A guide to designing your graduation cap


By Riley Knight

This story was initially published May 3, 2018, but this design can be used for any year’s graduating seniors.

Update – May 4, 2018: We have a new graduation cap design video.


If you’re an artistic type who has been planning your graduation cap since the day you received your TCU acceptance letter, you can stop reading now.

If you cringe at the thought of drawing anything other than a stick figure, don’t worry — here’s a step-by-step, foolproof guide to decorating you graduation cap.

So, to create a graduation cap that will rival the Mona Lisa, you will need a few materials.


Construction paper/Decorative Paper

Hot glue gun and glue sticks




Extra: jewels, glitter, stickers, markers

A collection of materials for designing a graduation cap: a hot glue gun and sticks, purple paper, a ruler and jeweled stickers.
Gather your materials for designing your own graduation cap.

Step 1:

To start, measure your graduation cap with a ruler and cut the paper to match the dimensions. Since I’m a sophomore and don’t necessarily have a graduation cap, I’m using the construction paper as a makeshift cap. Using the hot glue gun, glue the paper to the top of the hat. Hopefully, by now you have a general idea of how you want your masterpiece to look.

Starting sketching your design on your graduation cap topper.

Step 2:

Using your ruler or a stencil, sketch out your design with a pencil. Once you are satisfied with your design, break out the paint. Paint or color in your design (however your heart desires). For paint, it is best to use two coats for a smoother, finished look.

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Step 3:

Now for the fun part… Here is where you get to personalize your cap. Using my hot glue gun, I glued jewels on the edge of my cap and around the letters. After adding your personal flourish, sit back and admire your work.

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Of course, each cap will be different and personal to each graduate. For those who are struggling to come up with a design, here’s a list of possible themes to get those creative juices flowing.

Pizza theme – Decorate your cap as a large pizza slice to symbolize the amount of Toppers you’ve consumed in your four years.

TV show theme – Proudly own your Netflix obsession by modeling your cap after your favorite show, which you may or may not spend hours binge-watching.

Current events theme – Nothing will remind you more of your wonderful senior year like dedicating your cap to what is going on in the news. Try a wonderful Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton theme – oh, senior memories.

Social Media handle theme – Rack up those follows while accepting your diploma by putting your Twitter handle or Instagram username in large letters. Bonus points if you actually gain followers.

Nothing – You can always go against the crowd by doing absolutely nothing to your cap. No decorations, no anything. Nothing says, “I’m over it, get me out of here,” like a blank graduation cap.