Easiest DIY Distressed Jeans


When I first noticed distressed jeans coming back I thought, “What is this, 2005?” It didn’t take me long to warm up to the idea, but it did take San Diego weather a long time to cool down. It’s finally cool enough to wear pants… Some days. The weather has been flip flopping from crazy rain storms to 80 degrees on Halloween. Needless to say, I didn’t want to spend too much on jeans with this crazy weather. Instead of buying $70-$200 jeans with holes in them, I decided to make my own. This turned out to be much less daunting than it sounds. Keep reading to find out how I turned these plain, $30 Old Navy jeans into Pinterest-inspired distressed beauties.

Below is a before picture of the jeans. They had one hole in the knee when I started.jeans before
What you need:

  1. An old pair of jeans or inexpensive jeans(especially if this is your first try)
  2. Something washable to mark the jeans with, I used a nude eyeliner
  3. Scissors of your choice, sharp ones are nice
  4. Tweezers

what you need

I started by getting inspiration from Pinterest. I just searched “distressed jeans” to find a pair that I wanted to mimic. Here’s my inspiration:

Step 1 is to mark the jeans while they’re on your body. This allows you to customize where the holes are placed on your body, unlike store bought ones that may be a little off. You will want to make a horizontal mark where you want the top of the hole to start and a mark where you want the bottom of the hole to end.

mark jeans

Step 2 cut along the marks you made. Rule number one of DIY distressed jeans is no vertical cuts. Vertical cuts will leave you with gaping holes instead of the distressed strings…Unless that’s what you’re going for.cutAfter I make the cuts I like to run my fingernail along the edges so the darker blue strings are more visible and easier to grab with your tweezers.

Step 3 is to start pulling the vertical dark strings out with your tweezers. This will leave you with the lighter horizontal stringy bits. You can see this in the two pictures below.

Keep pulling until you have your desired holes. I told you this was easy. Below you can see that I took two smaller holes and connected them to make a hole with a different shape. You don’t want all your holes to just be squares. Unless you do, that’s fine too.shapesTo make this hole less angular, I pulled some of the strings that were still attached to the jeans instead of pulling straight out to make a rounded edge, I trimmed off the darker strings, this gives you a more natural looking distress.
pull and trimHere’s the final product. I love how they turned out. The last step is to wash and dry your jeans, This frays the edges to make them look more worn. I won’t lie, this took about two and a half hours plus wash and dry. So you’ll need to set some time aside to do these, but it’s so worth it. Put on a movie or binge watch a tv show while you do all the pulling and it’ll breeze by.
finalNow you have your own custom distressed jeans on the cheap! I hope you’re loving this trend as much as I am and you give this DIY a try for yourself.

These black jeans were the inspiration to do this post. I made this pair first and my friends were like OMG, MAKE ME SOME! Trouble is, they live states away and You really need to do the markings on your person to make sure they’re just right. This one’s for you ladies!

The black jeans were actually much easier, I didn’t do any string pulling, I just cut straight across, or a little curved, and washed then dried. Super simple.

black jeans

Enjoy! Let me know if you try this out down in the comments! I’d love to see your final products. Upload them to instagram and tag me @xtina039


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