If you are like celebrities Kate Moss or Britney Spears, buying seriously expensive jeans that are already strategically ripped is no problem. For the rest of us, who don’t want to spend the price of a car on a pair of jeans, stylish ripping is easy enough to do yourself with few materials.
Choose your Jeans
While using sand paper is a popular way of ripping your jeans and does very well for creating soft, worn areas and subtle frayed spots, there are easier ways that take less time. Begin with a bit of research. Look in fashion magazines for the best-looking rips and where they are located. Now, choose a favorite, old pair of jeans from your closet, or go to a secondhand store and buy an already old-looking pair. While wearing the jeans, trace patterns in your chosen locations of where you want the jeans to be ripped and the size the rips should be.
What you Need
If you simply want large tears in your jeans, it is easy enough to take scissors or a razor blade. Cut a hole in the material and pull until the tear is the size you want. But for more fashionable, distressed-looking rips, you need to do a few more things.
Distressing jeans is easiest with a tool that has a rough or coarse surface. Some materials that work well include a cheese grater, steak knife, pumice stone, sharp scissors or a wood file.
How to Rip Jeans
Once you have chosen the tools for ripping your jeans, place a block of wood or something equally as solid inside of the region where you want it distressed. Rub the tool that you have chosen against the denim in a vertical or horizontal direction. As the fibers start to come loose, pull them out to make the frays larger and more obvious. For mild frays rub gently and for larger holes or tears rub longer and more vigorously.
Next, dampen a sponge with bleach and rub the outer edges of the holes so they acquire a faded, used look. Wash and dry the jeans a few times to enlarge the holes and create an even more naturally distressed look.
Never try to rip your jeans while you are wearing them.
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Christina McDonald-Legg has been writing about health, wellness and travel since 1999. Her articles have appeared in "Colures Magazine" (London), "The Sunday Times" (Dublin), "The Connacht Tribune" (Galway) and "The Seattle Post-Intelligencer," and been featured online by the U.K. Department of Health. McDonald-Legg holds a Master of Arts in journalism from the National University of Ireland.