I’ll admit that I started to feel less and less sentimental as I stood for 2.5 hours on stage stacking all of the address cards of the graduates in order so that they receive the correct pictures, but hey. It was still a great time. 🙂 I saw several grad caps that caught my eye and either made me 1) feel in awe because they were so beautiful, or 2) crack up because they were so clever.

Also, it was my 5 year anniversary from graduating from California Baptist University in Rocklin, CA just yesterday! (making me feel quite old, but still sentimental yet again.) So, in honor of all of the graduations that will be happening this month and next, I wanted to compile my 20 favorite grad cap designs across the internet. But wait, there’s more! I have rated them all what I assume to be their difficulty level, with my years of scrapbooking experience and my own grad cap designing. So take a look at what you think you could tackle and give it a go! You’ll be glad you did for all of the timeless pictures.


Classic Inspirational Looks

1. Dream Big Baby White Cap

I don’t know if I would purposely change, for instance, a black cap into a white cap just to do this design, but if your school has white grad robes and hats– go for it! It’s a classy, pretty design with a spunky yet quite appropriate message about dreaming big, baby.

Difficulty rating: 4/10 (if you buy each of the pieces from the craft store and have a white cap)

source: Exclusively, Paige


2. “And the Story Goes On” Newspaper Collage Design

In a similar fashion, this one was made almost entirely white, but with white newspaper. The reason I think this could work on a black cap is if you tie it back in with your black grad robes with black words and an adorable black satin bow. (I saw SO many satin bows on grad caps this year, it must be a trend! You can either glue them to the bottom corner of the square of the cap or underneath the brim of the hat so that you only see it peeking from underneath. Either way, so cute! You can buy them right from the craft store tied and cut, or you can be a little more daring and make your own from a satin ribbon, which may be cheaper.) If you use newspaper, add some cute flowers to make it a little more fun and tie in a reference about the “story.”

Difficulty rating: 5/10



3. “The Journey IS the Destination” Compass Design

This one is beautiful, but may be difficult! I would suggest getting either iron-on alphabet letters from the craft store or using tattoo iron-on paper and creating/printing your own design which you will cut and place. Or, to make possibly more simple, you could design it all on black scrapbooking paper with scrapbook supplies and then glue that on to your black cap. No one will notice if it is paper on cloth if you place an elegant border around the edges. Isn’t it gorgeous?? Perhaps it is worth the effort.

Difficulty rating: 9/10



4. Gold Flakes “The Best is Yet to Come”

Source: Her Given Hair Blog

This one is relatively easy AND beautiful. Does it really get better than that? If you have a black cap and love gold, your first step will be to buy some gold flakes from the craft store. (Not so sure it is real gold, but does it really matter for beauty’s sake?) Also grab some metallic gold paint. You will need to practice painting or find a friend who is good at calligraphy fonts, but it really isn’t as difficult as it looks. You essentially start with a similar type of cursive with just thin lines, and then you go back over all of the lines on each letter that are a down stroke so that they are thick. And voila! Then, of course, place glue on the corners of the cap and then sprinkle gold flakes.

Difficulty rating: 5/10


5. “Great big beautiful tomorrow” Narrow Font

Source: Mashable

This one is a cool font because it reminds us of an Instagram story, but you don’t technically have to do this exact same font to use this great quote and overall look. However, if you want to copy this one to a tee, it appears to me that you will need to use tattoo iron-on paper that you have printed from you computer, cut and then iron on. Or, as I stated earlier, do it all on black craft paper and then glue it to the square top. You will need to cut a slit in the middle of the paper if you do this so that you can put the tassel “button” through the middle to hang the tassel from. I love the quote and look of it, but I bet it is a little difficult with such a large and thin font. If you love it, go for it and let me know how you pulled it off!

Difficulty rating: 8/10


6. “If Your Dreams Don’t Scare You, They Aren’t Big Enough” Flower Design

Source: hercampus.com

If your grad caps and robes are dark blue, or if you want to use a similar design on a different color cap, I believe this one will look great in a variety of ways! However, you should know that you will have to paint the words and flowers if you want to mimic what you see here. Just follow my instructions above for the calligraphy look. Also, I would highly recommend trying a white squeeze puff paint for the words on this one instead of a brush: they work wonders!

Difficulty level: 6/10


7. Pink & Black Map Cap


If you will be, have been or want to have a lot of travel in your future, this one is perfect for you! I especially think it looks great on black caps. You will need to print and cut carefully the pink outlines of all continents, but I think the words are very doable with just white puff paint. You can do this one, and you will definitely

Difficult level: 4/10


Glitter & Bow Designs

8. “I Never Dreamed of Success… I Worked For It” Glitter Design

The bow underneath the brim of the cap is what I was telling you about earlier. A peek-a-boo bow, if you will! If you are the type of girl that loves glitter, this one’s for you. I believe that this one was made by simply buying a piece of glitter cardstock and letters from the craft store, assembled like a scrapbook and then glued to the hat. I believe they then added a border and a button to the middle, although you could also poke the original button through any craft paper with just a slit. Plus, what a quote for a strong smart woman, amirite?


Difficulty Level: 5/10


9. Simple Glitter and Bow Design

For this one, they may have done it a little differently than the “scrapbook” method. You could literally buy adhesive spray and cover the top with the spray, then repeatedly sprinkle rainbow glitter all over it. The most important feature is the big silk bow, which, as I said, you can buy pre-tied or tie yourself. Then, hot glue letters from the craft store to the bow. Do whatever letters you want, but I love the idea of doing your initials and graduation year!

Source: Pop Sugar

Difficulty Level: 3/10


Hilarious Designs

10. Thanks to My Sponsors

I love this one because it’s hilarious AND you can get as creative as you want! I will say that gluing paper to these types of fabrics on the caps is pretty easy. So all you would need to do for this one is to hot glue 3-D letters, print out the things that got you through college in the first place, cut and glue them to the hat. Try not to do too many though, because I did a lot of different words to explain where I have been and where I am going, and I wish I had made it a bit more minimalist like the classic looks above. But live and learn I suppose. Anyway, it’s a great tribute to your college experience that will bring a smile to anyone’s face.

Source: Pop Sugar

Difficulty Level: 7/10 (time consuming)


11. “Yo Homes, Smell Ya Later”

This one is the PERFECT tribute to any 90’s kid! Starting with either a blue grad cap or painting the cap light blue, just print the letters from this logo, then print a picture of The Fresh Prince (or search for a cool drawing, there are several on the internet!) and glue it to the hat.

Source: Cheezburger.com

Difficulty Level: 3/10


12. Dobby is Free design

If you love Harry Potter as much as I do, you may just have to take advantage of this design. Everyone who is cool will totally get the reference. Just grab some lower-case letters from the craft store as well as some lightning bolts and print, cut and paste Dobby holding a diploma!


Difficult Level: 5/10


13. Burgundy & Lace Office Quote

Now something like THIS is exactly what I want for my next grad cap when I get my Master’s in Business! (Hashtag class of ‘2020) I just love that it is a beautiful and elegant design while incorporating a hilarious quote from The Office. I mean, funny AND gorgeous? Sign me up. Plus, it looks rather simple! Just do the calligraphy method I was referencing earlier with a puff paint pen and buy a pretty lace border from the craft store. I’d like to think that Michael Scott would be proud.


Difficulty Level: 6/10


14. About Damn Time (‘Scuse My French) Design

Another example of how funny can combine with pretty. I love it’s edgy sense of humor making fun of yourself for long it took (or just felt it took) to graduate. Just paint it gold and do the puff paint calligraphy, and then surround it in paper flowers. You can get a tutorial on the paper Anemone flowers (that’s what they are called if they have a black center here and the tutorial for paper roses here. By the way, I was just jokingly saying “‘scuze my French” in the title, but wouldn’t that be hilarious to add in tiny letter below? ESPECIALLY if you studied French!

Source: @digraphsanddonuts

Difficulty Level: 9/10 (for every single flower if you did them yourself)


Disney Inspirational

15. Beauty and the Beast Quote, Gold Paint on Black Cap

This one is beautiful as well, and appears pretty simple if you feel confident in your painting abilities. I think it would be a little too ambitious for me, as the puff paint would likely have too thin of a line for the larger words, but in terms of supplies, all you would need is a black grad cap and gold paint. If you’re artistic, I say go for it, because it will be so worth it!


Difficulty Level: 8/10 (for the necessity of having painting skills)


Disney Funny

16. Finding Dory Forgetful Design

I saw this one at the University graduation and DIED laughing! It’s so perfect! You can do a design with a grad hat and diploma photoshopped on to Dory, or you can use a normal picture of Dory, but whichever you choose, it is simple and hilarious and could probably work on any color of grad cap.

Source: @sparkle.feminist

Difficulty Level: 2/10


17. Monsters Inc BSN Design

This one is also simple, and works perfectly for a Nursing diploma! Just find the letters and picture that you want to use, cut and glue! You can also use puff paint or letters from the craft store to create your name and year on the side.

Source: Buzzfeed

Difficulty Level: 3/10


18. Toy Story “Next Story” Design

If you’re a big fan of Toy Story like I am, this one is for you. I believe this one used a lot of felt which is pretty perfect for the toy world, but you could accomplish it with pain as well, whichever you feel more skilled in. Plus, if you’ve seen Toy Story 3, it is so perfect for Andy’s story too, as he moves on from his toys. *tear* Did anyone else cry in the theater while watching that?

Source: SweetyHigh.com

Difficulty Level: 7/10


19. Tinker Bell “Never Grow Up” Design

Need I say more about how adorable and appropriate for graduating this cap is? Plus, it looks pretty simple. Just get lowercase glitter letters, glitter ribbon for the border and little rhinestones to show the path Tinkerbell flew. Then print, cut and glue Tinkerbell as the perfect finishing touch!


Difficulty Level: 4/10


20. The Best Scene in “The Grinch” Design

This is the best scene in The Grinch, so it only makes sense to put on your grad cap, especially when it is about the Grinch contemplating going to a fancy occasion, just like your graduation ceremony. However, it looks like it would take a little effort, because there are a lot of small words. This is where your white puff paint comes into play!

Source: ListingMore.com

Difficulty Level: 8/10


And these 20 options just barely scratch the surface of genius designs you can rock at your graduation, whether it be middle school (I never got one, but apparently that is a thing?), high school, Bachelor’s, Masters, PHD… it will be sure to make the day even more special and the pictures even more memorable. Just be careful if your school throws your caps that you design it to be sturdy and you keep your eye on it in the air so that you can find it again!

Your turn: have you or will you try one of these designs? Did you use a different design you are proud of? Let me know in the comments section! And as always, be sure to subscribe by email for more DIY content.

2 thoughts on “20 Grad Cap Designs Worth DIYing

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