How to Make Ripped Jeans

Updated April 17, 2017

Distressed and ripped jeans are one of the most simple fashion statements to make at home. All you need is a pair of jeans, scissors and sandpaper to get the look of all the hottest trendsetters in the magazines. Whether you want large, grungy holes or carefully constructed rip patterns, tailor the look to suit your style. Finally, stop paying high-end fashion prices for a look you can complete at home.

Take the trousers you will be ripping and set them on a clear, flat surface. Arrange them so all areas you plan to make holes in are fully visible and flattened. Look over the jeans and try to visualise where and what kind of holes you wish to add.

Pencil in where you want to make holes and rips. If you plan on making only one or two holes, this step may be unnecessary. Add detail to your sketches on the trousers to show the difference in the types of holes. Make horizontal lines showing how large you plan to make the holes and vertical line representing how distressed you would like them to look. Take another look at the jeans and visualise the final product. Now, make any final changes to your plan.

Rub the sandpaper over the spot where you would like a hole. You can place the cheese grater underneath that area and rub the sandpaper over the cheese grater for quicker results; however, the grater is not necessary. Rub the sandpaper on the jeans until a small hole appears.

For a more naturally distressed look, rip the small hole into a larger hole using your fingers or use scissors for a more drastic, punk effect. Ease your fingers into the hole making a twisting motion. As you twist your finger, pull the hole more open. When using scissors, gently apply pressure to the hole using one of the scissor blades or, for an extreme look, cut the hole in.

Rub sandpaper over the frays of the hole to create an even more distressed look. Use the sandpaper over corners of fabric on the jeans, such as at the pockets or zipper, as well.

Wash the trousers. Use a small amount of bleach to increase the distressed effect. Allow the jeans to dry naturally, in the sun, and avoid line drying, as it can make the jeans looks stiff.


Use extra hard sandpaper.


Do not make the holes too large, as they tend to grow with washing.

Things You'll Need

  • Jeans
  • Fabric washable pen or pencil
  • Cheese grater
  • Sandpaper
  • Scissors
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About the Author

Mary Freeman is a freelance writer. She has held several editorial positions at the print publication, "The Otter Realm." She traveled throughout Europe, which ultimately resulted in an impromptu move to London, where she stayed for eight months. This life experience inspired her to pursue travel writing. Freeman received a degree in human communication from California State University.