How to Fray and Distress Jeans with Scissors and Sandpaper

How to Fray and Distress Jeans with Scissors and Sandpaper

Taking a U-turn from the polished, sophisticated looks, the runway has turned into a show of frayed, cut, ripped and torn jeans. Frayed jeans are so in vogue in street style collections that everyone wants a pair of their own. Instead of investing way too much money on buying frayed jeans, you can simply make your own at home.

In order to make distressed jeans, all you need is a pair of jeans and scissors. It's quite easy, and the best thing is that you can give your favorite old jeans a frayed look and flaunt them again. Keep reading this OneHowTo article to find out how to fray jeans with scissors.

Jeans with frayed hem

2016 has brought the 90s trend of mom jeans back in style, although with a new twist all fashion bloggers are sporting: the frayed hem. Learn how to fray jean hems with scissors at home easily.

Things you will need

  • Jeans
  • Sharp scissors
  • Sandpaper block


  1. Choose the jeans that you want to fray. Then give them a good wash and then make sure that they dry off completely. If the jeans are wrinkled, use an iron to smooth them out.
  2. First, cut off the hem of your jeans in an even line with the scissors. Make sure that the length of your jeans is now above the ankle. If you need to cut off higher, mark a straight line with pencil and cut that part off with scissors.
  3. Using the same process, cut off the other hem. Make sure that both the sides are equal in length.
  4. Take the sandpaper block and start rubbing the newly cut ends. The sandpaper will bring out the threads of the hem giving the jeans the desired frayed look.

Note: After every wash the threads of frayed jeans will wear out more and more. You can trim off the excess as per requirement.

Image: harperandharley

Frayed jeans with knee rips

If you want to add more drama to your frayed jeans then you can add the classic knee rip using the following method. It looks especially good on boyfriend jeans!

  1. Take the scissors and then cut off a patch around the knees. If you just want them slightly frayed, then just cut horizontal slits on the knees. Make sure that the cutting is at least one or two centimeters away from the seam on both sides.
  2. Take the sandpaper block and start fraying the jeans on both the knees. Make sure that both the rips are not too symmetrical. Asymmetrical rips look more natural.
  3. If you don’t want to show too much flesh, you can add denim patches behind the rips. You can also try to make patches with other fabrics-

Note: If you are fraying stretchy denim do not cut off a long slit or patch at once. The elastane of stretchy denim can turn your slit or patch into one massive hole giving a more exposed look than you have had probably intended for.

How to distress jeans without tearing or ripping them

If you want to distress your old jeans, giving them an acid-washed but not torn or ripped look, you can try the following method:

  1. Put on your jeans. Use a pencil or chalk to mark where you want the fabric to look distressed, that is, softer and lighter, and the width or length you want.
  2. Take the jeans off and place them on a flat surface.
  3. Rub the marked area with rough sandpaper to soften and weaken the jeans.
  4. Wash the distressed jeans in the washing machine.

Another method of making jeans lighter is using bleach.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Fray and Distress Jeans with Scissors and Sandpaper, we recommend you visit our Fashion & Style category.