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How to Distress Your Jeans Properly Without Ruining Them

Staff Post

Posted on November 27 2017

The famed pair of ripped jeans – everyone has a pair! Some come light washed, some in dark jeans. Others have them as small tears while others look like they passed through a lawnmower. Celebrities from all over the world, as well as fashionistas in every city, have rocked this latest fashion trend and have orchestrated its comeback from the 1980’s. However, spending hundreds of bucks doesn’t feel quite right for a pair of jeans that look like they’ll be going back to the recycling bin soon. However, you can re-purpose your old jeans you don’t use anymore and turn them into distressed pants that look just as good as the ones bought in the store. This fashion tip will help you save money, reuse some of your old, pre-loved denim, and be in charge of where you want the rips to be on your jeans. Here’s a guide on how to properly rip your jeans.


The obvious place to start when creating your distressed pants is to choose the denim you’ll be using. You can use loose boyfriend jeans for that rugged, street look. You can also go for some skinny jeans to still look sexy in distressed pants. Light washed is perfect for that old, worn out look, but going for dark jeans is also good. A fashion tip in choosing the jeans you’ll be ripping would be to choose boyfriend jeans if you want to create big, gaping holes on your denim. If you want small rips, go for skinny jeans.


A terrible thing that could happen to your jean ripping process would be to completely ruin your $300 worth of jeans (regardless if they’re old) because you didn’t have experience in ripping jeans in the first place. Before experimenting on your expensive jeans, try doing this process on some of your older and less-loved jeans or you can buy cheap ones in thrift shops or the Salvation Army. Practice your ripping skill first before deciding on using your more expensive denims. This fashion tip will save you from wasting time and money during the DIY process.


If you want to keep up with the trend, one style tip is to soak them up in some bleach. This will give the denim a faded look that is worn out. If your jeans are dark washed, you may need to bleach them longer, however, if they’re already faded, you can opt to skip this step. If you want dark ripped jeans, then you don’t need to bleach them. However, if you choose to bleach your jeans, be sure not to put any other clothes with your jeans while you’re bleaching them!


While waiting for your jeans to bleach till it achieves its distressed state, collect the tools you’ll be using to tear your denim apart. Get some small sharp scissors, metal wool, sandpaper, a pumice stone and a cheese grater if you want some extra distress on your jeans. Don’t forget to have some cardboard or blocks of wood ready. This is what you’ll be putting inside the pants so that the other side won’t get torn up during the ripping process.


A fashion idea before tearing your jeans is to research on the placement of the tears. Look at pictures online of your style icons wearing distressed jeans and note where the tears look best. After doing so, wear the jeans then mark the areas where you want to tear. It’s best to use chalk instead of pins because you might prick yourself during this process. Then, take off the jeans and go over the marks again with the chalk. Rub the areas with rough surfaces like sandpaper until the area is nice and thin (depending on the thickness of your pants). Then, you can start cutting up the areas with your small nail scissors. Again, do not forget to add the cardboard or piece of wood inside the pants before you start cutting or else you might end up cutting the other side.


When you’re done adding the tears on your pants, you can add some more frays and damage to the tears by rubbing the edges with the sandpaper or steel wool. This will make the cuts look more frayed and vintage. When you’re completely satisfied with how your pants look, you can now wear them out to town. Pair them greatly with some plain tops and designer handbags. It can also go nicely with some nice plaid button up tops. You’ll look stylish and effortless with these jeans and it won’t cost you as much as those store bought jeans worth $200.

This guide will help you with your DIY ripped jeans project, in case you have some pants you’re not using anymore, or if you just wanna steal some from your husband then turn it into the fashion’s latest trend. This will guarantee that your little DIY experiment won’t end up into a heaping pile of mess.

Try doing these tips and let us know how much you love your ‘new’ ripped jeans in the comments section below! If you have other suggestions and tips to make your denim jeans look better, let us know in the comments as well.