How to Bleach and Fray Shorts

Bleached and Frayed shorts are really fashionable this summer but come with a hefty price tag for good quality! Stores like Republic, Topshop and New Look all sell 'distressed jeans' but not very cheap! Here's a guide to make your own, unique shorts that everyone will be jealous about!


  1. Image titled Bleach and Fray Shorts Step 1
    Fray them first before bleaching. This is so you can tell apart the white from the blue thread which makes up denim. If you skip this step then your whole shorts could get ruined because all the threads will be white and impossible to tell apart.
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    Start off by turning the shorts inside out. If you look closely at the denim you can see white and blue threads running horizontal against each other. Cut two horizontal lines across the shorts using scissors, leaving a strip of fabric in between the slits. Cut them the length you want your distressed/worn patch to be. Using a tool you want to remove the blue threads from the fabric you just cut. You could use a needle, safety pin, or food/salad clamps to remove the blue threads, you need to do this constantly until all the blue thread has gone and you only have white strings showing, it takes quite a while so do this when you have a bit of time, don't rush otherwise you could be left with just a frayed hole.
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    Once you're done you may want to thread the bottoms of the shorts, you repeat the same method but just separate the white all the way around the leg hole and leave all the blue to leave a messy look. You may want to leave some white and just cut it short to leave threads hanging to give an even better look!
  4. Image titled Bleach and Fray Shorts Step 4
    Once you've done this they may not have turned out as you wanted and that happens every time! All you need to do is put the shorts in the wash and that will separate the threads even more to have more exaggerated holes and to remove all the excess thread that's not needed.
  5. Image titled Bleach and Fray Shorts Step 5
    Afterward leave the shorts to dry naturally outside. Don't use a tumble dryer as the threads can get caught and break from the shorts, once they're done you're ready to start bleaching! Always wear protective gloves as bleach does burn straight through skin! Now, I wouldn't personally recommend any brand of bleach because you're not looking for the hygiene job, just how thick the bleach is. Of course you can't test the bleach in-store so you're going to have to find the best brand for you out of trial and error. Buy the thickest bleach you can afford and water it down when its in the bowl/container.
  6. Image titled Bleach and Fray Shorts Step 6
    Once the bleach is in the bowl, put your gloves on and think of where you want the bleach to be, you may want to buy some standard white elastic bands if you want a dotted or tie-dye effect. If you only want a half an half effect there's no need for bands. Don't use red rubber bands otherwise the red dye used in the bands will leak onto the shorts leaving red stains and patches. Here are the methods to get the look you want-
    • All of the shorts in- All shorts will turn a whitey-blue colour.
    • Half of the shorts in- A two tone white and blue effect.
    • Tie rubber bands around shorts in a ball- Random spotty tie dye effect.
    • Tie rubber band knots randomly- Small clouds of white.
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    Once you're done take the shorts out and place lying down on an old towel or put on the washing line to dry naturally, lay down some newspaper underneath the shorts otherwise the bleach could stain the grass. Don't use any other methods to dry the shorts otherwise the effect and colour could change. Leave the shorts for 3 days to make sure they are definitely dry otherwise you could burn yourself testing if the shorts are still wet.
  8. Image titled Bleach and Fray Shorts Step 8
    You could finish this tutorial and here you have some bleached, distressed shorts! But you can add more items to your shorts! Lots of DIY and accessory stores sell chains, studs and gems which you can sew or glue onto your shorts. Even though studding may take a lot of time it make shorts look even better and shop bought. You can write or design anything using the gems/studs! For example your initial, just covering a pocket or making designs like a cross or a skull. Id recommend HobbyCraft for their choice in clothes decorations.
  9. Image titled Bleach and Fray Shorts Step 9
    If the colour white isn't enough for you, once you bleached your shorts you can use fabric dye to make them a desired colour. Blue isn't enough this summer and colour range all over the rainbow! Fabric dye can be very easy to get hold of and its not expensive either, you can buy fabric dye at all hobby stores or general DIY stores. Fabric dye doesn't contain anymore bleach so your shorts won't get ruined.
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    To dye your shorts again just pour the liquid/powder into a bowl and dilute if needed. Lay shorts in liquid for 30 minutes then take out and lye on newspaper to prevent staining. Leave shorts to dry naturally without any heat and there you have it! Your own pair of bleached, distressed jeans! Enjoy!
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  • If the fraying doesn't go to plan (doesn't work!) then simply cut off the fabric leaving a hole. Distress the edges of the hole and pick a piece of fabric. Cut it to shape and then sew the fabric onto the hole from the behind of the shorts, make sure no threads are showing otherwise this will create a tacky effect!
  • Use more accessories like ribbon and lace to make an even better effect to your shorts!


  • Always wear gloves whenever bleaching or dying material because the dye/bleach can stain or burn through hands PERMANENTLY.
  • Be careful when placing studs onto shorts because they have very sharp edges to them. Be careful when using tools like small hammers of such because those can cause damage as well!

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Categories: Creating Fashion Wardrobes