How to: DIY Ripped Jeans

A few weeks ago, I found myself interested in buying a cool, edgy pair of black, ripped jeans, but frowned at the ridiculous prices I was seeing online. In true form, I decided to DIY ripped jeans at home, and save a ton of money. I prefer black jeans to blue jeans because they’re edgier and more my style, so the first thing I did was scout out a cheap pair of black jeans I could utterly destroy.

diy ripped jeans

At Forever 21, I found a perfect pair of jeans for $20, and so I set to work. Here’s how you can DIY ripped jeans at home, and hopefully save a buck or two! (Jeans are way too expensive 🙂 ).

What you’ll need:
  1. jeans of choice
  2. an X-Acto knife, box cutter, or a pair of very sharp, small scissors
  3. an old paperback book you don’t mind destroying (pray to the book gods before destruction, and ask for forgiveness), or else a piece of cardboard
  4. GLOVES (you can skip this if you’re very, very careful)
  5. sandpaper (sub a pumice stone or something else abrasive)
  6. A pencil or piece of chalk

DIY ripped jeans DIY ripped jeans


1. The first thing I did was put the jeans on and determine where I wanted the cuts to be. I decided I wanted rips on the knees of both legs, and then alternating, smaller rips on the upper thigh and the shin, so they would balance. I marked these spots with a pencil (or chalk, if you’ve got it).

2. Secondly, I set to work. I took the jeans off and laid them on a surface, and then slid the book into the jeans to make sure I didn’t rip the back of the jeans, too.

3. Next, I used sandpaper to wear the parts of the jeans where I wanted rips. Because I didn’t want too much of a distressed look (that looks better with lighter-wash jeans), I wasn’t too zealous with this step.DIY ripped jeans

4. Carefully, I used the edge of my X-Acto knife to puncture a small hole where I wanted to rip. Then I began making horizontal slices into the jeans, first modestly, and then more generously to make sure the rips were wide enough to look good. This part is very therapeutic! If you’re stressed, this is  a good DIY. 😉 However, wear a pair of thick gloves on your non-dominant hand to make sure you don’t slice a few fingers off during this process.DIY ripped jeans

DIY ripped jeans

5. During the ripping process, I alternated using the sandpaper to fray the edges.

6. Finally, I washed the jeans to really give them that worn, distressed look (just a teeny bit!). Here’s how they came out:

DIY ripped jeansDIY ripped jeans

I’m very pleased with them! And when I wear them, the rips start to widen, so I like that the more they’re worn, the more frayed and distressed they’ll get. Can’t wait until they’re virtually falling apart. 🙂

Try this DIY and let me know what you think in the comments! Or check out my other DIYs!

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