Topshop
Banana-print denim biker

American Apparel
Sunflower-print shorts

DIY Denim painting: gathering inspiration…

All photos with tripod

I was asked by eBay to customize my own pair of jeans in support of a charity campaign involving the pop group B*Witched, who will be auctioning their favourite denim show pieces in aid of the UK charity Jeans for Genes Day. This obviously led me to Googling for ideas, and eventually took me straight back in year 1999. What is it about the internet and painting on denim material that MUST involve a brooding cat/wolf/unicorn or really awkward grafitti? Google Images suggests a mountain of things that either look like the wardrobe for Sister Act II detonated, or Robin Sparkles* is actually a Canadian fashion blogger (oh, is that why we all need to go to the mall) littering the intranets with ‘coul grafitti coat‘ how-to’s. The fact of the matter is, other than the popular two that are bleaching and ripping, there’s seems only so many other modern ways to customize denim without crossing over to the 90′s again. So heck, I decided to give painting a go, if all fails I figured I’ll wear it with roller-blades + scrunchie and do the Locomotion… aaand get braces again, why not.

* The alias of Robin Sherbatsky, a fictional character on the series How I Met Your Mother

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What you’ll need
Victim jeans (mine are secondhand from eBay), a range of fabric paint (For this particular project you’ll need black, blue, green, red, white and yellow), medium & small brushes, a piece of thin cotton fabric (i.e t-shirt), iron, masking tape (optional).

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Sketch the outline of the pattern lightly using the pencil

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Start with the lightest shade. For this particular pattern, I mixed mainly green and white, and added a dabbed yellow to warm up the green, then a bit of red to to desaturate it overall. For the darker leaves, try not to use too much black – instead, add a hint of blue and to deepen the green.

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Tip: Use masking tape to block out the areas you don’t want to paint (i.e the insides of the pocket)
Slide your hands in the shorts for more control while painting.

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Use a skinnier brush to add details.
Leave to dry for an hour or so.

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To fix – iron the denim from the front through a thin cloth at cotton heat setting for 3 minutes. Et voila! The paint should be waterproof and even machine-washable. (Try not to touch the paint-job with the iron!)

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Wearing: Jersey tee – ASOS. Denim shorts – DIY on Levi’s (via eBay). Nail polish – American Apparel.

A couple of tips:

  • I usually source most of my DIY equipment and victims on eBay, but it’s especially good for denim. You can score a pair of previously-worn white denim Levi’s shorts like these for under £5, or choose from a range of new products from certified sellers. Same with materials and equipment – sometimes I purchase a job-lot of random broken jewellery to play with, or buy very specific colours of rhinestones.
  • Fabric paint is surprisingly opaque, almost identical to the texture of acrylic paint. If you find that the paint is too thick while painting, just dip your brush in water to thin the paint out for those tricky corners.
  • It IS actually possible to paint on denim with acrylic paint – but I’d personally recommend doing that only to garments you wouldn’t necessarily wash as often: like jackets, vests or denim rucksacks.
  • Masking tape is perfect for geometric patterns – simply cut strips and lay them out in zig-zag pattern for a easy-peasy paint-job.
  • Last but not least, if all this painting scares you, there’s so many other simpler things you can do with fabric paint and denim – polkadots, stripes, shapes… you can even draw bananas all over your jeans, which would also be very effective in hiding your boner. Yes I have bananas on my pocket and I may or may not be happy to see you.

Please do help Jeans for Genes Day by selling your own denim on eBay (or bidding for one) and donating between 10-100% of your final sale value to the charity. 

Write a Comment

81 Comments

  1. Lena

    These turned out so well! Love what you’re using as your perfume display by the way!

  2. amazing DIY, you are an artist!!!

    DIY blog
    http://www.thestelstyle.com

  3. I love this DIY! …although my artistic ‘talents’ are limited, to say the least :/ Your shorts turned out great, I might even throw caution to the wind and give it a go!

  4. Beautifully done! I love the stark contrast between the white & the leafy green. Nice work! :)

    xo runbarbierun.com

  5. The painting looks amazing Shini!!

  6. Love the result! I actually prefer it to the original.

    http://www.divosdiva.WordPress.com

  7. Emily K G

    Such an amazing job! Your so artistic. Love the banana boner joke X

    denimandglory.wordpress.com

  8. That is seriously good! It’s a pretty hard pattern too & looks amazing at the endxx

  9. great work my dear!
    Yuna

  10. Maya

    This is so beautiful Shini.. <3

  11. These look amazing! I don’t think I’d be able to pull this off, but I enjoyed watching the process.

    http://angeliquejennifer.blogspot.com

  12. Whoa you did such a great job, love it.

    xo
    http://pinksole.com

  13. It is just amazing! I should try to do it by myself!
    thanks your advise!

    http://www.a-grevstad.com

  14. These look AMAZING. I seem to remember being alright at drawing leaves as a preteen artist so I may just rip you off wholesale…

    http://hellionyell.wordpress.com

  15. Asia

    they’re amazing! i wish i have your talent to do that ;]

  16. pinkschmink

    These look amazing Shini! I’m in awe of your mad denim painting skillz. (And aha! Now I know who’s been bidding against me on all those broken jewellery eBay lots …) :)

  17. Miss Stephanie

    These look wicked!! LOVE them!!

  18. These are so cool and are you are talented with the brush :)
    J

  19. Oh wow! This is a great DIY!
    Good job!

    Verena from http://www.whoismocca.com

  20. Dude I really think it’s cheating a bit that you’re apparently also an amazing painter, but I love it all too much to admit that that’s a complaint.

  21. Danielle

    Hahaha banana to hide the boner! Genius! x

  22. Wow, that’s so great! This short is a real piece of art! Great choice, I love the result!

    http://www.laurablogmode.com

  23. ayy_ayy

    B*witched? That’s a girlband when i was 9 years old, i guess.

    The idea is brilliant. And the banana pattern will be great.
    Add some other fruits and the theme will be ‘fruits of the jungle’. :)

  24. amazing capture!

    monkeyshines
    http://monkeyshines-monkeyshines.blogspot.com/

  25. I’ve searched for so long for some affordable palm print jeans/shorts, I’ve never even thought of doing it myself. Thank you for the brilliant tutorial!

  26. Bleugh, can’t paint for shit, but this is brilliant! When my painting skills finally improve, I’ll definitely be trying this out!

  27. Those turned out so well! Great idea.

    xx
    Fashion Eaters

  28. Brigitte

    Lol at your last line. You’re really quite talented!! I think the shorts turned out so well!! I know I would not be able to paint anything like this but… it was really entertaining seeing the process you went through start to finish.

  29. ChicTrends

    Omg this looks amazing! You’ve got some talent there! Tempted to try this at home but expecting the same results is not realistic.

    http://chictrends.co.uk/

  30. Err awesome, much!?!!

  31. Ping

    Wow !!! it look so nice, i love it but I’m not good with painting lol.

  32. amazing diy, sadly I am not as gifted as you, the shorts look perfect.

  33. Your shorts are amazing love them, they look sos cute
    xx

  34. Just fantastic shini!

  35. Amazing!

  36. Such a lovely DIY, might just have to give it a go.. <3
    …. chuckles about banana pockets!

  37. WHAT. that is actually amazing. great job!

    reckless abandon blog

  38. they look really good!

    http://www.styleandshades.blogspot.com

  39. Amazing!! I love all your DIYs. :)

    http://www.queenofmayhem.com
    http://www.queenofmayhem.com

  40. If only could draw that well . Impressive work !!!

  41. WOW! What can I say? It’s absolutely BEAUTIFUL! amazing piece of artwork! I really love your painting *o*

  42. OMG ! It is perfect !!!
    Congrats :)

    xoxo
    Manon

  43. Very cool project!!! Ypur painting is perfect!!!

    http://www.hannoverfashion.com

  44. amazing.

    - Janine
    http://theeoptimist.blogspot.com

  45. Hi Shini, the end result is impressive!

    I find the poetry in your writing and the simple yet beautiful design of your website inspiring. You have earned yourself yet another follower.

    My own blog is dedicated to scarves from Paris, please do come by if you have an interest.

    Yours,
    Comtesse Sofia http://scarves.comtesse-sofia.fr/

  46. It’s lovely, you’re such an artist!
    Mafalda ❤
    http://www.mafaldadotzero.blogspot.fr

  47. The first thing that attracted me to your blog, (except the part where the layout totally enamored me) was the fact that you are Korean. Here comes the cliche when I tell you how I love the Korean language and I am learning it, and how the Korean culture inspires me. Anyhow, that put aside, I find you unbelievably motivating. I love the classiness in your shots and I am simply entranced by the way you write. Most bloggers just slap some simple sentences about their outfit, but you make a whole fun story. Like this banana thing. I love this idea of the shorts, and considering the fact that I am good with the brush, I should purchase some fabric paint and totally try this. (In different colors though. I have had enough of green, haha).

  48. God! your artwork is so good! SO trying this at home <3

  49. annie wei

    Love the idea and you did a great pair of new pants!

  50. Great idea the shorts looks great.

  51. This is amazing!!! I want to try it ! I think I will do that, cause it’s very very beautiful ! Congrats for this work !

    http://www.the-heels.com/

  52. This is sooo good! I definitely want to try this out! I hope mine turns out okay.

    sartorialust.blogspot.com

  53. Really cool and different diy project for denim shorts!

  54. skye

    They look amazing!
    I’ve missed your DIY posts!! :(

  55. Amazing DIY!

    xx.

  56. They look fantastic! I love this DIY although I am pretty sure I couldn’t get such a good result.

  57. Tara

    I love prints and this is such a cool way to do it. They came out great!

    Discover cool stuff and great prints from emerging designers from around the world on TROVEA.
    http://www.trovea.com

  58. They are beautiful! I don’t know if I’m talented enough for this but beautiful!

  59. How wonderfully unique! You’re so awesome with your hands. x

  60. Sara

    This is brilliant! :)) but im just afraid that im going to mess the whole things up when i paint it by myself

  61. This looks amazing!! You’re such an inspirational artist.
    Really love how you made the colours of the leaf come alive even painting on a pair of jeans with limited colours to choose from.

    Well done!!

  62. wow! amazing!!!

    thedaydreamings.blogspot.com

  63. Very original, and very professional. I’d love to be able to do make some shorts like this :)

  64. You’re REALLY good at painting, my attempt would result in various shades of green blobs on shorts. It looks really good and a great cause to be part of xx

  65. faye

    cool! you can very good painting!
    x

  66. LOVE U

  67. […] Jungle genes: DIY denim painting – Park & Cube […]

  68. you did a really bag-up job! this is definitely some great inspiration to get started on my own painterly prints

    hahaha love the banana idea ;)

  69. Damn, girl. Is there anything you can’t do well?!?! Love it.

  70. Lauren at adorn la femme

    So so pretty and jungley!!

    (=’.’=)
    Lauren at adorn la femme

  71. OMG!!! thats a really nice DIY, congratulations!!

  72. amazing DIY!!! Congratulations for the result, so cool.

    xoxo

    http://momentomoleskine.blogspot.com.es/

  73. I’ve fallen in love with this DIY!!! You’re an artist. I’ve got some DIY in my blog, and painting clothes is what I like the most. I have lots of painted clothes in my closet:)
    Nice idea.

    http://www.emerjadesign.com

  74. ciao,complimenti…sei proprio un’artista…..kiss

  75. ciao,complimenti…sei proprio un’artista…..kiss…

  76. ciao….complimenti….

  77. Wow! You did an amazing job! It look so pretty!

    http://www.lcnoir.com

  78. […] 1. painted print denim shorts DIY from Park & Cube […]

  79. Since it predates the introduction of metals,
    it iis safe to say that this must be the oldest form of jewelry in New Mexico,
    and perhaps in North America as well. When the handmade jewellery iis not in use anymore, place it
    inn yur jewellery box and it can be an heirloom with a story to remember.
    Long ago the Native Amerjcan Indian descorated their garments with painted designs.

  80. Hey! This post could not be written any better! Reading through this post reminds me of my old room mate!
    He always kept chatting about this. I will forward this article to
    him. Fairly certain he will have a good read. Thanks for sharing!

  81. Such an amazing job! Fantastic Idea!