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How To: Decorate A Graduation Cap

Having walked at BGSU’s commencement twice now, I’ve had the opportunity to decorate my graduation cap twice as well.  I wanted to tell you how I made the decisions to decorate each cap as well as give you tips on how I got mine to work for me.

First off – after Googling “Graduation Caps” I was overwhelmed by how many amazing designs are out there!  For inspiration for your own cap (or to wish you could do it again), check out these posts:

30 Epic Custom Grad Caps

28 Creative Graduation Caps

Also, check out Pinterest for great ideas!

I based both of my graduation caps on what was important, or significant to me, throughout my experience prior to the BIG DAY!

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My Master’s cap is on the left, my Bachelor’s cap is on the right.

Bachelor’s Cap: I graduated in 2012 with my Bachelor of Science in Dietetics. I was heavily involved in several organizations and work experiences in my undergrad, but I wanted to walk with a few in particular.  I used stickers from the local craft store to decorate the cap.  Tip: Don’t make it harder than it has to be!  It would’ve taken me forever to paint and glue everything above, but the stickers look nice and took a fraction of the time.  It was easier clean-up, too 😉  I chose fruit stickers to highlight my wellness experiences as well as my degree, a fleur-de-lis to represent my membership in Alpha Phi Omega, and the A “heart” to reflect “Alpha Love” and Alpha Omicron Pi.

Graduate Cap: I just graduated with my Master of Public Health degree in Health Promotion and Education.  This cap was much harder for me to decide how to design.  I didn’t know how to highlight everything I wanted to, so I went with how I got to this point and how I’ve decided to live my life: WITH PASSION.   I put my degree, my school, a 26.2 to represent marathon training (twice) through this experience and what that taught me, and a dumbbell to represent my Falcon Fitness family and everything being part of this work team has brought and taught me.  Tip: Make it meaningful to YOU, not just something cool because you saw it on Pinterest.  If you love Dr. Who and want to put a Tardis on your cap, awesome.  If you don’t, don’t just do it because it looks cool.

My graduate cap was a little more complicated to decorate.  I did use Elmer’s glue and it took a little extra thought to make everything work.  I purchased glittery stickers to use for the letters and numbers, but the glitter stickers would NOT stick to the glitter paper.  Tip: Glitter stickers and glitter paper are AWESOME, but stickers don’t always work on glitter paper. 

Another tip: I decorated EVERYTHING on the base glitter paper (orange) before glueing the whole piece to the cap.  If I messed up, I didn’t want to have a mess of a cap!

How I Did It:

1.  Cut the base (orange) glitter paper to fit the size of your cap.
2.  Don’t forget to cut a hole to put your tassel on!
3.  Cut the border (blue) glitter paper in strips to glue to each side.  Glue to each side.
4.  Add your embellishments – stickers, other designs (dumbbell, heart, etc) – glue those down.  Place a sheet of wax paper on top and then a heavy book.  Walk away and let dry for several hours.
5.  If everything looks great and you’re ready to glue it to your cap, carefully place on your cap and glue down using craft glue.  I used binder clips to hold everything in place until it dried.

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As you can see, I did make some last minute ‘design changes’ to reflect other ideas I had, but overall this is how I did it.

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Steph used sequins, puffy paint, gems, and glitter to get her effect!

When you graduated (or will graduate), did you decorate your cap?  I’d love to see a photo!

 

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