How to Distress Denim

What You'll Need
Razor blade

To create a worn, faded look you can distress denim yourself without spending a lot of money. Keep in mind that distressed denim has become very trendy in today’s fashion, and if you want to buy a pair of jeans in that style, you must be ready to pay a high price. You only need a few simple things if you want to distress denim clothing.

Step 1 – Planning the Design

First of all, decide how you want your distressed denim clothing to look after you finish working on it. Lay the denim down and mark the areas that you would like to distress with a pencil or a marker.

If you are going to distress a pair of jeans, another option is to put them on and mark the areas or have someone to mark them for you. Make sure that the marker you will use is washable. Do not cut holes into the same areas that you want to fade; the cut areas and the faded areas should be different and kept separate from one another.

Step 2 – Fading the Denim

The first step in distressing denim is the fading stage. Keep in mind that it is more difficult if the area that you want to fade is large or damaged. Use the sandpaper on the areas that you want to fade. You are highly recommended to sand the knees thoroughly. But as you move up to the waist or down to the ankles, make sure that you sand more gently. Sandpaper will help give your denim a faded appearance very similar to a naturally faded denim caused by frequent wear.

Step 3 – Cutting the Denim

It is now time to use the razor blade if you want to create holes in your denim and leave the white strands exposed. Remove the denim’s blue color by rubbing the blade in the same direction of the grain. Cut a hole with the blade after you see that the blue has disappeared. Use the razor blade to remove the white strands and create other holes in your denim. If you would like to have larger holes on your jeans or denim clothing, cut them with a pair of scissors.

Step 4 – Polishing the Denim

To polish your distressed denim, use the razor blade again, but this time on the edges, pockets and seams. If you used the scissors to cut the holes, you can use them for polishing as well, instead of the razor blade. Polishing will give your denim clothing a more authentic look that will make it appear like designer denim.

Step 5 – Washing the Denim

After you finish the distressing job, all you need to do is wash the denim. You can inspect the clothing after washing and check whether you would like to distress it further. Washing the denim helps you see the distressed result clearly.