How To Rip Jeans Without Ruining Them in 10 Easy, Illustrated Steps

Daniel Bishop
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Before we begin:

Step 1: Get a Blanket

Put your jeans on, with your jewelry on; make sure you can work without having to turn on the lights.

Place your jeans on a level surface inside an area that is open and spacious.

Step 2: Get Everything Else You Need

Take a seat near the window where there is plentiful natural light.

Side Note:

  • Blanket
  • A glass of water
  • Scissors
  • Two rubber bands
  • Rubber gloves that close to the elbows
  • Lighter
  • Scraps of cloth

Step 3: Fix the Amount of Inseam

Before you start ripping, consider the products you will need.

After that, cut off the ends off from the jeans that are shorter than the other ends, unless that is what you want your rip to look like.

Step 4: Rub the Denim to Rip It

Now roll the denim while gently rubbing it to make sure that “the nap” on the fabric is flattened. This ensures that the fabric that you rip off can be easily sown back onto the jeans.

Step 5: Get the Water

Take your scissors and slightly cut across your jeans if there is about a half inch space from the edge. This will help in cutting the fabric down without ripping the whole length of the denim.

How to rip your jeans in 10 easy steps (A simple, illustrated guide)

Ripping your jeans is one of life’s great pleasures, whether it’s a hole in your favorite old pair or a thigh-dipper for a special occasion.

But, if you really gotta rip, you better do it right — otherwise the hole won’t look good.

And if you don’t have an old favorite in need of repair, you can always just make one…

On the other hand, if you do it wrong, the hole could be uneven — or the jeans might just fall apart completely.

But the right way is easier than you think: Here is a simple guide to ripping your jeans without ruining them.

Get your equipment ready

For this, you will need a pair of scissors and spray starch. But if you are an experienced person and know how to handle scissors, try to cut your jeans without the spray starch. It will make your job easier and cleaner. If your inspiration comes, you may try to create another new look.

Mark the spot

Locate the area you want cut or the hole you want to create. Use a piece of chalk to mark the spot, making sure to leave a little of the old fabric around the mark, so that you can easily repair your jeans if you have to remove the piece. Once you’ve made your mark, turn your pants inside out.

Cut where you’ve marked

Don’t cut where the seam is. I don’t think you should cut it if you didn’t measure. But if you don’t tell anyone that I told you this.

Use sandpaper or a cheese grater to distress the rips

This is the most fun part.

Using sandpaper or a cheese grater, take off some of the layers of denim on the edges of the rip. You'll want the edges of the ripped jeans to look old and worn.

Do this along the entire edge of the rip.

Rip jeans and leave the white thread

You will need to start the process with an old pair of jeans that you don’t mind sacrificing. Failing to remove the top part of the original hem could leave you with small shreds that will eventually unravel. Once they are ripped, you can either cut them off or leave them.

Carefully rip the back pockets off the jeans. This process will be slightly different depending on the style of the jeans.

One you have finished ripping off the fabric around the bottom of the pockets, turn the jeans over.

You will notice a small stitch that holds the top of the pocket in place. Using a pair of sharp scissors, remove this stitch. The pocket should then pull off.

Remove the back pocket from inside the jeans, rather than the outside. This will make rippling less visible from the outside.

From here, you can either cut the leg opening off if you want a clean, straight edge, or cut it into smaller rips.

Once you are finished cutting or ripping all the edges, you can then do whatever you want with them.

If you choose to leave the jeans in the ripped state, you can turn them inside out and wash them. As with any fabric, tearing it can make it harder to clean. So washing them inside out is always a good idea, especially if you are working with a light-coloured denim.

Add any extra touches

You can add studs, pins, or patches to the knee area to complete your new look.

Take a moment to reflect

On some of the great times you had in your jeans. Maybe last summer at that bbq, or in middle school during lunch break. They’ve been with you through a lot of experiences and situations.

But when they start to get old, faded, or worn out, you need to give them a new life. And that’s where upcycling steps in.

Upcycling is the art of adapting old or unused items into something new and more useful. Upcycling is a great way to prolong the life of clothing you don’t want to lose, and make some money while you’re at it.

This guide is going to teach you how to take a pair of old jeans and turn them into a trendy rectangle backpack. It’s a great way to reuse and renew your old jeans, and it’s a great backpack… if we don’t say so ourselves.

So it’ll be a win-win situation. Bags, like jeans, need to be in constant change, they need to be reinvented. You never know who will love your old jeans, so make sure to share this how-to guide.

Throw them in the washing machine

In the laundry machine, you have the bulk of your ripping power. If you want to use a machine to tear the denim, first, you have to put a pair of jeans in to wash.

The agitation and friction from the wash will break down the fibers of the jean. This initial breaking down of the denim will make it easier to rip.

The downside is that washing will weaken the cuff, the spot where your belt loops are sewn on a pair of pants. Ideally, when you are going to rip your pants, you want to make sure that you are wearing the right clothes underneath them so that you don’t have any unexpected accidents on your hands.

Pre-ripping your jeans in the washing machine is only going to make the actual ripping easier.

Try on your new jeans, and smile

Ripping your jeans might be your favorite hobby, but you can’t be lazy about it or you will run the risk of ruining them. Straight cuts are the best method for preserving their durability and appearance.

{1}. Measure off a piece of thread a couple of inches longer than your desired rip.
{2}. Tie the thread to fit tight around your finger to mark the place where the thread will be.
{3}. Bring out your sewing kit, and get the hand-sewing needle and the thread.
{4}. Prepare the needle by pulling the nib of the needle through the center of the thread before tying the thread around your finger.
{5}. Cut a straight line between the two pieces of thread, and then snip off the excess thread.
{6}. Using your fingers, roll the denim fabric between your thumb and middle finger while applying slight pressure. Keep rolling the fabric upward until you reach the previously marked line.
{7}. Remove the thread from your finger and make a knot. Repeat this process twice.
{8}. Put the needle inside the loop, and tighten it by pulling the thread. Continue pulling the thread back and forth.
{9}. As the loop grows, continue to pull the thread. Make sure to hold it straight and tight.
{10}. When the loop is big enough to fit your finger, you can tighten the thread and cut off the excess thread.

Think about a few alternatives

Instead of ripping your jeans to get them to look more fashionable, it might be a good idea to think about the other possibilities first.

If you’re just after a certain look or certain pair of jeans, you can basically just buy them in the size and the length you need. If you’re going for a look, but can’t afford to buy a new pair of jeans, it might be a good idea to look on eBay, Craigslist, or any other resale sites for second-hand jeans. If you can’t find any second-hand, then you could just alter your own jeans.


You may have the idea that fashion is incredibly complicated or that it is all about spending your money on expensive clothes. In reality, this isn’t true. Fashion is all about other peoples decisions, not your own.

The world puts limitations on your choices. You will have to decide that you don’t want to follow those rules.

In the tips we have explained in this fashion guidebook, we have tried to make sure that we cover a number of simple methods that anyone can use. You can find them everywhere around you, in a variety of situations.

In this fashion guidebook, we have also tried to focus on how you can change your own mindset. This is important because it means that you will change YOURSELF.

You can’t expect other people to change, and you can’t change their opinions of fashion. The only way that this happens is for you to change your own style and habits.

There is no need to panic or to feel that your individual opinion matters more than what anyone else has to say. This is a mistake that others have made since the beginning of time.

Try to focus on what you want to do, and you will start moving in the direction you want to be.