Turn a simple pair of jeans or a jean jacket into something amazing. I said skull, but you can shred any shape you want into your jeans and the end result will be fabulous.



Any article of clothing made from jean material. There is a step on the different types of jean material. Please don't skip reading that step. Get something with a nice contrast between the color on the front side and the back side of the jean.

Items to make a pattern such as cardboard, sharpie, Xacto knife, scissors.

Seam Ripper - get the smallest one you can find.

Denim Patches and an Iron

Strong needles or pins

Tape or a lint brush - to get off the fuzzy threads


Plain cotton non-stretch jeans are the easiest for this project, but they are very difficult to find. I'm thinking Levi Strauss is about it. I will only wear Levi jeans, so no problems here, but my children want the hip skinny jeans that are all the rage. Now we are mixing polyester and spandex into the cotton and the threads are like rubber bands. Check out the HOW TO for each type of jean.

With the mixed blend jean, you really need to be careful or you will end up shredding some of your design away. The 100% cotton is more forgiving and you will be less likely to pull a thread from the middle of an eye, for example.

I would suggest practicing on an old pair of Levi jeans to get the feel of this and then move to a stretch jean when you feel comfortable with the process.

I attached two pictures to this step. The darker image is the cotton/polyester/spandex mix. These are the jeans that I used for this Instructable. The lighter image is a pair of cotton Levis, well loved. These are images taken from the leg, waist band would be straight up and the cuff would be straight down.

For the first time doing this, I suggest a straight up and down placement of your shape. That way the threads will be at 90 degree angles. The weave is straight across and straight up and down.


Jeans made from 100% cotton have nice, tightly woven fibers. I pretty much use the needle and a scissors to shred. You can pull these threads and they won't unravel into areas you don't want them to.

Fold your design in half and locate one thread. I have attached pictures to help with this.

Insert the needle under your first thread and pull up until you have broken that thread. Follow the path of that thread and continue to pull it out of the fabric until you reach the edge of your design. Clip the thread and go to the next one.

The last picture I attached shows where I started to break the threads in the center of the section I was working on. Then I removed them to each side. This allows you to leave a shaggier edge.



It is more difficult to shred with a blended fabric, but the final look is amazing. As you remove threads, you will notice your design shrinking up on you. Just stuff a book or flat object down the pant leg to correct the shape. This will help you work as well.

Draw your design onto the fabric. I like to use a fine point Sharpie. The ink will fade as you wash it. Small shapes are harder to do with a blended fabric, because the fibers are so elastic.

THERE IS VERY LITTLE PULLING WITH THIS TYPE OF FABRIC. Just cutting one end and working the fiber free until you can cut it off at the other end. I do not use the needle with this fabric, just the seam ripper and scissors.

These threads are loosely woven and easy to remove, almost too easy. Be careful or you will end up removing part of your design.

Work in small sections for better control.

I put up two pictures that show how I was removing each section. I use the seam ripper to pull two to three threads loose in the middle of the section I am removing and then I cut those threads. Remove the thread to the edge of your design and cut.


It is important to iron on the denim patch to the back side of your jeans. If you don't do this, your design will quickly fall apart.

Cut the patch slightly larger than your design and iron with a dry iron. No steam.

Use a book or any flat object to stuff down the pant leg to straighten your design. If you don't, it will look wrinkled up.

Do u have to wash the jeans differently after doing? Can they be put in the dryer like normal? Just want to make sure I take care of them right after I doing it, lol.
<p>I have been washing and drying the jeans I did. The back patch is holding nicely and keeping the white threads in place. I thought I would do an update on how it looks after multiple washings. But the truth is, by doing this, I compromised the fabric. I suspect that it's going to continue to fray a bit around the edges. Also, I have lots of experience using these patches because my husband has me continually patch his old Levis. These patches take a lot of abuse. Washing once a week and then being put in the dryer, and they hold beautifully. Just make sure when you put the patch on that you hold the iron on for a good amount of time. Even when it appears to be stuck, hold it a bit longer and then try to get a fingernail under it, just to make sure it is really good and stuck. BTW, I would love to see a pic when you finish =)</p>
<p>Fantastic......Thank You</p>
<p>Thanks =)</p>
<p>Kwl.</p><p>I once shredded a pair of jeans when I got battery acid on them inadvertently.</p><p>I wonder how that might work out if it was used as a paint or ink? Just a thought. I make no assertions for the safety or credibility of such an undertaking though.</p>
<p>What you're describing is called devor&eacute;, or burnout, and is a technique that has been in use for around a century. It's typically done using chemicals that will dissolve one component of a fabric that is woven from multiple materials (e.g. you might dissolve portions of the weft, leaving the warp behind and creating a pattern). You can read a bit more about it on <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Devor%C3%A9" rel="nofollow">Wikipedia</a>.</p>
<p>Thanks very much for the info. :-) Much appreciated.</p>
<p>Good luck with that =) I will await the Instructable on the How To =)</p>
<p>LynxSys may have a better understanding of the specific techniques involved. However after reading the short wiki article posted above it seems that devor&eacute;, or burnout has been used successfully for quite some time already.</p>
Great Job! Voll geile Idee
<p>Thank you =)</p>
Nice docs ;)
This is so cool, I'm definitely going to try it!
<p>Thank you =)</p>
<p>Very Creative!</p>
<p>Thank you =)</p>
<p>Wow! Sooo cool! I have some jeans I want to &quot;decorate&quot; with something and I think you've gave me the answer! Thanks for sharing! I love skulls!!</p>
<p>Thank you!!!</p>

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Bio: My life is busy. My days are full. I go to bed at night tired. I am HAPPY!
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