Head to your local Goodwill and find the most atrocious pair of Mom Jeans. But don’t worry–with some scissors, bleach, and a little creativity, you can have a trendy, stylish new pair of cutoffs.
First and foremost, you’re going to need to know how to properly chop those jeans off into shorts. It’s more complicated than simply cutting them in half.
Now, distress those jeans!
The same tutorial from A Pair and a Spare DIY gives you the proper steps to distressing your denim (hint: it involves a razor blade and tweezers!). I’ve attempted distressing in various ways, but none have been majorly successful. I’m definitely going to be practicing this method next time the DIY shorts bug strikes!
Here’s even more tips on distressing your jeans, found at Pretty Quirky Pants.
Time to get decorating!
Make the shorts above by following this tutorial.
Now that you have a standard pair of denim cutoffs, you’re good to go. However, there are dozens of great ideas floating around the internet on ways to add interest and uniqueness to your denim.
Bleaching your cutoffs is one of the easiest updates you can make! It’s also virtually foolproof. If you splash a little bleach where you’re not supposed to, no one will even know the difference.
Check out this Aztec-inspired bleach tutorial from Boat People Boutique.
Similar to the tutorial above, only bleach on half of the jeans. It adds an interesting element to any pair of shorts.
Add Fabric or Lace
Adding a lace insert is an easy way to add interest to your shorts. This is also a great choice if your shorts are just a little too snug from last year. This creates additional leg room! Here is the tutorial.
Here’s how to create a lacy hem.
Adding fabric to the hem and pocket is a quick fix that adds a ton of flair. Here is the tutorial. And, when you have no ideas whatsoever, there is nothing better than adding floral fabric to your jeans. Whether you attach it to the front, the back, the pockets, the hem, wherever–nothing is cuter than this DIY look.
Or, for a more funky option, add some fun-printed fabric! Follow these steps from Tattooed Martha.
Paint and Tye-Dye
Paint simple polka dots! Either a fabric marker (or paint!) or a simple bleach gel pen would be able to recreate this cute and timeless look.
Check out this YouTube video for instructions on creating those beautiful rainbow shorts. You can do this with any assortment of colors that you want. Remember, you want to make these shorts yours.
This tutorial is pretty in-depth (read: complicated), but the resulting daisy shorts are so cute! Click and check out the instructions–if you dare!
All you need is fabric paint to create these cute patriotic shorts. Check out the tutorial from It’s Clementine.
Turn your shorts wild with this leopard paint tutorial.
Here’s a great guide for creating dip-dye shorts. A variety of techniques, colors, and ideas can be found here. Will we ever get tired of dip-dye? Probably not. There’s so much you can do with this fun DIY option. For example, check out these adorable watermelon shorts!
Galaxy print is always a trendy and fun option! Make these using a little bit of bleach and some paint. You don’t have to be an artist to beautify your shorts!
There’s nothing I want more than to make this sequined pair of jeans! Here are the step-by-step instructions from A Pair and A Spare DIY. Anything with sparkle is my go-to option.
Pretty stitching is a no-brainer! You don’t need to be a seamstress to run a few rows of colored thread through your shorts. Learn how here. Pearls are another beautiful way to update a worn-out pair of jeans.
And, as always, studs are a classic embellishment that will never go out of style. There are so many different studs to choose from and arrangements (pockets, the entire front panels, just the edges, etc). You’ll never get tired of this DIY.
Ropes of sequin can easily be glued on to shorts for a no-sew option.
Add some fringe for an unexpected touch of style! These are perfect for your next music festival.
It’s never been easier (or cuter!) to be fashionable! Check out the scallop hem tutorial here. Shorts like this sell for big bucks in department stores, but you can make an even more stylish version for a fraction of the cost.
Other Fun Transformations
I could have added these adorable lacy shorts under my lace/fabric section, but I think the bow pockets are in a league of their own. These are so cute and so simple! Here is another tutorial for bow pockets–but using denim.
I love these cutout pocket shorts. I think it’s a super simple update that has a lot of impact. Plus, it’s not something you see everyday. If you can’t sew, that’s not a problem–all you need are some scissors to create this look! All of your friends will want to know where you got your cool and trendy new shorts. And you get the pleasure of telling them you made them all by yourself (plus the bragging rights!).
With paint, dye, and embellishments, I wasn’t sure where to put these shorts. So here they are, in the miscellaneous section, combining multiple cute summer trends in one.
Now, get crafting! Summer is here!