DIY: Distressing Denim Jeans

Why spend more money on a pair of ripped jeans — that is, jeans with less fabric — when you can create your own pair of distressed jeans at home?

DIY: Distressing Denim Jeans

Distressing your jeans is as easy as you’d imagine! Just follow these simple steps and you’re good to go. If you’re a little concerned about how the jeans might turn out, test this process out on a pair that you wouldn’t mind making a mistake on. But in the end, you really can’t go wrong with this project. The more rips and tears, the better!

What you need:

  • Jeans
  • Pen
  • Scissors, blade, or X-Acto knife
  • Razor blade or sandpaper

Some tips to keep in mind before you start:

  • The tears you create will be more exaggerated after you wash and dry the cloth.
  • If you’re using scissors, make sure they’re SHARP! Dull blades can do more harm than you think — to your fabric and your body.
  • Be mindful and cautious with whatever tools you’re using! We don’t want any missing fingers by the end of this project.
  • Pull the fabric apart really tight before running the blade to make the process easier and safer.
  • Be creative! Vary the distances between slits as well as the length of each slit. You want the distress to look natural.
  • If you’re distressing the jeans high up by the waistband, be mindful that you don’t want to make slits that could expose your undergarments!

I made a video to make explaining the process a lot easier, but if you’re more into reading:

  1. Mark the areas of the jean you would like to distress with a pen. You can wear the jeans while doing so to make marking easier. (And then take off before making the slits of course)!
  2. Cut out a piece of cardboard (I used the back of a notebook) to use as a protective layer between the front leg of the jean and the back. You only want to damage the front part of the jean. You could also use a magazine or a box of some sort, just make sure you’re not using anything too big that would stretch out the jean.
  3. Insert the cardboard into the leg you would like to start on.
  4. Using the markings you made as a guideline, start using a blade to create horizontal slits running on top of each other. To start out, try to use a half-inch distance between each slit.
  5. Take your razor blade or sandpaper to rough up the slits you created — you can also run this over any other parts of the jean.
  6. Repeat in different sections.
  7. Toss the jeans into the wash and dryer twice. TIP:  If you want the denim to fit a little tighter, wash the jeans in hot water and dry on high the second time you wash and dry.
  8. Voila! You have a distressed pair of jeans.

If you have any questions, feel free to comment or message me! I’m forever grateful of your support throughout my time on WordPress. Hope you all had a happy Easter!

Much love,


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s