DIY Distressed Denim Tutorial Will Give Your Old Jeans New Life

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I love the look of distressed denim, but I feel (a little) bad when I spend money on a pair of jeans that come with holes and rips already in them.

This DIY distressed denim tutorial is easy to follow, and you can adapt is as you’d like depending on where you want your holes and distressed spots to be. Just grab an old pair of jeans and the supplies listed below– it’ll take about 5 minutes total, so you can rock the jeans that same day. Win-win.

DIY Distressed Denim Tutorial:


  • Old jeans
  • Pencil
  • Cardboard
  • X-acto knife or paring knife
  • Cheese grater
  • Sandpaper
Lay your jeans on a flat surface and, with a pencil, mark where you’d like to make cuts and rips. If needed, you can put the jeans on and make marks while you’re wearing them so yo know exactly where they’ll fall. Place a small piece of cardboard in the pant leg where you’re going to make cuts, and use the X-acto knife to begin making slits. Then, use a cheese grater to put threads, going in different directions so it doesn’t look to uniform. Repeat this process anywhere on the jeans where you’d like to distress, such as the hem, knees or thigh.
Use sandpaper to go around various parts of the jeans to distress them, like the waistband or hemline.