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Road Trip Denim Cutoff Shorts

By: Robb Restyle
July 3, 2019

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Road Trip Denim Cutoff Shorts
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Cutoff denim shorts are EVERYWHERE this summer! And, the only thing more nostalgic than creating your own hand-cut and frayed pair of denim shorts is customizing them with a little hand-painted art!

I’m going to show you how to use DecoArt SoSoft fabric paint and some road trip inspired images to create your own custom denim cutoff shorts just in time for summer cookouts and trips to the lake.

Let’s be real. Most of us have an extra pair (or more) of denim jeans in our closet. I had this distressed pair that I wasn’t wearing much and thought they would make the perfect pair of cutoff shorts. But, if you aren’t ready to cut a pair from your closet, just grab an inexpensive pair - this is the perfect opportunity to upcycle some vintage denim too.

Items needed:

  • Americana Stencils 10x10 - See America
  • DecoArt SoSoft Fabric Acrylics 2oz - Primary Blue
  • DecoArt SoSoft Fabric Acrylics 2oz - Bright Yellow
  • DecoArt SoSoft Fabric Acrylics 2oz - Avocado Green
  • DecoArt SoSoft Fabric Acrylics 2oz - Red Pepper
  • Paintbrush
  • Stencil dauber or art sponge
  • Palette or plastic plate
  • Piece of cardboard
  • Washi tape
  • Scissors
  • Pencil or fabric pen
  • Seam ripper
  • Denim jeans or shorts


If you are cutting off an old pair of denim jeans, make sure the item is clean and washed without fabric softener. You may want to grab a pair of shorts that already fit how you like to use as a template for cutting.

Instruction #1 - Roadtrip-denim-cutoffs-5
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My jeans were already distressed and frayed, but if you wish to create holes and patch them with the excess denim, do that before you start painting. You may also want to iron the pockets or other places you plan to paint. A smooth surface is much easier to work with.

Next, use washi tape to pull back any frayed string that might get in the way of painting.

Grab some inspiration. In addition to the stencil, I decided to use this front patch to recreate the colorful stripes on a vintage wool camping blanket. I penciled in my lines first.

Instruction #2 - Roadtrip-denim-cutoffs-1
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Next, I added some freehand images like this little dotted path with little Xs in a random pattern.

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I used the little camper from the See America stencil on both the front and back of my shorts. It’s the perfect size for this project and has an adhesive backing that makes a nice, clean image on fabric. Just make sure you use an up and down motion with your sponge.

Instruction #4 - Roadtrip-denim-cutoffs-10
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Once my painted images were dry, I created a little more fray on the hem that I cut with scissors. You can do this by using a seam ripper to pull out the horizontal strings in the denim fabric.

Instruction #5 - Roadtrip-denim-cutoffs-9
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As you can see, I carried the dash pattern around the pocket with the stenciled camper and added some freehand lettering on the other pocket. How fun are these?!

Instruction #6 - Roadtrip-denim-cutoffs-12
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Instruction #7 - Roadtrip-denim-cutoffs-3
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And finally, wear them proudly! Pair your new custom shorts with a swimsuit or a cute top and sun hat for a perfectly unique summer outfit.

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Instruction #10 - Roadtrip-denim-cutoffs-8
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Be sure to visit Robb Restyle  for more projects and to learn more about Kristy.


Cute idea. I’m really wanting to try the DecoArt Sosoft product but I haven’t found any local craft stores that stock it.


July 3, 2019

Hi Marlena - You can find DecoArt SoSoft fabric paint at Beverly's craft stores and in our online store at


July 5, 2019

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