DIY jeans: How to distress & decorate them at home


One minute, light denim is trendy; the next, dark denim is this season’s hottest look. As a DIYer, I love that denim is so easy to manipulate into different looks. You can dye, bleach, rip, destroy, repurpose, embellish and paint it for use on your body or even in your home decor.

Here’s how to DIY your jeans to get frayed, distressed and painted looks easily and quickly.


  • Overalls
  • Fabric paint
  • Scissors
  • Star stamp
  • Cheese grater
  • Pliers

DIY Jeans: Frayed


Jeans with a frayed edge that hits right at the ankle is the hot look right now — but you don’t have to buy new jeans to get it. All you need are scissors and a cheese grater. Yes, that’s right: a cheese grater. Cut off the desired amount from the bottom of your jeans with sharp scissors. Then, using the smallest holes on the cheese grater, rub the edge of the pant leg against the grater to fray it. It’s that easy.

MORE: DIY denim jackets are so cute & so easy

DIY Jeans: Distressed


This pair of denim came distressed, but is there ever such a thing as too distressed? No, not unless you’re my grandma. To create hole-y jeans with stringy white threads, start by cutting two parallel lines. Grab that cheese grater, and rough up the newly cut edges. This will start the fraying process and make the next step a lot easier. The trick to creating distressed patches is to use a pair of pliers to remove vertical blue threads. Depending on the type of denim and how tightly the material was woven, this could be a simple or hard task. Once you remove a few strands, though, the rest will start to fall out easily.

MORE: How to make Marvel shoes

DIY Jeans: Painted


Adding a pattern to denim with a stamp is foolproof. Simply add fabric paint to your stamp and start, well, stamping. Use a small paintbrush to fill in areas that the stamp misses. When creating a pattern, take spacing into consideration. A pattern that is too tight can be overwhelming, and you’ll have to do a lot of stamping. Give the pattern a little breathing room! A little goes a long way.  

If you decorate your jeans, we want to see! Tag us on Instagram @makeitgrateful and #makeitgrateful!