How to Decorate a Cap & Gown


Most graduation caps and gowns leave something to be desired in the realms of fashion and individuality. One way to express yourself and stand out at your graduation ceremony is to decorate your cap and gown. Potential decorations can be fashionable, sentimental, or symbolic of honors, extracurricular activities or travels. If the ceremony takes place in a setting with raised seating, decorating your cap is appropriate because the spectators get a clear view of the top of your cap as they watch the ceremony.

Things You'll Need

  • Glue
  • Craft supplies


  • Ask your school administration if there are any rules or restrictions regarding decorating caps and gowns.

  • Purchase graduation cords, sashes or stoles to decorate your gown. Types of sashes and stoles include school colors or symbols, international colors or flags if you are from another country or studied abroad, and sashes and stoles that correspond with vocational aspirations.

  • Affix pins awarded by school officials to the front of the graduation gown.


  • Trace the outline of your graduation cap onto a piece of paper to plan a design.

  • Place elements such as letters cut out from paper of a contrasting color, rhinestones, silk flowers, photos and chenille stems on the paper as a practice run. If a particular person, organization, sport or activity was meaningful to you during your education, putting this on the cap is a way to honor and celebrate that.

  • Modify the design until you find something that you like, and that fits in the space with which you have to work.

  • Orient your graduation cap so the front of the cap is farthest away from you.

  • Glue the elements laid out on the practice paper onto the actual graduation cap. Allow glue to dry completely before moving the cap.

Tips & Warnings

  • Refrain from decorating your graduation cap with anything that stands more than an inch or two off the top of the cap. The people sitting behind you will appreciate your consideration.
  • Typically, the school administration defines the qualifying requirements to wear honor cords and specifies the color and type of cord.
  • If you do not follow your school administration's regulations regarding decorating your cap and gown, it may prohibit you from participating in the ceremony.
  • Some schools allow only caps to be decorated, or require that gown decorations be in the school colors or be restricted to school-issued honor cords. Other schools prohibit decorating caps or gowns at all.

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  • Photo Credit Ben Bloom/Photodisc/Getty Images
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