For my brother’s graduation this past Sunday, I decorated his cap for him, as many students do, to reflect their interests and personalities. The whole thing was done in acrylic paint and sharpie markers. Thanks to two years in college, this cap looks a lot better than my own did at my high school graduation.
Acrylic paint is a good way to decorate these caps because it dries quickly, is opaque one to three coats, and when it dries, it is water-proof and won’t smudge in the rain. Sharpies are useful for detail work and can be used in combination with a straight-edge to make nice clean straight lines. Graduation caps can also be decorated with spray paint, and air-brush paint because these are also opaque mediums and will sit nicely on top of the fabric. If you have access to a curves needle, or are really patient with a straight one, you can decorate your graduation cap with buttons, ribbons, and embroidery.
My best advice to you when decorating a cap is to draw a picture of it first. Draw a square on a piece of paper, and draw what you want on your cap. Draw a couple of ideas, and pick the one you like best, and copy it as accurately as you can onto the cap. You can use soap or chalk to lightly sketch out your idea onto the hat. Once all paint is completely dry, you can use a damp cloth to wipe away that soap or chalk markings. Just be sure not to lay on the chalk so thick that the paint cannot get under it to adhere to the fabric.