Tutorial: Son of a Bleach Jeans | DIY

BJ12Do you love the trendy studded/distressed/bleached designer jeans, but hate the price attached? Do you have jeans in need of an update? If any of these scenarios apply to you, check out this tutorial! This project is cost effective, while adding fashion value to your wardrobe!


  1. Jeans or Jean Shorts: I’m all about reusing what I have so for me, old or thrifted jeans (which can be found for $5 or less at Goodwill) are used in this tutorial.
  2. Yarn or rubber bands:Depending on how you will disperse your bleach or fabric paint, this tool may vary.  Check out some options listed below
  3. Scissors and/or razor blade: If you have jeans that you wish to transform in to shorts, you’ll need to cut them to your liking. Additionally, you may need the razor to assist in the embellishment of your jeans
  4. Gloves are optional, but can protect your hands from the bleach
  5. 1 cup bleach + 1 cup water in a large container, pot, bucket, etc
  • In place of the diluted bleach, you can also use fabric paint to add colorful design
  • The amount of diluted bleach or fabric paint needed will vary by the surface area you’ll need to cover.


Bleach or Paint Dispersion: With endless options, all one has to do is choose! Spray bottle, Bleach Pen, Pencil Eraser, Rubber Stamp, Paint or Foam Brushes, Sharpie etc.

Creating Patterns and Design: Again, the options are endless! Lace, Stamps, Stencils, Tape, etc

Adding Depth to the Design: If you like the distressed, jeweled, and/or torn look, you can use Sand Paper, Razors, Scissors, Metal or Gem studs, old jewelery, sequins, etc to achieve the look

Imagination is everything; use it!


  1. After deciding on your design, gather the materials
  2. Design Time! For my design I’ve decided to add bleached sections as well as varying sized rips to the jeans . Method:  BJ_1BJ2To add the rips, fold jeans with the seams together. I cut slits of varying lengths up and down the front of the jeans. For the bleach design, starting at the bottom of the pant leg, begin to roll the leg vertically. BJ5
  3. Next, roll the jeans upward and secure with rubber bands, or in my case yarn. Roll each leg upward as far as you’d like the design to go.BJ6

  4. BJ6.5Grab your gloves! Using equal parts water and bleach, fill a bucket (pot, bathtub, container that will fit your jeans) and add your jeans. I set my timer for 30 minutes to allow the jeans to discolor. BJ8Bleaching time will vary by how quickly your jeans absorb the bleach and your desired look. I allowed mine to soak for 1 hour, 30 minutes.  The longer you allow the jeans to marinate in the bleach, the whiter the affects.
  5. BJ10
    Top of the jeans after 1.5 hours
    Top of the jeans after 1.5 hours

    Remove the yarn or rubber bands and view your work. If you’re satisfied, continue to the next step; else, add jeans back to the bleach solution until the desired look is achieved

  6. Once the desired look is achieved, immerse the jeans in cold water to stop the bleaching process.
  7. Place the jeans into the dryer for 15-20 minutes to set the bleach.
  8. Finally, wash your jeans on the ‘Rinse’ cycle if your jeans are ripped and/tattered. This will add to the ‘worn’ look of your jeans.
  9. Optional Designs: If you’d like to distress or add studs to the jeans, do so now!

Washing Instructions: If using fabric paint, the first time washing the jeans, I recommend turning them inside out and washing them alone. Here’s more FAQ about using fabric paint.



I hope you enjoy this fun, cost effective DIY! If you decide to make your own, use hash tag #SonOfABleachJeans and show us your stuff!


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