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Graduation Card Ideas for High School and College: Sayings, Messages, Printables, and More

Rose is a full-time freelance writer who frequently writes about education, special education, DIY projects, food, Milwaukee, and more.

Many people like to borrow the classic Dr. Seuss phrase for their graduation cards.

Many people like to borrow the classic Dr. Seuss phrase for their graduation cards.

Greeting Cards to Congratulate Someone

Whether you're giving a graduation gift or you're sending a card in the mail, a greeting card is a wonderful way to congratulate someone on a high school or college graduation.

Give your sentiment some extra personalization by creating a card yourself. There are a number of popular themes to choose from, including owls, caps and gowns, the graduation year, and the school colors. There are also classic "congrats" or "celebrate" cards, as well as money cards.

Finally, I've included some of the most popular graduation sayings and messages. Design something that will fit the graduate and the occasion perfectly. Happy creating!

Please respect the copyrights of the artists. Unless it is indicated otherwise, all of the ideas, tutorials, and printables here are for personal use only. If you're interested in selling your creations, please contact artists directly to work out agreements. Thank you!


One of the easiest ways to make a greeting card is to find a free printable card or printable image to include in your own card.

People have created these for almost any occasion imaginable. Graduations are no exception. Simply download and print the images onto the paper of your choosing.

A high-quality cardstock usually works well. Some printable cards include an envelope template. If not, you can easily make one on your own. Just make sure to size it correctly.


I was surprised by how many owl cards I found while researching graduation card ideas. The owl wearing a graduation cap is a very popular image.

You can make an owl in any size that you want and with any color combination. Give it a bright spring look for a May graduation, or put him in the graduate's school colors.

You can keep your card simple or pair it with a graduation saying or message.

Use one of your owl designs to make a card with a gift card/money pocket.

Themed Cards

  • The Sky's the Limit!
  • Let Your Dreams Take Flight!
  • Follow or Chase Your Dreams!

There are several variations on these messages, many of which can be paired with clouds, airplanes, hot air balloons, and/or butterflies. You can customize this any way that you like, using images and colors of your choosing. Keep it fun and whimsical.

Cap and Gown

This theme is pretty self-explanatory. Some people choose to use the cap and gown for their cards, while some choose one or the other.

There are also some card designs with a gown over a dress or dress shirt. As always, you can keep your cap and gown design simple, pairing it with a "congrats" message, or choose another graduation message to go with it.

The video above is a Cricut tutorial for making a graduation cap.

Graduation Year

There are a number of options for making numbers on greeting cards, including chipboard, stamps, die cuts, and hand lettering. Download a fun font that includes numbers and use a word processing program to type and then print your numbers.

If you use any type of personal cutting machine, such as Cricut, there are many ways to create the numbers of your choosing.

Popular embellishments for numbers include self-adhesive rhinestones, glitter glue, and buttons.

School Name and/or Colors

One easy way to customize a graduation card is with the school name and/or colors. Have fun picking out coordinating scrapbook papers and then hunting for embellishments such as stickers, ribbons, and buttons.

If you use stamps, look for colored ink to match. Consider including additional details about the school, such as the mascot and words from the fight song.

Money Card

Who doesn't enjoy getting the gift of money? Whether you are giving cash, a check, or some sort of gift certificate, consider making a card with a money pocket.

While there is nothing wrong with giving a simple card with a pocket, many of us have received really creative and/or funny money cards over the years. Think about how you can make a money card that will really touch the graduate in some way.

Above is another graduation card tutorial that includes a gift pocket.

General Congrats

Graduation is a perfect occasion for a simple congratulations or celebration card. You can pair your message with common graduation imagery, such as a cap and gown or owl, or you can pair it with a neutral theme, such as something geometric or spring-related.

Other Inspirational Sayings and Messages

Some additional popular graduation sayings and messages that I found include:

  • "Oh the places you'll go . . . " from the Dr. Seuss book. Quotes from this book are frequently used, too.
  • "Graduation is not the end, it's the beginning."
  • "You did it!"
  • "Education is an ornament in prosperity and a refuge in adversity." —Aristotle.
  • "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams."

If you are looking for additional card messages, consider quotes about education, general inspiration, and the future.

Pair your homemade graduation greeting card with a thoughtful, unique graduation gift.

  • 10 Gift Ideas for High School Graduation
    This article has 10 gift ideas for high school graduation. There are a variety of options for price points and personalization. These are great ideas for both family members and friends who are looking to give gifts.


Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 14, 2014:

Thanks so much, Vicki!

Victoria Lynn from Arkansas, USA on May 14, 2014:

All wonderful--and varied--ideas! Well done!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on May 14, 2014:

Thanks, Cyndi! That's awesome. :) Best of luck with it.

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on May 14, 2014:

I like all of these ideas. :) My niece and I both graduate in December (her with a bachelor's and me with my master's) so of course I'm thinking about what I might do by way of a card in light of all these wonderful suggestions here!

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 15, 2014:

Thanks, abbaelijah! That's great.

elijagod from Abuja - Nigeria on April 15, 2014:

well research and detailed hub!

I love the video on graduation

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 23, 2013:

That's great, peachpurple! Thanks.

peachy from Home Sweet Home on April 22, 2013:

great hub. Gonna make one these days

Rose Clearfield (author) from Milwaukee, Wisconsin on April 23, 2012:

Thanks northland!

northlandws from Fargo, North Dakota on April 22, 2012:

The card ideas are unique and adorable. I especially like the one with the owl.