DIY Distressed Jeans: Get the Look

by Bonnie in , Comment — Updated December 12, 2023

Do you love the distressed denim look? It’s popping up everywhere these days, which is why I want to share a quick DIY post with you, so that you can make your own. If you love to thrift shop, you’re going to love having this trick in your pocket. Once you know how to distress your own, you can transform any old pair of jeans from the consignment store rack into a trendy item that you’ll look forward to wearing! 

Make DIY Distressed Jeans in Three Easy Steps

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You’re going to want to practice these steps on a pair of jeans that you don’t care about. Make sure you have the technique down before you give it a go on your favorite pair of skinny jeans that fit you perfectly. 

Step One: Mark Areas

Put the jeans on, and use chalk or a washable pen to mark down the areas that would naturally fade or tear. Bend your knee and imagine where the fabric would wear out (above the bend of your knee, and below. Take the jeans off, and continue to mark areas that would show signs of wear, like the back pockets, bottom hemline, and above the front pockets. 

Step Two: Make Cuts

Set up a worktable, and place the jeans flat on top of it. Insert cardboard into the pant leg, to avoid slicing through to the opposite side. Then, start making some cuts in the fabric. Cut slits in the fabric with sharp scissors or a razor blade, with each new slit about a half inch from the last. Do this at any area that you marked.

Step Three: Fine-tune With Razor Blade and Sandpaper

Scrape a razor blade (like you would use to shave your legs) against the fabric of the jeans in any area that you want to show subtle wear and fading. This takes off some layers of the fabric, but does not slice through it. You can also use sandpaper to soften areas like the thighs or back pockets. 

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Once this is done, wash and dry your jeans at least twice. That’s it! Be careful with sharp blades, and don’t forget to practice first. I hope you’re jeans turn out amazing! Let me know how it goes in the comments section below.

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