Denim shorts DIY: how to give your jeans a distressed look

Today it’s time for something different. Something I have never posted on before: a DIY or do it yourself project. I am quite handy when it comes to creating things with needle and thread so I thought it would be a good idea to customize a pair of denim shorts. I’ve had these shorts for 2 years already, but I may have worn them once. Why? I found them too plain and boring. Now however, that has changed as I have done several things to them to make them look much edgier. Want to know what I did? Then keep on reading.

First of all, I forgot to take a before picture as it was a spur of the moment idea and I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. So I didn’t take a picture of what the shorts looked like before I started messing around with them. But here is a picture of a very similar pair of shorts:

They are just a basic pair of denim shorts from H&M. They sell roughly the same models every year so it should be easy to do with whichever pair of shorts you have lying about. The ones I have were a bit longer than the ones in the picture above and you will see that mine comes with a distressed look/ frayed holes. Those frayed holes were in the shorts when I bought them but minus the belt. They did however have the rolled up legs and the color is also the same. These retail for 25 euros, which is also the price I paid for mine two years ago. And here is what mine look right now:

Customized denim shorts – front

Customized denim shorts – back

What a difference right? Here’s what I did:

– Cut off the seams at the bottom

– Added studs

– Dip dyed the shorts with bleach

– Added spatter with bleach

First up I cut off the seams at the bottom of the shorts. I just followed the edge of the seam as much as possible. I didn’t want it to be too neat, but I did cut off any excess bits that I missed. As I mentioned my shorts were quite long and the seams made the pant leg too narrow for them to be comfy. It’s why I hardly wore them in the first place. My initial plan was to just cut off the bottoms and leave it at that, but as I was cutting I had some other ideas pop into my head.

Secondly I added studs. I bought the studs on Ebay from this seller for less than 2 dollar including shipping. They are really easy to use: you push them through the fabric and then I used a nail file to bend the end so they stay put. Just make sure you don’t put them anywhere where they contact your skin directly as they can leave scratches or make the shorts uncomfortable.

I studded both the front pockets, as well as the edges of the back pockets

Next, I dip dyed the shorts by hanging them in a bucket with a few good skirts of bleach to which I added 3 – 4 liters of hot to boiling water. I used the hanger to hang the shorts into the bucket only a little bit into water as I wanted to make only the bottom part of the shorts lighter. I left the shorts in there for 15 – 20 minutes. Just make sure you keep an eye on it. When you use more bleach you will need less time for it to take effect. Afterwards I rinsed the shorts with cold water, tumble dried them and let them dry overnight.

Last but not least, I put the now dried shorts on a few plastic bags in my kitchen floor. I then put some water on my dishwashing brush, added a skirt of bleach and went Jackson Pollock on it, by sweeping the bleach onto the shots. I repeated this several times until I thought I had created enough spatter. I let the bleach sit and work its magic for about 5 – 10 minutes (watch out the bleach doesn’t eat through the fabric), rinsed it with cold water and then put it in the wash and let it dry. Just watch out for your clothes when you do this.

Some splatter results

I think they look pretty cool now! The dip dye bit could perhaps be a bit lighter but I like them like this. I am actually quite satisfied with the spatter patterns I created and the cut off pant leg also makes it look much more distressed. Remember, the frayed bits were already there when I bought but I’m sure that if you cut a small hole and then picked apart the fabric would lead to similar results. A pretty cool thing to do on a slow day. It’s quick, super easy and has great results.

Have you ever customized any of your clothing items? If so, what and how?

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