How To Make Jeans Look Vintage

Learning how to make jeans look vintage is a lot of fun and can save you money. Vintage jeans are popular, but can be very expensive. Use these techniques to recycle your old jeans and wear them in a new way.

What is Needed:

  • Pair of denim jeans
  • Sandpaper or cheese grater
  • Razor
  • Bleach
  • coffee or fabric dye
  • Plastic gloves
  • Sponge
  1. Wash and dry the denim jeans before you begin to make sure they have shrunk and any excess coloring is removed. Do not do all this work to have the jeans shrink after you have gotten perfect vintage look.
  2. Use bleach to get a simple faded look. Fill your washing machine with water and add a capful of bleach. Submerge jeans into the water and allow them to soak for ten minutes before finishing the cycle. It is best to start with a small amount of bleach and repeat this step if you want a more bleached look. 
  3. Combine equal parts of bleach and water to apply directly to your jeans to get a more concentrated bleached look. Protect your hands with plastic gloves.  Soak a sponge in the bleach and water mixture and squeeze out the excess. Gently rub the sponge on the pants, focus on the areas where you want to a more vintage jean look. Do not allow the bleach to sit on the jeans, but wash immediately. It’s best to apply a small amount of bleach, wash and then look at the effect. You can always repeat it if you want a more vintage look
  4. Soak your jeans in coffee or fabric dye if you want to give them a darker stained look. Mix coffee and water together in a large tub an allow them to sit for several hours. Wash as normal. Repeat if you want a darker look. Or, use the sponge trick to stain parts of the jeans. Allow them to sit for a few hours before washing out.
  5. Rub sandpaper over the hemline of the jeans to give it a well-worn look. Also, use the sandpaper over areas such as back pockets, rear area, and knees. Concentrate on any area that normally has the most wear and tear. An old cheese grater will also work on these areas. 


  • Start with light color jeans to save time.
  • Use a razor or utility knife to make cuts, not scissors to make the tears look more natural.
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