| Victoria Zurakowski

How To Paint and Style Denim This Summer

Painted Jeans DIY Ideas to Add Style to Your Wardrobe

After almost a year of elasticated waistbands, putting on a pair of jeans for the first time felt surreal. But it didn’t take long for us to appreciate the happiness that the perfect pair of jeans can bring. And now, with new ideas on how to repurpose them, painted jeans and paint splatter jeans are taking centre stage.

The evergreen quality of denim makes it easy to recycle and repurpose jeans, making it even easier for you to channel your inner artist-cum-designer and create your own painted jeans.

As well as being evergreen, denim has long been a canvas for art. Thanks to designers like Emporio Armani, Versace, and Qasimi, painted jeans, and denim in general, have dominated recent fashion collections.

Lockdowns and bored consumers also helped underscore at-home creative DIY projects, which involved transforming old jeans with paint and the like.

Painted jeans have become a viral trend. Whether you want to buy a pair of already painted denim jeans or try your hand at creating them yourself, there are plenty of painted jeans ideas to inspire.

So, if you want to try creating your painted jeans, but DIY isn’t your thing, check out some of the runway designs to teach you how to paint jeans.

Runway Painted Jeans To Inspire

Repurposed painted jeans are taking on several different guises. There are graffiti-tagged jeans, designer-painted jeans inspired by interior design, paint-splattered jeans, and Mondrian-Esque painted denim to give you a few painted jeans ideas.

Colour Block

Take a page out of Piet Mondrian’s sketchbook with bold colours, lines, and colour blocking. Designers like Bandier have made hand-painted jeans with stripes reminiscent of pieces worthy of showcasing in the Tate Modern, proving it’s easy to breathe new life into an old pair of jeans.

Paint Splatter Jeans

Dolce & Gabbana, Ralph Lauren, Celine, and Junya Watanabe are just a few designers who have jumped on board the paint splatter jeans look. Rainbow painter-inspired jeans make a bold statement and will be seen on the streets in the coming seasons.

Gucci-Inspired Florals

If you’re a Gucci enthusiast or love anything flowery, floral painted denim jeans will surely get you going. Floral-painted jeans are one way you can create wearable fine art. Painted flowers on jeans have been spotted on several jean cuts. We love this look on slightly baggy, tapered jeans with rolled cuffs – an effortless and stylish look!

Tie-Dyed Jeans

While summer camps and hippies gave tie-dying a bad rep, there are plenty of ways you can rock this dyeing technique that has been around since the beginning of civilization. To see how celebs and influencers are wearing this painted jeans trend, check out Diesel, Selfridges, and Isabel Marant for stimulus.  

Graffiti Printed Jeans

From spray paint splatter jeans to spray-painted jeans with graffiti, there’s dope, and then there’s DOPE. This is streetwear at its finest and looks great on boyfriend-style jeans and oversized denim jackets.

How To Paint Jeans

There are designer-painted jeans, but if you’re looking for ways to personalise your jeans while showcasing your creativity, painted jeans are relatively easy as long as you follow some DIY painted jeans basics related to materials. Here are a few ways to paint jeans and the good news is you don’t have to be an artist to achieve this.

Repurposed Jeans

They say creativity is making marvellous out of the discarded, and when it comes to the painted jeans trend, this is very true. Why buy a new pair of jeans to paint when you can repurpose an old pair? Whether you already own them or you’ve snapped them up on an online vintage clothing site like Thrifted, this is one way of saving money and being sustainable at the same time.

Prepping Jeans For Painting

Boyfriend jeans, mom jeans, skinny jeans, cropped jeans…it doesn’t matter what style of jeans you’re going to paint. To ensure the paint takes to the denim properly, wash and dry the jeans thoroughly.

Avoiding Cracks

Before you even search for painted jeans ideas, you need to know how to avoid cracking when painting on denim.

Stretchy denim is the number one cause of cracked paint. DIY painted denim can have a slight stretch, but as a rule of thumb, it needs to be sturdy, which makes jeggings out of the question.

Those “how to paint jeans” tutorials often fail to tell you that using the wrong paint can also cause cracking. Always invest in high-quality acrylic paints – these contain pigments and resins, whereas the lower-quality (cheaper) varieties contain numerous fillers that reduce opacity and compromise the overall quality.

1. Design Prepping

Now comes the exciting bit – searching for those coveted painted jeans ideas – if you haven’t already embraced Pinterest, now’s the time.

Using tailor’s chalk or a light-coloured pencil, lightly sketch your chosen design onto your jeans or other denim garments. For a more polished look, use masking tape to section off the area for painting.

2. Paint Ready

Mix one part paint to two parts textile medium (a substance that can be purchased via Amazon that turns acrylics into washable fabric ones). This step, as well as choosing high-quality paints, will help prevent your paint from cracking and fading and will also make it more machine-friendly.

Because acrylic paint doesn’t wash off easily, have a series of different-sized brushes to hand.

3. Start Painting

The next step is to paint – and this is where the fun begins. Take a brush, dip it into the paint (avoid using too much paint), and use small to medium strokes to create the base. For more of a laidback vibe, use slightly larger, messier (almost haphazard) strokes.

4. Seal The Deal

Allow the painted jeans to dry overnight. Turn your jeans inside out and then run an iron over the painted design using medium heat. In total, spend 5-7 minutes ironing the painted denim, resting every minute to ensure it doesn’t overheat.

Once it cools, rewash the item on a delicate wash and air dry. This is the most crucial step as it is what makes the paint permanent.

NB: If you’ve used masking tape to contain the paint, remove it before heat setting to avoid fire. 

Painted Jean Pockets

If you’re painting jeans in a concentrated area, for example, the back pocket, use masking tape to create a border to stop any paint creeping over.

DIY Paint Splatter Jeans

For a pair of painted jeans DIY-style that combines edginess and femininity this summer, opt for softer pastel colours.

For painted jeans with a splattered effect and that coveted ‘messy on purpose look, add your base using the lightest colour. Concentrate your small brush on areas such as the front pocket seam, the knees’ outer edge areas and move down towards the cuff, gradually applying less paint.

To create that splattered look, add a dash of water to your paint, dip the brush into it, and, using your other hand, gently tap the brush down while moving it from one side to the other.

Styling Your Painted Jeans

DIY painted jeans help make you stand out from the crowd – they’re also easy to pull off. Paint splatter jeans and painted denim can be dressed up or down.

For BBQs, shopping trips or chilled days with friends painted jeans look amazing with boyfriend tees, lightweight shirts, low-top trainers, and a large leather tote. Add a touch of Meditteranean cool with a Panama hat and a lightweight Pashmina-style scarf casually strewn around the neck.

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For bottomless brunches and romantic dates, dreamy ensembles are best. DIY hand-painted jeans, a camisole top, court shoes, and an obligatory clutch are part and parcel of the look.

Art-inspired clothing and painted jeans are nothing new – the only difference is that this season, this look has received an upgrade, making the paints, patterns, and colours bolder and more daring than ever.

With so many painted jeans ideas, there are a lot of designs to choose from. Whatever designs you choose there’s no doubt about it that hand-painted jeans are both super fun to create and wear.

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