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Decorate your own DIY jean shorts

Merrick is a mother of two, wife of one, and a professional stylist, seamstress and artist residing in Huntington Beach, California. You can see more of her work on her website at Merrick's Art, on Twitter, and Pinterest.

Update old jeans with scissors, embellishments and paint

Give your jeans some new life for summer with a chop, sparkles and a little bit of paint.

DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

When summer rolls around, I look through my pants drawer and always decide I have way too many jeans and not nearly enough shorts. Out come the scissors, and I chop a few pairs into denim cutoffs. They're perfectly casual, comfy and relaxed, but sometimes they can use a little something extra.

Today I want to show you how to turn your old denim into fun and unique shorts.


DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

  • Jeans
  • Scissors
  • Rhinestones or other embellishments
  • Metallic paint pen
  • Tweezers
  • Jewel-it glue

Jeans to shorts

1. Take your pair of jeans and lay them flat on the floor. Using another pair of shorts as a guide (optional), cut the jeans into shorts. Always cut a little longer than you want, just in case, because you can always go shorter. Try your shorts on and re-cut if needed.

To make sure your fraying doesn't get out of control, do a straight stitch around each leg opening, about 1/2" above the cut hem. Then wash and dry your shorts and let the (controlled) fraying begin!

DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

2. If you want cuffed shorts, cut them two inches longer, and then follow the instructions above to seal the frayed edge. Once the edge is sealed, cuff the hem twice for a nice rolled hem.

Embellished shorts

Embellished shorts were super popular in the '90s and early '00s, so I'm always a little dubious of the term "embellished denim," but as long as you do it the right way it can be modern and fun and make a pair of jeans really unique.

1. Lay your rhinestones out on the front of your jeans and determine your placement.

DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

2. Using fabric glue and rhinestones, carefully glue them into place, placing them in symmetrical rows that gradually get farther apart as you move down the leg of the jean.

DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

3. Let the glue dry for 24 hours before wearing, and seven days before washing.

Painted shorts

For the last part of the updated denim, play around with paint. The options are really endless — you could paint polka dots, stripes, a picture on the pockets, even paint splatters. Really, you could do anything you'd like. But to tie into the embellishments already on these shorts, I just added tiny metallic polka dots to make the design fuller.

DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

1. With the paint pen cap still on, shake the pen. Then depress the pen tip on a spare piece of paper until the paint runs freely. Carefully make tiny dots on the fabric where you want them.

DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle


DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

DIY Jeans to Shorts Upcycle

More DIY Fashion

Turn old pajama pants into trendy track pants
Turn a too-small dress into a chic new frock

Add a faux necklace to revive an old sweater

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