How to Distress Jeans With Scissors, Sandpaper & Razor

Share on Flipboard:

How to Distress Jeans With Scissors, Sandpaper & Razor

A pair of dark washed denim that has been maintained in impeccable condition has a certain allure.

However, there are moments when you simply have to embrace your inner bad boy.

A great look can be achieved with the perfect pair of distressed jeans. The difficulty with buying distressed denim from the store is that it doesn’t necessarily look very realistic.

Would you believe me if I said that distressing a pair of jeans yourself is simple?

In this article, I will outline the steps required to make a killer pair of distressed denim jeans.

Things You Will Need

The following is a list of the tools that will be necessary for you to begin.

  • A fabric pencil
  • Low grit sandpaper
  • The lint roller
  • A razor
  • Tweezers or a seam ripper
  • A piece of cardboard
  • One pair of scissors
  • A knife or other cutting tool

Mark Your Cuts

The first step is to mark your cuts. Before beginning, choose where the jeans will be cut. It’s unlikely that simply going crazy on them will produce the desired outcome.

Making it appear realistic is the secret to great distressing.

Only weather the areas of the jeans that will inevitably experience the most wear and tear.

The knees are the key region you should weather. But don’t forget to wear underneath the front pockets, where keys and other items can gradually erode the fabric.

Make marks on the fabric with the fabric pencil to indicate where you want to create the holes.

See also  Top 10 US Denim Brands

Make a couple of horizontal lines. However, try to refrain from making them all the same length because that starts to look too symmetrical and artificial.

Always keep in mind that less is more. Overdoing the distressing is not a good look.


The second step is cutting. To cut your jeans open, you can use a variety of items.

It is important to remember that you should only cut the top side of the fabric no matter what tool you use. To protect the backside of the jeans when using a knife, I suggest placing a piece of cardboard between the two layers of fabric.

Using your fabric pencil, cut through the lines you made.

Go and turn your jeans so that the inside is facing outward. The time has come to start pulling some threads. The white threads of the jeans run horizontally, while the black or blue threads run vertically.

Start removing the white threads one at a time using tweezers or a seam ripper.

The vertical threads will start to produce excessive fuzz as you continue to pull the white threads. Go get your scissors, and trim those as they start to gather.

I do advise leaving some fuzz at the edges because it gives the edges a more realistic appearance than a sharp edge.

Repeat the process until the hole reaches the desired size. If you want the holes to stay small, only pull a few threads. However, if you want the look of many threads, continue pulling until you are completely connected to the cuts.

There might be a few white threads left that aren’t joined at both ends. Just trim those off with your scissors.

See also  Guide to Levi's Jeans Styles & Numbers

Use Sandpaper

Next, use some good old fashioned sandpaper to weather your jeans. It is strongly recommended that you make use of a rough grit, such as 60 or 80.

Sand over the holes that you created in the step before this one. The edges get rougher and appear more natural as a result.

Rough up an erased areas that will also get wear and tear such as the top edge of the pockets or the belt loops.

Finally, if you scrape the fabric enough, you can make distinctive holes in it that are different from the holes you would have made with a knife or scissor.

Sand the surface repeatedly until you are happy with the degree of wear.

The sandpaper will remove a good deal of fuzz. Simply remove it with a lint roller.

Shave With a Razor

You can also tear the jeans by grabbing your razor blade and giving it a quick swipe across the fabric.

This is a fantastic tool for cutting the fabric’s edges because it doesn’t cut as much excess fuzz as sandpaper would.

Run the razor back and forth over the edge you want to cut. Just be careful not to cut yourself.


The fifth step is to wash. To complete the process, throw the jeans into the washing machine to remove any stray threads or fuzz that may have accumulated.

So there you go, guys. You now own the ideal pair of distressed jeans.

how to make distressed jeans

See also  Men's Slim vs Skinny Jeans (Which Fit Is Better?)


  • Christopher

    Christopher has 9+ years of experience as a creative fashion designer who stays current with the latest trends.

    View all posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *