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Decorating Graduation Cap [Ideas + How-tos]

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Mar 09, 2022• Proven solutions

The graduation day represents the end of a long journey for students, which is why it is hardly surprising that some of them want to make this day a bit more special. In recent years, the practice of decorating the graduation cap has become more popular, as graduates often express their creativity in this manner.

However, finding a unique decoration idea or the actual steps of decorating a mortarboard can be difficult since so many of them can already be found on social media. You are at the right place if you would like to find out how to decorate a graduation cap or if you are simply searching for a good decoration idea because in this article we are going to take you through dos and don’ts of decorating a mortarboard.

Which Messages to Send With Your Mortarboard?

The message you include in your mortarboard decoration needs to mean something to you, even if it is a joke it needs to be a personal one. The tradition of decorating graduation caps started in the 1960s and over time students have used it as an opportunity to express themselves or the values they believe in.

Decorate Graduation Cap Ideas

Most graduates use the mortarboard decoration to highlight their accomplishments, which is the reason why these decorations include a reference to the subject they majored in. Besides celebrating their achievements, students often express their political views through mortarboard decorations, which is why it is not uncommon to see graduation caps with inscriptions like Black Lives Matter or similar political messages.

Decorate Graduation Cap

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Whichever message you choose to include in your mortarboard decoration, the important thing is to express it in your unique way. You can let your imagination run free because graduation day is your day after all.

How to Decorate a Mortarboard?

Even though the process of decorating a graduation cap isn’t necessarily complicated, you still need to have a plan. Here are some of the steps you will have to take while decorating a mortarboard.

1. Choose the mortarboard design

Once you know which message you would like to send with your graduation cap, you can dedicate your attention to the search for the design that will enable you to express this message. The design of the mortarboard depends on whether you want to include a movie quote, make a pun or a comment on gender or racial equality.

The topic you choose will determine the visual side of the decoration since you can include anything from images of fantasyland cities to embodied letters. The only important thing is that the visual and textual elements of the decoration match.

2. Search for Inspiration

In case you are still not sure how you would like to decorate your graduation cap, the Internet is the perfect place to search for inspiration. Pinterest, as well as a wide range of similar websites, offer hundreds of images that can help you discover the theme your decoration should explore.

You don’t have to be hasty, because a decorated mortarboard is most likely going to become precious memorabilia you will want to keep forever. The only important thing is to choose the idea that reflects your ideas and attitudes.

3. Get the Materials

Once you know exactly what you want to do, you will also know which materials you are going to need in order to materialize your idea. You can find most of the supplies you are going to need in arts and craft stores, but it may also be a good idea to make the list of supplies before you go shopping. This may help you avoid buying items you are not going to use or forgetting items you need.

Standard materials include scissors, ribbons, silk flowers, glue guns or fabric paints to name a few, but the supplies you should get depend on the decoration you’re trying to make. Remember to remove the tassel from the mortarboard before you start decorating it, in order to avoid damaging it.

4. Don’t lose the tassel

After you’re done decorating your mortarboard, you should attach the tassel back to it. Even though this part of a graduation cap doesn’t seem overly important many college graduates decide to keep it and even frame it next to their diplomas.

Furthermore, the turning of the tassel symbolizes the transition from a student to a graduate, which is why you shouldn’t lose it before the graduation ceremony is over.


Decorating a graduation cap can be a great way to gather hundreds of likes and views on social media or to make a statement about the issues you find important. Even if you have to return the graduation cap after the ceremony there are still a lot of different ways to decorate it and make your graduation day a little more special. Do you have mortarboard decoration ideas? Leave a comment and share them with us.

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Ollie Mattison
Ollie Mattison is a writer and a lover of all things video.
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Ollie Mattison

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