Style

A DIY that will turn your favourite jeans into your all-time favourite jeans

How to hand-paint denim and customize your next wear-everywhere pair.

How to hand-paint denim and customize your next wear-everywhere pair.

(All photography by Wade Muir)

A good pair of jeans is the staple of any wardrobe, and while they're always in fashion we're in favour of amping up an old pair with some painted on pattern. Our team snagged three pairs of comfy, broken-in vintage denim and gave each pair its very own twist using super simple materials. Patterned, custom-painted pairs like this are so hot right now, but they usually bear an artisan price tag. Instead, this fun and easy DIY allows you to customize your own pair of jeans. Plus, this trick can be used on anything: denim, jackets, boyfriend shirts, shorts – you name it!

If you are worried about painting your own pattern well, our advice is to use simple shapes and good quality paint brushes that won't fray and cause uneven lines. Think of an entire pattern as a 6x6" square and then randomly fit all shapes into this square, repeating that size and shape as you go. We think that with simple patterns in simple colour schemes, it's best to do the entire pant. With really crazy colourful patterns, maybe just the front or one leg. The triangle pattern we created was totally free hand based on three different sizes of triangles approximately 0.5-2 inches in size. For the single leg jeans, we did a Matisse-inspired look building on the pattern by doing one colour at a time. The '90s pattern (pictured in the steps below) was our take on a design we found online that we copied in size and shape as well.

Here's what you'll need:

  • A pair of jeans
  • Newspaper (enough to crumple up and stuff your jeans with)
  • Small samples of latex paint in the colour scheme of your choice (it will stiffen but remain pliable and won't wash off in the laundry or stain other clothing)
  • An array of good quality paint brushes (opt for a brush smaller than you think is necessary, once paint and pressure are added, the coverage area widens)
  • You might also want a glass of water, some paper towel and a blank sheet of paper

Here's how to do it:

1. Stuff your jeans full with newspaper. This helps to elevate the in and out seams on each pant leg so that when painting, your pattern can easily wrap around. We didn't paint the back on every pair as we thought it might be overwhelming with so much pattern, but we did find the jeans looked more seamless when the pattern breached the seams a bit.

2. Pre-plan your painting! Using your blank sheet of paper, your brushes and your paint, plan your pattern in advance. Paint it onto a blank white sheet and use this sheet as a reference when you begin on your pants.

3. Begin painting your pattern onto your jeans. Start by painting one shape with one colour and do this shape on the entire pair of jeans. Avoid painting the waistband, fly, and inner pockets. We found the jeans looked cleaner and more professional when we skipped these areas. Repeat this step for each shape and colour you are using until the jeans are completely painted.

4. Chill out and let them dry. Because latex paint is so thick, the jeans will need at least 2 hours to fully dry, depending on the intensity of your chosen pattern.

You can go as monochromatic as you want by simply using white or black on denim, or as colourful as you want like we did with this full blown, '90s inspired pastel pattern, paint back and front, or just one leg – it's all up to you! Because the pattern is loud, pair your jeans with a solid tee for a clean and chic look, and dress them up or down with your choice of shoes.

Photography by Wade Muir 


Lynzie Kent is the founder and creative director of Love by Lynzie Events + Design, the company behind Makeful TV's new show "Crazy Beautiful Weddings". Lynzie is also the lead singer of Electric Blonde, the host of Makeful TV's "Post My Party" and the creator of the Toronto Pop Up Wedding Chapel in collaboration with The Drake Hotel. She is wife to Andrew and Mom to Archie, which she considers to be her most important work. View our events portfolio at Lovebylynzie.com and visit Lynzie on Instagram.

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