The Best Graduation Cap Ideas to Help You Stand Out in the Crowd

Before you throw those hats in the air, make sure you’ve added your own special touch. 

Lost in a sea of matching gowns, there’s only one way to individualize your graduation day apparel: decorating your cap. For many students, it’s the opportunity to showcase their personal style, favorite quotes, or even a punny joke. For others, it’s a chance to share their plans and hopes for their entrance into the real world.

Whether you’re the class clown, a pop culture buff, or the future president, there’s a perfect cap for you. And if you didn’t major in all things DIY, calligraphers and other artists have countless graduation cap designs for you to choose from. With a range of prices, you’ll be able to find the best graduation cap ideas within your budget.

Real Simple rounded up a few of the best finds from Etsy and Zazzle to help inspire your graduation day look. So prepare to move that tassel from right to left and throw up the most creative cap in the crowd with one of these options.


Add a Bow

Photo by

Want to add something to your cap without the fuss that comes with glitter and paint? Try adding a bow to the back, like Sheri Thomas did here. The preppy look—complete with a monogram and graduation year—is both classic and affordable. Not to mention, you’ll definitely stand out in the crowd with this feminine accessory.

To buy: $13,


Add a Funny Quote

Photo by

Whether or not you’ve secured an office job, you can channel your inner Michael Scott or other favorite sitcom character with a relevant quote like this one. The Office’s iconic boss was hoping for the perfect time to proclaim, “May your hats fly as high as your dreams.” As an ode to the one and only Michael Scott, make his dreams come true with this clever cap.

To buy: $24,


Go the Nostalgic Route

Photo by

You probably don’t live in a pineapple under the sea, but this Spongebob Squarepants cap will provide both comedy and nostalgia to any graduation ceremony. Send all of your classmates and graduation attendees back to the late 90s and early 2000s with this fun reference to all the time you spent at the library.

To buy: $15,


Add a Motivational Statement

Photo by

Earlier this year, Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell silenced Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren during a debate over attorney general nominee Jeff Sessions. Part of his statement—“nevertheless she persisted”—quickly turned into a popular slogan for the feminist movement. Show your own persistence (and political views) with this quote over a simple backdrop, like this one from Zazzle.

To buy: $16,


Tout Your Favorite TV Show

Photo by

Combine your favorite TV show with a play on words about graduation. This Game of Thrones-inspired cap by Vicky Houston pokes fun at the high cost of earning a college degree. Tell onlookers, “The real world is coming” with this epic tribute to the show you probably binged while you were supposed to be studying for finals.

To buy: $60,


Make It Punny

Photo by

Nothing beats a classic pun, especially when it celebrates your final day of school. Geri Martin of Glitter Momz created this tongue-in-cheek cap using gold glitter cardstock, sticker letters, and a fun diploma decal. As Martin says, “You’ve earned it—so why not show it off?”

To buy: $24.50,