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How to Distress & Rip Jeans

Want to give your jeans a worn-in look in a matter of minutes? Follow these easy steps from Levi's® to learn the art of distressing—whether you prefer a little or a lot.

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Watch the video from Levi's® to learn more.

How to Distress Jeans

Before You Get Started...
Wear your jeans for two weeks straight. This allows you to see the areas your jeans naturally show wear, which can lead to a more authentic distressing.

Gather the Essential Tools

  • Leather gloves
  • Rotary power tool
  • Sandpaper
  • Your favorite jeans

For Light Distressing...

  1. Put on the leather gloves and run your hands over the jeans while wearing them.
  2. Be sure to press firm to help the friction create a slightly worn appearance.
  3. Wash and hang dry.

For Medium Distressing...

  1. Lay the jeans on a flat surface.
  2. Sand the natural wear spots with sandpaper.
  3. Don't forget the seams! Sand them as little or as much as you'd like.
  4. Wash and hang dry.

For Heavy Distressing...

  1. Lay the jeans on a flat surface.
  2. Use the rotary tool to graze the wear spots.
  3. Repeat as needed to help remove some of the jean's pigments, resulting in a heavily distressed look.
  4. Wash and hang dry.

How to Rip Jeans

Follow these simple instructions from Levi's® to deconstruct your jeans with rips, tears and fringe.

First, Gather Your Materials

  • Your jeans that need a makeover.
  • Scissors
  • A thin cutting board or study cardboard
  • Sandpaper
  • Seam Ripper

For Creating Rips...

  1. Decide where you want your rips.
  2. Mark the area with pins.
  3. Use scissors to cut a hole.
  4. Place a hard board inside the leg
  5. Use the seam ripper to create fringe
  6. Work with the sandpaper to distress the fabric further
  7. Wash and hand dry

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