DIY: The Best Way to Fray Jeans

  • Sharp fabric scissors
  • Coarse sandpaper block
  • Washer and dryer

1 The Style of DIY Frayed Denim

The perfect piece of clothing can sometimes be boring. While your favorite pair of jeans should fit to a "T,” they don't have to look perfectly intact. You can DIY jeans to fit your desired look, style or appearance for a frayed denim look. This look can be done to the pant legs of your jeans, the bottom of your jeans, or any other areas of the jeans that you wish to distress.

British socialite Tamara Ecclestone knows frayed denim never goes out of style.
... Neil P. Mockford/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

In fact, a little DIY fray adds lots of fun to this denim jeans wardrobe staple. Simply take a pair of scissors and a sandpaper block, and pull that perfect hem to pieces. You'll love rockin' this new DIY frayed jeans look from school to social events and everywhere in between.

Frayed denim and distressed denim are very similar styles but may have slightly different appearances in a styled denim look. The distressed look has been fairly popular in modern styles of clothing and jean clothing.

Pro Tip: As tutorials like this DIY need step-by-step instructions for the best results, make sure you follow along with our suggestions and be careful in your actions using the tools we list for the distressing and frayed look. Depending on where you want to add the fray, you may need a seam ripper.

2 How to Fray Jeans:

  1. Find a pair of jeans that you want to fray or give more detail to. a. Old jeans may be best for a DIY like this. b. These can be jeans in any wash or color, and they can be any style of jeans including denim pants or skinny jeans or denim shorts.
  2. Lay your jeans on a clean, flat surface. a. Place the scissors right below the inseam hem of your jeans on the first leg. b. Cut all the way around the hem. c. Repeat on the other side.
  3. Hold the bottom of the first pant leg sideways. a. Firmly grip the bottom of the jeans at about halfway down the opening. b. Open your scissors wide and place it just below your hand. c. Scrape the hem away from your body using firm, short and quick strokes repeatedly. d. Stop when this section is frayed on both sides. e. Repeat on the other leg.
  4. Flip the pant leg over so the frayed section is now at the top. a. Grab hold of the pant leg on top of the frays and firmly hold. b. Place the open scissors or razor blade just below your hand and what has already been frayed. c. Scrape the hem again using short, quick strokes away from your body. d. Make sure to go this all the way around the bottom. e. Repeat on the other leg.
  5. Place the sandpaper block onto the bottom and swiftly rub back and forth. a. This helps loosen the fray and gives the jeans a weathered look. b. Stop when you get your desired look.
  6. Set the washing machine to cold and add the appropriate amount of detergent for the load and wash cycle. a. Place your jeans into the basin and wash them with like colors. b. When finished, toss them into the dryer in a warm setting. c. The agitation and heat contribute to the fraying.
  7. Once the jeans have been washed and are dry, snip any loose threads or loose frays that are too long with scissors. a. These can appear as white threads around the frayed edges of the denim.

Based in Los Angeles, Lisa Finn has been writing professionally for 20 years. Her print and online articles appear in magazines and websites such as "Spa Magazine," "L.A. Parent," "Business," the Famous Footwear blog and many others. She also ghostwrites for mompreneurs and business owners who appear regularly on shows such as Ricki Lake, HGTV, Carson Daly and The Today Show.