Commencement season is around the corner, which means students nationwide will receive their graduation caps soon. Unfortunately, graduation caps are probably the worst pieces of attire imposed upon students: They’re itchy, they’re ugly, and they’re impossible to keep on your head.
On the bright side, there are ways to jazz up the bland piece of fabric you’re forced to wear. After all, if you have to wear it through the long ceremony, you might as well look good during it! Here are 14 cleverly designed caps to inspire you for your own graduation.
1. It’s important to thank the ones who got you through school
Don’t forget to give credit where credit’s due. As @ampupino pointed out on their cap, they wouldn’t have gotten through four years of school if not for the support of their parents. And they probably wouldn’t have passed those four years of classes if not for coffee.
2. Go over the top with a custom LED screen
Dan Barkus created a custom LED panel with a Bluetooth model that lit up his graduation cap with a variety of graphics, from his school’s glowing logo to a flashing “hi mom.” Did he dare throw this cap up in the air, though?
3. Sometimes you need to be honest about your motivations
Let’s be real: We all want our dogs to have good lives. Graduating senior @abbieleavell commissioned this cap from @jayroe_co, which has a gorgeous border of hand-painted flowers and the most honest message of them all.
4. Even if your Hogwarts acceptance letter never came in the mail…
Redditor u/teambadguy painted this portrait of Hogwarts on their girlfriend’s graduation cap. The illustration depicts the magical castle against a stunning night sky, along with the perfect Harry Potter quote about growing up.
5. Plan world domination with Cards Against Humanity
The game Cards Against Humanity is known for pairing wild scenarios with risqué answers, but @rui_the_day took it a little further with this painted cap. Step one for world domination: graduate.
6. Tuition costs an arm and a leg, right?
Redditor u/devgal is an amputee, and decided to have some fun with her graduation cap. Sure, she’s short $45,000 of tuition, but she has a college degree!
7. Are Hamilton references still in?
Hamilton has totally dominated pop culture over the last few years. If you’re young, scrappy, and hungry like Alexander Hamilton once was, consider adding a touch of the Broadway musical on to your cap this year.
8. Turn your overwhelming student debt into a pun
Forget Game of Thrones. The real saga will be paying off the loans that put you through school in the first place. Don’t forget: interest is coming.
9. Speaking of puns, here’s a pretty clever one.
For her commencement ceremony, @briannedanielle_ crafted this glittery pun. With four years of college under her belt, she’s officially hotter by one degree.
10. This Rick and Morty cap includes season three’s best character.
Lawyer Morty doesn’t do much law, but the Council of Ricks keep him around “because he’s fun” (and everyone’s favorite hype man). u/pmanalex decided to include the character on their cap to cheer them on during commencement.
11. Make Drake proud.
Drake’s If You’re Reading This, It’s Too Late debuted at number one. And you can debut as number one at commencement with this cap inspired by the mixtape’s cover art.
12. Inspired by RuPaul? You better WERK.
Redditor u/KiaraMel made this drag race graduation cap inspired by RuPaul’s Drag Race contestant Bob the Drag Queen. Bob the Drag Queen’s single, Purse First, is a confidence booster. Of course, the graduation version of the song is less about making a statement during first impressions and more about the flood of money owed for tuition.
13. Represent Wakanda with a Black Panther cap
Instagram artist @mr._on painted this incredible Black Panther mask for a graduation cap commision. The wildly successful superhero movie topped $1.1 billion in box offices worldwide. Inspired? Accept your diploma with pride with a Black Panther–themed cap.
14. Four years later and nothing stuck
What’s more adorable that Dory from Finding Nemo? The lovable blue tang fish has a hard time remembering things she just learned — something that sleep-deprived students can definitely relate to.
Whether it’s a pop culture reference, a wise quote, or a sarcastic take on student loans, decorated graduation caps make sitting through a commencement just a little more bearable. What’s on your graduation cap?