When I graduated, I decided to decorate my graduation cap with something that would allow my family to spot me from the stands, and also personalize it to make it an even cooler keepsake. Well my husband graduated last weekend with his mechanical engineering degree, and not only did I decorate his, but I also held a cap decorating party at my house to encourage of a few of the other graduating students to do something with theirs. Since my original post is so popular, I figured I would post these to give ideas and instructions.
My original plan was for the planetary gears to move. I bought a small remote control car, and was going to take the motor out of it and mount it to the cap, then have a small belt that went from it, to the planetary. However, I was going to have to add an additional piece of wood to the gear (for the spokes), and Cody told me he didn’t want to added profile. ….: / So no moving gears. But how cool would that have been?
Important Note: Before getting started on any design, make sure you know which direction is the front and which is the back! The last thing you want is to forget and it be upside down on the day on graduation. 1) To make the border, I grabbed two boxes of pan head Phillips screws (200 total). Note: I chose this style because once I cut off the head, it would lay flat against the cap. The length doesn’t matter, since I planned on cutting it all off, so I picked the shortest ones they had.
Note: This part of the process took close to 3 hours, which might seem like a lot, but just remember that you don’t graduate every day. I would really stress for you to pull out all the stops and make your cap exactly the way you want it. Mine still hangs on my wall and this one will be right next to it.
3) Since the school colors are blue and orange, I bought two can of spray paint (for metal) and painted the screw heads. While I was at it, I also painted a few 1/4 nuts blue to use for the 2014.
WilkerDon’t: I first cut out gears on some 1/4″ plywood but they turned out awful, so I scrapped them and bought some MDF instead. I would definitely recommend using MDF.
5) To get an idea of how everything was going to look, I traced the cap size onto some spare cardboard and started playing around until I ended up with something I liked.
Note: 1/4″ nuts were too large to spell out MAE, so I grabbed some smaller ones.
6) Once I had my design down, I grabbed the cap and started glueing everything in place. I used E6000 again. (It can be found at Walmart, or Hobby Lobby)
I ended up thinking there was too much blue, so I used a Q-tip and acetone to take off the blue on the nuts.
Kyle lives in Texas but was born in Canada so he wanted the shape of Texas but for it to be painted like the Canadian flag.
4) Then taped off the red, and painted on the white.
I think every one turned out great and on the day of graduation, it was so easy to spot every single one. : ) I don’t know about the rest of the guys, but I plan to put Cody’s in a shadow box as well as some of the other momentous I collected for him on that day.
If you are reading this post because you are graduating….congratulations. : ) You rock.