DIY Distressed Jeans in 3 Easy Steps

How to make your own ripped jeans

I’ve been looking for a new pair of white distressed jeans since I took down my Christmas tree. I wanted a pair that fit me well and had a hole in each knee. Sounds simple enough, right? Not quite. All I could find were either white jeans with no holes (I already own three pairs of those), crazy expensive pairs, or jeans that looked like I got in a nasty fight with a cat. Not the look I was going for. I finally decided to take one of my three pairs of white jeans and turn them into the perfect pair of DIY distressed jeans.

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Three steps to DIY ripped jeans

Outfit details: White jeans (exact pair before I cut holes in them), pink off the shoulder top (exact pattern sold out), jean jacket, wedges, round straw bag

I’m much more likely to buy instead of DIY. However, there are times where it just makes sense to make your own. I talked about this a little bit in my master bedroom refresh post, but when a huge cost savings is involved, why not DIY?! After all, I own scissors and am fully capable of cutting holes in things. Heck, my three year old can even do that! If I can do this, you can, too.

So easy to make your own ripped jeans

Admittedly, this 5 minute project was a little intimidating to me because I didn’t want to destroy a perfectly good pair of jeans. I liked this pair of Yummie jeans which I already owned, but I found myself reaching for other pairs first. I built up the courage, watched a few YouTube videos, took a sip of wine (extra liquid courage) and grabbed my scissors.

Three easy steps to distressed jeans

After successfully distressing my jeans, I’ve realized there are three key steps to this DIY project:

  1. Put on the jeans and mark your cuts. I wanted my holes right at the knees. Therefore, after putting on my jeans and doing a few awkward squats to stretch them out, I used a pencil to draw a line directly below my knee cap. It seems low when you first do it, but I promise you, it is where you want the holes so they hit your knees when you sit down. You can also add extra cuts near the thigh or below the knee if you’d like.
  2. Grab your scissors and start cutting. I made one line straight across the knee and then cut an extra millimeter or two off the top and the bottom of the hole. This means your first cut doesn’t have to be a perfectly straight line. Also I cut mine pretty much from one seam to the other, but you can judge how big you want your holes to be.
  3. Wash and wear. Washing them helps add the extra strings to make them look truly distressed. Some of the YouTube videos I watched used sandpaper or tweezers to help get this look. For me, the washing machine did just what I wanted it to do. You can even wash them a few more times to give them a nice warn in look.

In the past, I’ve also cut the bottom seam off of my jeans, which is another easy way to make your jeans look extra distressed. On this particular pair, they were already the correct length so I left the bottom edge alone.

The cutest ripped jeans

Finally, wear them a few times and see what you think. If you’d like your holes bigger, make them bigger. If you’d like to add another hole, do it! That’s the beauty of distressed jeans. They aren’t meant to look perfect so keep playing with them until you are happy with the final product.

DIY Distressed jeans tutorial

I’ve also linked to a couple pairs available in stores in case you aren’t quite ready to grab your scissors. Who else has DIYed your jeans before? Any other tips to share?

White distressed jeans



  1. I like to DIY too, and recently I’ve done this with some of my jeans 👖 Thanks for sharing hun!

  2. Fantastic! I love how you styled this DIY distressed jeans. You look phenomenal in these colors.

    xo Sheree

  3. Wow! This is absolutely genius and so easy to do. Can’t wait to try it on mine.

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