The Cool-Girl Denim DIY You Haven't Tried

Photographed by Victor Prado.
We all have that trusty pair of jeans — they've been with us through haircuts, relationships, and apartments. And, like all good things, they get better with time. At this point, they're just soft enough, we've finally perfected the cuff, and we've actually built an entire shoe wardrobe around 'em, so we can wear the pair with literally everything. But, we can admit they could use a little spruce. So, craft enthusiasts that we are, we teamed up with Levi's® to create a denim DIY that even the least artistically inclined jean-lover can execute with pride.

Adding a graphic element to your jeans doesn't require an artist's inspiration or a surgeon's hands. Ahead, we created a star-shaped pattern to paint on our favorite 501s®, and we'll walk you through the process step-by-step — all you need are the supplies on our list and a free afternoon. Well, that, and a great movie to watch while the paint dries.
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Photographed by Victor Prado.
You'll Need:
-Fabric paint (we used Pebeo Setacolor Fabric Paint in White)
-Fabric pencil or marker that matches either your paint or your denim (we used blue to match the denim)
-3 to 5 pieces of card stock (we used 90 lb. cover paper)
-A skinny paintbrush and a VERY skinny paintbrush (we used Blick Scholastic Wonder White Bright Brushes in sizes 1 and 6)
-Water jug to rinse brushes in
-Small plastic container for paint
-Artist's tape
-X-Acto knife
-Measuring tape or cutting mat (we used this Alvin Self-Healing Cutting Mat)
-Jeans! (we used Levi's 501 Jeans in Vintage Indigo)
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Photographed by Victor Prado.
Step 1: Make sure your denim is wrinkle-free before you get started (throw it in the dryer or iron it), and lay it flat so you have a smooth surface to paint on.
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Photographed by Victor Prado.
Step 2: Then, you'll need to create a star-shaped stencil. Sketch a small triangle on your card stock, using a measuring tape or a cutting mat to make sure it's equilateral; cut it out with your X-Acto knife. Trace that triangle five times, connecting the points together to form a perfect star. Cut out the completed star shape, and then rough-cut around the border to create a stencil. Repeat this step until you have as many stencils as the number of stars you want to paint on your jeans — we painted 10.
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Photographed by Victor Prado.
Step 3: Place the stencils on your jeans, spacing them a few inches apart. Go a bit closer if you want to include more stars. Try tilting the stencils in different directions or only putting one side of the stencil on the denim for a less uniform look.
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Photographed by Victor Prado.
Step 4: Once you've figured out where you want the stars placed, tape the stencils in place. Artist's tape works best here because it's especially sticky.

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Photographed by Victor Prado.
Step 5: Using your fabric pen or marker, trace the inside of the star stencils on your denim.
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Photographed by Victor Prado.
Step 6: Now, fill in each star with fabric paint using your slightly wider brush (be extra careful around the edges!). Go back over the outline of each star with your tiny brush once you've finished filling in the area. This helps keep the paint from running. Coat each star fully two to three times to ensure a smooth finish. And, as you go, be sure to rinse off your brushes when they get gunky.
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Photographed by Victor Prado.
Step 7: Relax, and wait for the paint to dry! (Pro tip: For added safety, blowdry the paint before washing these jeans. This will make extra-sure it stays put.)
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