Share on ThriftyFunThis guide contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!
Ripped denim short shorts and distressed artistically ripped denim jeans are all the fashion. This is the perfect chance to either get you or a teenager you know into DIY! Just look for the pictures on the net, then reproduce at home for a lot less.
By pamphyila from L.A. CA
Instead of buying a new pair and doing the distressing yourself, just shop at your local secondhand store. You can find jeans there that are already soft and the wear is natural. You can add more distressing to these, if you want, too. You can probably pick up a pair of used jeans for just a couple dollars.
Owner of www.ak-secondhand-store.com
ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.
I just bought a jean skirt. It has one distressed hole and I would like to make a few more. These are the holes that are like torn around the edges and the last layer of jean is still showing so it's not really a "hole". Does anyone know how to make these? Please help.
I used a nail file to distress my jeans. Just rub it over the area that you want a hole in, and it will wear away the fibers and look quite natural. You can also use a pumice stone. After that, wash a few times and they should look just like store-bought.
I've distressed my jeans by using sandpaper. You want to find something to wear down the fibres rather than tearing them or cutting them. (07/25/2005)
My daughter distresses hers with a grater, sand paper and single edge razor blade. Be careful! (07/25/2005)
I use pumice stone. They turn out really nice. (08/04/2005)
I used a nail file and that makes little holes, pumice stones work so much better. (08/17/2005)
By !0 year old
Distressed jean are so in right now. You should use a pumice stone (one of those foot thingys) but here the secret: Take a pair of scissors and make little horizontal cuts, I mean like about 1-2 inches across and space them about a half inch apart going down. Make about 5-7 of these little cuts and then start rubbing with the stone. Do as many of them as you want over your jeans then wash them (08/29/2005)
I think you should get a skateboard and grind they will eventually tear "or" get you some knee pads and grind your knee against concrete that always works ;) (09/04/2005)
Hey what I did was I took a knife and kept going up and down and it eventually started tearing it. I think that was a awesome idea! (BE VERY CAREFUL!) (09/21/2005)
Nail file works well and so does a knife.
Use a cheese shredder (with small holes). (09/25/2005)
Someone up there said skate. Well you could also sit down, turn a skateboard upside down, and rub the skateboard really hard along your leg with the pants on. The skate grip tape will give you those folded looking rips. Use some chepo goodwill jeans, because it doesn't always look the same. (10/30/2005)
I used a knife and a cheese grater. Also if you have steel wool, you can rub it on the slits you made. =) Have fun!
I used sandpaper, a knife, and some scissors to start. Afterwards, I used a little bit of bleach around the edges of the tear and I splashed it here and there. In the end, my pants looked really good! (03/26/2006)
By cool person
I used bleach, cheese grater, scissors, sandpaper, and glitter! Makes it look like Abercrombie jeans! No one knows the difference! Be careful! (04/07/2006)
OK. Well I have done this many times and most of the time it works very well. You will need: a nail clipper and a rough scratchy rock or good sandpaper. Use the nail clipper to make very small ant sized holes and do it on groups close together, about the size of a quarter maybe. Take the sand paper/rock and rub it over the little holes until it forms a frayed 'torn' look. (05/14/2006)
I had old jeans from American Eagle and I wanted to put rips or distressed holes in them. So I picked the spot where I wanted it and used sandpaper to make a hole. It worked well! (08/04/2006)
I distress my jeans by using scissors to cut little holes along the seams. I just did it on my aandf jeans (looks great!) (08/17/2006)
Well there are all kinds of ways to make holes in jeans, but you should try a cheese grater. It works for me, but I don't know if it will work for you. (08/22/2006)
First use a nail clipper make a little hole. Then run a knife over it a few times till white thread shows. Then take a toothpick and run bleach around the hole or on the jeans then wash. So cool! (09/21/2006)
We used to distress everything in high school. This is how we did it, very easy. Whatever you want to distress or break in, jeans, shoes, shirts, tie them to 6' of rope. Drive to a dirty gravel road. Tie them to you bumper and drag them. Do this a few times. It worked great. (09/25/2006)
I used a razor blade, glitter, scissors, and a cheese grater with small holes.
All you have to do is spread glue where you want glitter and take the razor and shave the pants where you want holes and then cut tiny little holes with the scissors and rub with cheese grater. Repeat as needed. (09/27/2006)
Thanks for the help!(01/07/2007)
I just bought 5 pairs of medium blue jeans for 6.75 each at JC Penney (Arizona Jeans) and plan to distress them in four different ways, leaving one pair as my "nice" pair. I'm fading one by soaking it in bleach and water right now. I'm going to use a cheese grater on another later tonight. (04/13/2007)
The best way is to use a very sharp razor and slit 1-2 inch slices VERY close together. Then take your sharp scissors and rub the blade in one direction use hard pressure when the white shows stop, look at what you did and if you need to move up or down go to that spot if you rub to much the threads will tear and tada a big hole. you can also use sand paper or cheese grater for the pockets and legs. Another thing to do is use a hack saw blade for those frayed rips this works really good. Do the same for T-shirts and they will look just like affliction style shirts look out fashion world we are coming after you hard! (07/12/2007)
Here's the thing, I have tried everything and nothing was looking like how I wanted it to. So I used a bread knife and went from side to side on my jeans until it started to look worn, but not so it was making holes. Then I used a pumice stone and went from side to side until I got the look I was going for, which is like abercrombie and fitch jeans. You could use sandpaper too probably. (07/22/2007)
We used to hang our jeans against a fence or tree and shoot a BB gun at the jeans to make perfectly round holes, then make the holes bigger by running a spoon through the holes and twisting until we got the perfect size "round" holes! (09/07/2007)
I have a pair of Abercrombie and Fitch jeans that I want big holes in, but I still want there to be the white string in between the holes. How do I do so? The razor and cheese grater did not work well. (09/20/2007)
We are going to try the cheese grater first. If that doesn't work, then we will try nail clippers and bleach. (09/21/2007)
I used sandpaper on my A+F jeans. It worked really well. If you rub the sand paper on them it well make it so you don't have holes, but still have the strings in the holes. But if u keep rubbing you will make a hole. It works great :) (10/29/2007)
By tryyyyyyyyyy this
I think if you use a jagged stake knife and rub from left to right fast, it works, or a pocket knife but that takes a bit longer! Then take a safety pin to pull out the colored part carefully leaving white strings, u gotta be very careful tho, because if you do it wrong it cuts the strings and looks crazy, I'm going to buy a whole bunch of different tools tomorrow to try other things, but this idea works easily but takes time!(b)(/b) (10/31/2007)
OK seriously this works. I just distressed my jeans like 2 hours ago. Ok so I used a nail file (I think you could use sandpaper. And you wear the jeans and put the spot where you want the hole on your knee. Then you take the file and file until it gets really thin at the hole area. Then take off the pants and slide something under like a cutting mat. Then take scissors and open them up really wide and take the point and slit sideways until you see white lines. Then when you get a few lines out, you take the file and keep taking off the lint and there's your hole! (02/14/2008)
By Michael Wang
I got a foot scraper it gets the holes perfect. (02/19/2008)
I distress jeans on a regular basis and have done tons for friends and my favorite technique for holes with the white strings is to use Bic disposable razors and just rub on areas and wipe away the lint and then tada, distressed jeans! (02/19/2008)
I just made a pair of distressed jeans by following your advice, a pumice stone, nail clippers, and a nail file, then I dabbed some bleach around the holes with a Q-tip and threw them in the washer and WOW, just as if I would have bought them at a store!
By Dee N.
You can use a box cutter and go against the grain. What I mean by that is there are vertical and horizontal grains in jeans and you have to look close at the jeans to tell. Not difficult though. I usually use a pencil and trace the part I want to look distressed and go against the grain with the boxcutter; not too rough, but enough where you can see a little distress. Then I use a cheese grater and went with the grain and there you have it distressed jeans. You can do it a few times to your liking. (10/08/2008)
I am going to school and I had to make a pair of distressed jean in 40 minutes and I did! I used a finger nail file and a pair of scissors and they turned out great! (12/03/2008)
By none of your concern
Ah I'm so scared to do it:/ I don't wanna ruin my jeans. Can they distress jeans for you at like a tailor or something? So a professional can do it:) (12/14/2008)
I use a ped egg, works great :) (12/19/2008)
I'm making distressed jeans as we speak. All I'm using is a cheese grater and a box or you can use wood. Just put the box in the jeans and rub the grater on the jeans and rub up and down hard on the jeans. If you want holes, don't be afraid to go crazy! (01/07/2009)
It has be neat to see all the others that needed help I used a foot scrubber, broken razor (it fell in the shower), one of my dad's saw blades, and a nail file. I also shoved a block of wood up the leg it helped hold it still and made it way easier. (01/23/2009)
I put the jeans on. Get a knife. Go up and down really hard and really fast. Wash them. Then add bleach. Then wash again. This works great.
I bought a pair of Goodwill jeans for $6 and I sold them at a yard sale for $30. I promise this will work :) (02/27/2009)
Dremel sanding attachment or flat belt sanding. A knife is quick but may just gouge. (10/24/2009)
I recently bought a pair of AE jeans (that I wasn't too fond of), and one of the first times I wore them, the ripped at the knee. A hideous unfashionable hole. I took a steak knife to the top and bottom of the hole, don't cut, but slant the knife and rub against the jean material. It easily rubs away enough material to make it 'thread bare' they are now my one of my favorite pairs of jeans! Also, rub some bleach around the hole to lighten the fabric, gives it more of a distressed look. The bleach is activated by warm water. Also, a little splatter of white nail polish around the front pockets never hurts! (02/16/2010)