Get graduation-ready with these 6 easy ideas

6 May 2022

The end of Spring high school sports rapidly approaches, and pictures of proms around the U.S. already fill our social feeds. National College Decision Day came and went, and the rest of the school year for parents of seniors now focuses on the final activities planned for the celebration of one big event — graduation.

As a parent of a high school senior myself, it’s hard to believe that this moment is already here.

Eighteen years. Eighteen years of laughter and tears. Birthday parties and playdates. Sports games and carpools. Fights about homework and all-nighters. Eighteen years of memories that we’ll hopefully never soon forget. And now, with high school graduation looming, I’m looking forward to celebrating the start of my kid’s next step in his journey.

I used a Cricut Maker 3 to help make all the things I plan to use in this celebration. Along with a group of friends who also are celebrating their seniors, here’s what I made:

1. Announcement card inserts

Inserts for announcement cards made with Cricut

While I did order official graduation announcements from the preferred high school provider, I didn’t have anything in the announcement that told my friends and family about the post-graduation celebration. Using my Cricut machine, I created special inserts so that I could detail the time and place to meet for our own special dinner.

If I wanted to make the entire announcement with a Cricut machine, I could have. If you’re the more ambitious kind, all it takes is some cardstock, iron-on vinyl, and foil transfer. Print-then-Cut also works great; I used Print-then-Cut for my inserts. And now that we have the Cricut Card Mat 2 x 2, you can make your announcements with pre-folded cards easily with a Cricut Explore 3 or Cricut Maker 3. Check out Cricut Design Space for more graduation card templates.

2. Graduation lawn/window signs

Graduation lawn signs made with Cricut

I love seeing all the signs around the neighborhood that go up this time of year to celebrate the soon-to-be graduates. There are plenty of options online to buy, or you can find them at probably any major party store.

My group of friends and I decided to make them on our own. One of us had a bunch of plastic signs and flipping them over to repurpose them for graduation seemed like a good use of stuff we already had. All of our kids go to different schools, but we came up with some ideas that we were able to duplicate across all of our signs. Long cuts on my Cricut Maker 3 helped with this immensely, allowing us to bulk cut and apply.

But making our signs on a Cricut machine rather than pre-buying them gave us some other fun options too. Some of us used Print-then-Cut to put our kids’ faces onto the signs. We made custom themes based on the current high school and future college colors.

For me, instead of decorating yard signs, I cut the same words and pictures as my friends but placed them on my windows instead. Because I live in an apartment, yard signs aren’t an option for me, but I could still decorate in a similar way.

3. Graduation party decor

Most of the instructions I found online said to use foam core board for these giant balloon holders. It was a last-minute idea that I wanted to see through, and I really wanted to use black, but unfortunately, none of the stores in my area carried enough of the big foam boards to make this happen by when I needed it. Thankfully, I had a lot of cardstock and poster board at home already, so I used that plus some smaller pieces of foam board instead.

I cut this giant “22” out of smaller pieces on my Cricut machine, and then taped them together with black duct tape. Then, I simply filled it in with balloons blown up in different sizes.

The bonus? I finished this project in time for prom, which means I get to use them multiple times this year and make the effort even more worth it.

There are plenty of ideas for even more graduation party decor. From banners to photo booth props to this cute graduation cap-shaped gift box, find ready-to-make projects for graduation in Cricut Design Space.

5. Decorated grad caps

Caps and gowns get distributed closer to graduation, so we haven’t been able to decorate that yet, unfortunately. However, there is no shortage of ideas in Cricut Design Space for decorated graduation caps. I included some of my favorite ready-to-make projects above, and you can also find even more ideas in the Community section of Design Space.

To make personalized graduation caps, you can use nearly any material. Iron-on vinyl makes for a very “finished” look, and if your planned design is something you intend to have on permanently and you like this kind of feel, it’s probably my number one recommendation.

Adhesive vinyl works too. If you have a senior like mine, who changes his mind constantly, you may want to consider removable vinyl. That way, if you want to completely change it up by the time graduation day arrives, that’s still an option. Otherwise, use permanent vinyl to withstand time and temperature.

For a 3D look, like the option pictured above, cardstock and a glue gun work well. If you’re a more advanced crafter, you can combine the various options for a look that’s truly your own!

6. Dorm moving bags

A good friend of mine moved across the country and posted these blue bags on her Instagram. It turned out that she had a lot of friends with recent high school grads and these bags became really popular for moving kids into dorms. There are a ton of options online for these kinds of bags (just search for blue dorm bags) — I picked these particular ones because they have backpack straps in addition to the duffel-style straps, making them more versatile for carrying.

Using permanent vinyl, my group and I each personalized the bags in our own way. Because you’re doing this yourself, you’re not limited to the color, placement, or design at all.

The bags are thick and sturdy, but because they are made of polypropylene (plastic), I used permanent vinyl for our personalized designs.

6. And for after they’ve moved away…college care packages

Basket of supplies for college student with custom labels made with Cricut

If your student is leaving the nest after high school, you may find an urge to send them off with a little care package. This idea pictured above can be done on any Cricut machine. Simply search Design Space for label ideas or use shapes to make your own.

What are you making for graduation?

All of these ideas took just one weekend for me and my friends to conceptualize, design, cut, and make. While we certainly could have started earlier, our schedules didn’t really allow for it. That’s what makes using a Cricut machine so much easier for us than trying to buy everything. The machine lets us design things on our own time, and not worry about shipping times or late deliveries, or wasted money knowing that we purchased duplicate things when we can just share supplies instead.

I’d love to know what other ideas you all are thinking about making. Share what you’re making for graduation by using #cricut on social!