Graduation cap decoration ideas to help you stand out in a crowd

A variety of DIY graduation cap decoration ideas that use Hallmark wrapping paper, cards, balloons, pom poms, cut out sparkly letters, and more.

In what seems to be an endless sea of your school’s colors, it can be hard to stand out from the crowd. And while you can pay professionals to make customized graduation caps, showing off your unique style and experience doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. 

Whether you’re a soon-to-be grad looking for what will best represent these past few formative years or you’re the parent of a graduate who needs to be able to spot their kid in a crowd, these graduation cap decoration ideas are the perfect way to stand out at a graduation ceremony.

Inspired? Create and share by tagging @HallmarkStores.

A DIY graduation cap decoration idea—the graduation cap is covered with a piece of chipboard that's wrapped in Hallmark wrapping paper and has gold, glittery letters on it that read,

There are a couple things to consider before you get decorating. First thing’s first: Is the cap a rental? Many schools require caps to be returned in the condition they were given. 

The good news is there are endless ways to use removable and recyclable pieces to make a grad cap that doesn’t sacrifice style AND will guarantee you your security deposit back. Try this DIY graduation cap decoration using wrapping paper and Hallmark cards.

Materials needed for this DIY graduation cap decoration idea include a grad cap, a piece of chip board the size of the mortar on the cap, wrapping paper, tape, glue and hot glue, glitter, a foam brush, scissors, star-shaped confetti, our free printable, a pencil, ruler, and a craft knife.

What you’ll need:

  • Hallmark wrapping paper (we used this one)
  • Tape
  • Crayola craft glue
  • Hot glue
  • Gold glitter
  • Chipboard cut to size of graduation cap
  • Pencil
  • Craft knife
  • Scissors
  • Foam craft brush
  • Ruler
  • Black star confetti
  • Free printable 
  • Spool or other small circular guide about the size of a grad cap button
  • Rented/owned graduation cap

A woman's hands carefully cut out the letters from our free DIY graduation cap decoration idea printable with scissors and a craft knife.

Step 1:

Cut out all letters from the printable, using your craft knife for the smaller areas.

A woman covering a piece of chipboard with blue wrapping paper with a gold foil splatter pattern.

Step 2:

Wrap the chipboard in wrapping paper. Secure folds with tape. 

A woman's hands cutting a circle out of the middle of the piece of wrapping paper-covered chipboard with a craft knife.

Step 3:

Use a ruler to draw diagonal lines from corner to corner to find the center of the chipboard. Next, draw a circle using your small guide. Use a craft knife to cut the circle out of the chipboard and wrapping paper.

A woman's hand sprinkles gold glitter over the cut out letters, which have been covered in glue.

Step 4:

Place your letters on a piece of scrap paper that you don’t mind getting messy. Using your foam brush, paint glue on each letter and sprinkle with glitter, making sure to cover everything. It’s easiest to work on a few letters at a time so the glue doesn’t dry on you!

Step 5:

Once the letters are dry, attach them to your wrapped chipboard with hot glue. Attach the black star confetti around the letters.

Pro tip: It may be helpful to lay out everything first before gluing it down.

A woman's hands clip the completed chipboard that reads,

Step 6:

Use binder clips to attach the finished art to the top of the cap. This helps keep the hat rental-friendly!

A graduation cap that's been decorated with our free DIY graduation cap decoration idea; it is covered with blue and gold wrapping paper and gold glitter letters that read,


Wow, you did that thing! Can’t believe it…so proud of you. 

Need more ideas?  

A variety of graduation caps decoration ideas using Hallmark wrapping paper and cards.

We love all these ideas our creative team dreamed up: 

Sayings for your DIY graduation cap decoration ideas  

She is the moment

No other class but the class of ’23 gets this moment to graduate. This is true of every graduation, but how many people get to say they graduated in the Eras era? 

Take some inspiration from the greatest graduation commencement speaker of all time, Honorary Doctor Taylor Swift, and use lyrics that resonate with your school experience. “Long story short, I survived” seems apt after four years of grinding. (Adapted from “Long Story Short” by Taylor Swift) 

 You can also take a note from another icon of the moment: Both you and Miley can say, “I can buy myself flowers.” (Adapted from “Flowers” by Miley Cyrus)

 There are also not many people who get to say they graduated during the Paris Hilton renaissance. Pay homage with a frequently used quote: “Graduation? That’s hot.”

Looking for more ways to capture our current moment?  Try a tribute to trending phrases or shows: 

  • It’s giving graduate 
  • Gradu-slay-tion 
  • This was NOTHING like Euphoria. (Thankfully. 🫣)

Looking for more quotes and quips for graduation inspiration? Look no further. 

Thank the ones who helped along the way

Another direction to take your cap decorating is to thank the people who helped you get to where you are. Graduation can be a group effort, and it’s so important to be grateful for friends, family, coaches and teachers as you move on to bigger and better things. Here are a few people to keep in mind.


They’re our biggest supporters and proudest fans. Let’s be honest: Graduation day is really all for them. Honor them with a few sentimental words of thanks for giving you everything you needed to succeed, especially as a first generation college graduate. 

Try decorating the graduation cap with a photo of you and them on your very first day of school ever. Look how far we’ve made it, Mama. 🥹


Time to make BFF bracelets all grown up. You can always go with the classic Best Friends Forever route on your cap, especially if you’re heading your separate ways after school. 

You can also find a quote you both (or all) resonate with and split it up. Something like “She believed she could…so she did…” (I mean, you’re already finishing each other’s sentences as it is.) 


Make a collage from meaningful cards, notes or other mementos they’ve given you over the years. Keep their words with you as you embark on a new journey.

Looking for more ways to thank everyone who’s made your graduation great? Check out our ideas on what to write in a graduation thank-you note.

Ready to get super crafty with it?  

Get your friends together and have a graduation cap decoration party. Bring glue, tape, scrap paper, old magazines, gift wrap—or anything else you can think of—and go to town on some of these ideas:

  • 2023 is the year of the vision board. What better place to manifest your future than your own graduation ceremony? Include photos that visualize the kind of life you want to live, quotes and words that inspire you and people you want to emulate.
  • Are you and your friends Gen Z grandmas? Create a cool crocheted or knitted graduation cap cover. You’ve been known as the one who knits in class constantly—why not keep up that reputation at graduation?  
  • Worried about half your closet of sorority intramural shirts becoming irrelevant the moment of graduation? Break out the sewing machine and create a mini T-shirt quilt to cover your grad cap! Quilting is so in right now, and the classic college frocket is the perfect size for little squares to cover your cap. Using even just one sentimental t-shirt or scarf can be a meaningful and rental-friendly way to sum up the significance of the past four years.

However you decide to decorate your graduation cap, it should a representation of your style, educational experience and most importantly, you. Graduation is your moment, so choose decoration that lives up to everything you want that moment to be.


Looking for more useful or fun graduation ideas? Check these out: