DIY Distressed Denim

I am a huge fan of distressed denim, but my grandma's reprimand, "I can't believe you pay full price for torn/ripped jeans!" rings through my mind every time I consider a distressed denim purchase. Which got me thinking….what if I took a pair or two of my "old" jeans…that I haven't worn in a while and that have been on the bottom of my denim pile…and distress them myself? Keep scrolling to learn how I did it!

What You'll Need:

  • Pen
  • Sharp scissors
  • Tweezers
  • Nail trimmers
  • Pair of your least favorite jeans (just in case you mess up) 😉

First you'll want to try the denim on and make a small mark with the pen on where you'd like the rips to be located on the leg of the pants. Be sure to consider small tears higher up on the thighs and the larger ones around the knee.

Next, you'll want to use the scissors to cut two parallel lines where you want a more "torn" look. i.e. the knee caps! You should have made a pen mark in this particular area. The closer together the lines are cut the smaller or thinner the "rip" will be. In this photo, the parallel lines are about 3 -4 inches a part.

Using the tweezers, start to pull the darker threads out from the horizontal threads. This will make sense when you see it in person. Basically the darker threads are what make the denim the color it is…while the lighter threads help to hold everything together. (I am sure there is some fancy wording that I am totally unaware of for this)… This part takes a little more time and is a little tedious…but simple! 

Now, consider making distressed spots up along the thigh. You can make more parallel cuts if you want a real torn and tattered look…or you can use the sharp tip of the scissors to quickly snip the material and make smaller holes. You can then easily use your fingers/palm of your hand and brush across the small snips you've made to loose then threads. 

Lastly, if you want a more "cropped" look…cut the bottom hem of the pant let off by about 1-2 inches. Use your tweezers to fray the edges a tad. Make sure you fold the pant legs over on top of the other and measure where you'll be cutting so that each leg is the same length!

And voila! Easy as pie. Now you have a "new" pair of distressed denim and a fun way to wear a pair of jeans that you probably had shoved to the back of your closet. 


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