Doin’ it Yourself: Ripped jeans (the right way)

There’s something about jeans with rips in them…Something that makes the inner rockstar come out in me. You take a straightener to my hair and get some Paramore playing in the background and it’s all over. Headbang to the face.

When “rockstar jeans” were really started to come out into the scene in the designer brands, some cool chicks realized that they could make their own “rockstar jeans” by just buying a normal pair of jeans and adding their own rips (and not paying a million dollars for jeans with holes in them).

Totally a great idea, right? But let me tell you a little something: there’s an art to it. The first time I read an article about making my own shredded jeans, this is what the directions were: buy a pair of jeans, take a cheese grater to them. That’s like giving someone a bunch of pencils and telling them to draw a dinosaur without showing them how. Sort of.

So I’m gonna tell you how to rip a pair of jeans the right way.

We’re gonna go from this……………………………………………………to this.


1) Buy a pair of jeans that have a slim bootcut, straight, or skinny leg. I prefer a lighter wash for a more vintage look. And make sure the jeans are mostly cotton, none of that 30% polyester crap.

Little side-story on jeans shopping, because if you live in Fresno, I want you to know about this store: Plato’s Closet.

Basically, it’s an upscale thrift store; the clothes are purchased from customers with the intention to sell used fashionable clothes at a reasonable price. And they have RACKS of brand name jeans–which range from Old Navy to True Religion. Earlier this summer, I bought a ten-dollar pair of Lucky Brand jeans there and now they’re my favorite cutoff shorts. TRUE story.

So I went back to find some jeans to rip, and $16 later, here they are…Time to rip.

2) Put the jeans on. It makes the shredding process easier and you’ll actually know where the rips are going to be…which is REALLY important if you’re putting holes in the knees…

3) Determine where you want the rips to be–this is more important if you want knee rips. Check out where the knee spots are when you’re standing up and squatting. For me, I liked my knee rips more on the top part of the knee where the thigh touches, instead of directly on the knee cap.

4) Now, here’s the major important part: there is a right way and a wrong way to rip jeans. This is uber-serious. You can’t just take a pair of scissors and start cutting holes or just hack away with a cheese grater. Your jeans will look like you swam around in a bucket of razors, and nobody thinks that looks cool. Nobody.

So this is what you need: a small pair of really sharp scissors. Not the kind you’d find in an elementary school craft box–I’m talking your mom’s good sewing scissors that you could lacerate someone’s jugular with (not a recommendation, by the way).

Now, take the scissors open them, and use one of the edges to scrape the surface of the material horizontally (against the grain of the threads). Depending on the size of the rip you want and the type of jean material, it could take a while to really get under the surface. Basically, you’re going to use the sharp edge and point of the scissors to scratch and pick at the material to get past the superficial vertical threads to expose the white horizontal threads beneath without majorly damaging the white threads. Once you start getting in there, you’ll get the feel for how the jeans are knit together and you’ll be able to pull at the threads to make them fray out.

Let’s do this.

Once my rips on the knees got big enough, I pulled at the sides to rip them wider just a little. I also shredded some small spots on the upper thighs, too. Another way to make your jeans look more distressed is to scrape at the edges of the pockets.

Ready for part 2?

Since my jeans were bootcut, I decided to make the legs straighter. This is easy-peasy if you have a sewing machine.

1) With the jeans on, pinch at the sides to get a good feeling about how you’ll want to pin them.

2) Put them on inside out and pin the outer leg into the shape you want it.

3) Take the jeans off, and sew along the pins.

4) Test the result, see if you’re happy with how they turned out. If you’re not…redo the stitching or sew ’em skinnier. If you’re happy, cut off the excess material.

FINAL STEP: Send those sweeties through the washer and the dryer and


Those are some rockin’ jeans.

Doin’ it yourself: Picture frame collage

So, my cousin’s girlfriend gave me the best idea.

Say you have an old picture frame or found an old picture frame that looks super cool but you don’t know what to do with it. Or you have a bunch of pictures you printed out but are just in a drawer because you don’t have anything to hang them up with. And you have to make someone a gift.

Well, problem solved.

My cousin’s girlfriend made him something like this for his birthday, and so I took the idea and made two of these for grad gifts…and more are to come in the future. They’re super easy to make and totally cost-effective with an awesome result.

So, first, you’ll need a frame. If you don’t have any lonely frames hanging around your house, they’re easy to find at thrift stores, which is what I ended up doing. The other one I bought had a gold metallic look, and I’m sorry I didn’t take a picture of it…

Next, corkboard. If the frame still has a glass, just trace the outline of the glass around the corkboard and cut it out, using big sharp scissors or a razor blade knife deal. (The reason why there’s staples on the corkboard in the picture is because I only had a square and it was a little short).

Now, cover one side of the corkboard with a material. This will be your background of the collage. I suggest picking out a material that isn’t too busy, and you’ll want to make sure it coordinates with your pictures and frame beforehand. You don’t have to go out and buy material–on my other collage, I cut up an old black shirt that had been paint-splattered for a youth group event.

You’ll want to cut the material with about 2-inches extra around the corkboard so you can fold it over with no problem. I secured the cloth by stapling it taut and then cut off the excess.

Since my frames didn’t have any of those metal-bendy-things that are supposed to hold the picture in the frame, I put hot glue around the edges so it would stick to the frame. If you have to do that, just make sure that no glue shows through on the visible part of the frame.

Picture-placing time! Arrange your pictures how you want them. I suggest using pictures that have different sizes, and don’t be afraid to add a little shape with your scissors. You can also add little things like ticket stubs, cutouts from cards, etc. for a little extra flair. I used tape to secure everything in place before adding thumbtacks.

Finishing touch: brown wrapping paper backing. Easy way to do it: I placed the paper over the back of the frame, used the side of my thumb to make an impression of the frame’s outline on the paper, then cut it a little smaller than the impression before using a glue stick to attach it.

Pretty sweet, huh?