Giggles and Glue Guns

DIY: The Perfect Jean Shorts

I call denim cut-off shorts THE summer style staple – at least they are for me. You can witness my love for the jean short in many of my OOTD posts. Obviously jean shorts are made from, duh, jeans! To get them perfectly distressed and just the right hue of blue is a little more of a project, but so fun and so DIYable!

Once you get your denim shorts perfectly distressed, try sprucing them up, like I did here with studs and spikes or here with hand-painted leopard spots!

What You Need:

  • Pair of old jeans
  • Scissors
  • Rough sandpaper
  • Bleach
  • Plastic tub or bucket
  • Water


  1. Try your jeans on and decide where you want to cut them into shorts – make a little mark or an initial slice to remember. ** Leave around .5 to 1″ extra length to allow for fraying.
  2. Cut both the legs off – I chose to angle down a little from the outside in – so the outer hem is higher than the inner.
  3. Start distressing with the scissors by dragging the blade along the leg-hole cut to begin the fraying **it won’t look perfect until you wash and dry them, just get it started.
  4. Make little slice cuts with the scissors near the base of the pockets to look like worn holes.
  5. Tear a piece of rough sandpaper and start rubbing the denim in all the spots you want extra wear: the waist band, top of the pockets, fly, legs, etc. Don’t forget about the back pockets too!
  6. If you want to bleach your jeans lighter – use 1 part bleach to 2 parts water in your plastic bin. mix it with a stick and make sure your shorts are immersed in the liquid.  You may need to add more bleach and water – it doesn’t have to be perfectly measured.
  7. Let it soak for 20 to 30 minutes or until you’ve reached the desired shade – remember, they are wet and will look lighter once dry.
  8. Rinse your shorts and dilute your bleach mix before you dump it out (it’s strong scary stuff!) then wash and dry your shorts in the machine for the perfect finish!

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