Denim DIY: Plain to Party Cut-Off Shorts
…in less than an hour, if you know exactly how much bleach to use! Check out my trial and error denim DIY below, using these $5 shorts I bought from a Brooklyn thrift shop. Original post on Denim Therapy.
We started out with a pair of bright blue shorts (with a bit of stretch) that hit just below the knee. We endeavored to give these run-of-the-mill bottoms a new life by turning them into a multi-color, semi-destroyed pair of cut-offs.
Step 1. Cut them to your preferred length. There are no definite measurements for this—it’s up to you if you want to show a bit of your behind or if you want to be more modest. Always try them on, and then mark them. Remember the fabric will rise up about 1/2″ once cut, depending on the fiber content. Cut them longer if you plan to cuff them up.
Step 2. Do a bit of destroying. You can always continue after you have finished bleaching them. Use a scissor, razor, or any rough/sharp edge. Separate fibers at the hem and slits you make in the denim (patience is a virtue). You will see an increase in fringe and loose threads after you wash them, so don’t worry if they look too clean cut at the beginning.
Step 3. Set up a bleaching station. You will need bleach, a bin of water and bleach (our ratio was 2/3 bleach, 1/3 water—but you’ll have to experiment to find your ideal mixture according to your denim’s wash, texture, and fiber content), protective gloves, and a toothbrush.
Be sure you’re doing this in a well-ventilated area, such as nearby an open window.
Step 4. Apply bleach with toothbrush. Flick, spray, splatter, and otherwise distribute the bleach how ever you please. We brushed ours downward from the seamline of the waistband, and then flicked some bleach at random on the fabric.
Step 5. Wait and watch! If the denim isn’t quite bleaching, add more.
Step 6. Repeat step 5 until you’re happy with your bleach-out! At this point, we added a towel to keep the bleach from hitting the wood base the denim was laying on.
Step 7. Once the front is dry, you can rinse and dry, or flip them over and do the same thing (quickly, because you don’t want the bleach to sit in the denim too long). By now you’ll have a good idea of how much bleach to use and how long to leave it.
We also added faux-pockets with bleach to our shorts, because the welt pockets weren’t doing it for us.
Step 8. Rinse thoroughly in hot water (don’t worry if some of the dye runs out of the shorts. It’s probably going to happen—just make sure there are no dishes in your sink). Hang them or lay them to dry somewhere with plenty of ventilation. Once they’re dry, you’re done!
Step 9. Embellish! If you’re feeling extra creative, grab a patch or some studs, and decorate your shorts!
If you’re looking for a professional bleach job or dye job done by the pros, Denim Therapy offers incredible bleach/dye services that will turn your jeans into a dream.