How to DIY Ripped Jeans

We love that jeans can even be partially destroyed and still look totally, effortlessly, incredibly, chic.

What other wardrobe item only gets better with age and wear? Our love affair with denim continues!

Ripped jeans are absolutely the denim du jour, and it’s a totally hot look which also fits for all different body shapes and types (even more to love!)

The jeans we are going for this season may be shredded, distressed or even destroyed! But they still bring together a totally polished look. A good set of heels and some bold jewellery, or maybe a sparkly top and some ankle-boots.. pair them with shredded knees and you have instant street-chic! Multi-way fashion at its finest.  

So how do we get in shreds? Certainly not by buying designer! These jeans are destroyed! All the extra zeroes on the price tag just don’t add up. What gives?

Plus part of the appeal of shredded denim is that all the rips, nicks and slashes are in just the right spots – and you can’t buy that right off the shelf. So let’s (no pun intended) rip out the scissors and create our own custom set of shredded jeans! Here’s how.

  1. Decide what you want to create. Google, pin, insta and post till you’ve got a really good idea of the look you’re after. Whether it’s a few nicks here and there to full-leg slashes, consider the extent of the cuts, and what look you’re going for. Refer back to these inspirational pictures as you’re going.


  1. Find your base denim. Don’t start with your $200 designer jeans! Experiment on a pair you don’t wear anymore for your first try. If you’re starting with brand new jeans, buy two pairs, or a duplicate of a pair you already love and know well. If you’re beginning from new, make sure they’ve been washed a few times before you get going, to soften the fibres.


  1. (a) Distress first. Authentic shredded denim has a ‘distressed’ look - think of it as speeding up the wearing process. You’ll need to assemble a few tools to help you: steel wool (gloves – so you don’t ruin your mani), sandpaper (if available), and a wooden block or thick card to place inside the legs so you have a solid surface to work on.


(b) Start! knees, derriere, tops of thighs and around pockets are the areas where jeans naturally wear the most, so make a start here with your steel wool or sandpaper. Work in circular patterns outwards until the denim starts to thin. (More fun? Tape sandpaper to the floor, get into your jeans then slide around on it!)


  1. Sketch out the rips. At this stage, get back into your jeans and check out the effect so far. While you’re standing up, mark the areas you next want to cut with chalk or a pen. The slashes should line up with your knees, so use a mirror to get your marks into the right place. It doesn’t have to be perfect!


  1. Get ripping! For this part you’ll need scissors or a Stanley knife. Make sure your thick card has been placed into the leg (so you don’t accidentally cut where you don’t want holes..) Work horizontally along your chalk lines for a more natural effect, using the edge (not tip) of the blade. Start scraping to thin out the area until it becomes a rip or begins to tear through. Sometimes you don’t have to go all the way through for an awesome shredded effect! Check in with your inspirational pictures. Is it enough just to see the exposed fibres?


  1. Stop! Remember that the holes you make will continue to open up as you wear and wash your jeans, so make sure you stop working just before you think the rip is perfect. Put the jeans in the wash. The fibres will naturally settle into the rip, and may open up even further. While the jeans are wet, experiment with teasing and fraying out the fibres with tweezers (not necessary). If your new holes have made the jeans baggy, wash in hot water as the fibres will shrink a little.


What should I do if I tried to rip my jeans, but I think I ruined them?

Ask a friend for their opinion and you’ll probably be surprised to find they think your DIY shreds look like the bomb! Have another go on a different pair if you’re really not happy. Don’t forget, we’re coming into summer - you could also turn your attempt into a hot pair of shredded shorts!

Have fun!

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