If your kids are like mine, they’ve likely destroyed the knees in every pair of jeans in their wardrobe over the entire school year. I like to hang onto those ruined jeans so I can upcycle them when summer comes by using little more than some fabric paint and creativity (ok, so this post is less about sewing and more about just trying something new). And because bling is so in (thanks, Hannah Montana), I wanted to share our favorite way to recycle the jeans- of- school-days- past, into cutie pa-tottie shorts.
First, you’ll need jeans which have enough salvageable denim to turn into shorts, some permanent, washable, glitter fabric paint, 2 or 3 craft paint brushes, a piece of cardboard, and a couple of design ideas.
Simply cut the jeans off at the knees to the length you’d like for your child. Bermuda-length shorts are still widely popular this year, so keeping them just above knee length is a great option. Then, using a seam ripper or other sharp pointed object, gently fray the denim around the raw edge of each leg for a slightly shaggy look. Don’t be concerned about the frayed ends having strands long and short. Once you’re done fraying the denim all the way around each leg hole, you can trim all the strands as short and even as you wish. Once washed, these ends will ‘fluff up’ a bit.
Next, cut the cardboard to fit inside each leg. This not only helps prevent the glitter paint from bleeding through, but gives you a better grip on the denim as you work with it. Then, choose your first color of glitter paint and run a bead of paint around each leg, right above the frayed edge. You’ll want to lay the jeans flat and do the top side of each leg first. Slightly flatten the bead of paint by running a paintbrush through it from seam to seam. This creates a nice ‘band’ of paint that will help prevent the jeans from fraying higher over time. Then let the front dry and simply flip the jeans and do the same on the back, being sure that your paint band matches up from front to back.
Once your first application of glitter paint is dry, go over it again with the same color for extra sparkle (it’s all about the color, you know). Then, let your imagination take over and add extra glitter anywhere else on the denim that you-or your child-likes. You can even apply a thin coat of glitter paint all over the denim for a completely shimmery look, but be sure to apply the paint sparingly as it tends to stiffen as it dries. Create hearts, dots, circles, swirls, and anything else you like. The end result is a very sturdy design with lots of sparkle. Not only does the glitter paint make it super easy to dress up old jeans, it is also great for hiding little stains and imperfections in the denim, too. Kids can do these themselves if you don’t mind a little mess! Most fabric paints take 48 hours to cure before you’re able to wash them, so follow care directions on the bottle closely before washing and wearing.
No need to by new shorts when old jeans will do! Have fun, get sparkly and see what you can come up with!