Distressed jeans have been all the rage in popular fashion. These jeans continue to grow in popularity and with the growth comes higher prices. People are willing to pay hundreds of dollars to buy the newest designer distressed jeans. If you would like distressed jeans, but do not want to pay to have someone distress them for you, there is a way. Through a few simple and quick techniques, you can have your own distressed jeans.

Things You'll Need

Plan out the design of the jeans. Put the jeans on and use the pencil or washable marker to mark out the areas that you would like to distress. Because there are two major things that you can do to the jeans, be sure to mark separate spots for the holes and for the fading.

Take off the jeans. It can be dangerous to work on the jeans while you are wearing them. To ensure safety, be sure to take the jeans off after you have marked them.

The fading effect. Be sure to start with the fading, as it is harder to fade a large area that has already been ripped or torn. Take the sandpaper that you have and rub it into the jeans right where you would like the fading to be. For a natural look, rub the knees with the sandpaper harder and more, easing up and rubbing less as you make your way to the waist and ankles. This will “fade” the color and will give it a more natural faded look.

The actual holes. If you want to have distressed jeans with the holes that still have white strands holding them together, grab a razor blade. Find the grain of the jeans and rub the blade with the grain to wear off the blue. After you have taken off the blue, use the blade along the grain to open up the jeans and make a hole. Taking out different strands with your razor blade will allow for different holes. If you are aiming to have distressed jeans with gaping holes, simply take your scissors and make a hole in the middle of your marked area. Use the scissors to cut out the hole that you would like.

The final polishing step is to use the razor blade (or scissors) to fray the edges of the jeans. Take your razor blade and rub it over the seams, pockets, holes, and ankles of the jeans. This will give the edges a frayed effect, making them look more distressed and designer.

The final step in the process is to wash the jeans. Once you have washed them, you can re-evaluate the jeans and see if you would like to add anything else. This will also help to show you the finished product, as the washing brings out the frayed edges that you have created.


  • Be sure to understand that once you have made a hole, you cannot take it back.

  • Do not be afraid to be rough with your jeans. You want them distressed.

  • Find the roughest sand paper available.