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Friday, July 20, 2012

DIY American Flag Shorts

You know those amazing little American Flag shorts that have been popping up at various stores? Well, I'm going to teach you how to make them for under $5. I've wanted to make these for a while and am so excited that I have finally made them. 

You'll need:
acrylic paint
thrifted jeans or shorts
paper or a star stencil
string (optional)
tape (optional)

I used a pair of thrifted jeans which I made into shorts. The jeans cost me $5 so, if you are looking to save money this is the way to go. Measure with a fabric measuring tape exactly how long you want them. Look at your other pairs of shorts and decide based on how long you like your other shorts to be. Take into consideration whether or not you want the bottoms of your shorts folded up at the bottom. Then, put a mark on each leg the same length down. I usually measure from the inner seam down and from a mark on the pocket down. This way you have a measurement on the inside and outside of the leg. Remember, measure twice, cut once. This ensures you don't cut them crooked! 
Finally, use a ruler and cut from your outer mark to your inner mark on each leg. The back of the leg will end up a little longer than the front. This is normal.
Last but not least, fold your hem under and stitch it with a sewing machine or by hand.
If you would rather, just use a pair or shorts that you already have.

Paint the front left pocket with a few coats of white paint. Since we are painting on denim, make sure you really work the paint into the fabric so it stays on well. Since it is fabric and not a canvas, you will need to use more paint than usual because the denim will absorb some of the paint. 

While the white side is drying, paint the right side blue.

In order to make sure each stripe is the same width, I drew a dot on a piece of paper and used the width between the edge of the paper and the dot as a measuring device. This is what worked for me. So, I drew dots across the left side and drew straight lines on with a pen.

Next, I taped the red stripes off with duct tape because it was the only type of tape I had. I found that painting the edges by hand actually made for a crisper edge than using the tape did. The paint bled a little under the tape, but you can go ahead and  use whatever method works for you.

Paint the red stripes. See where it bled a little? I used a piece of paper in the pocket and some newspaper in the leg to keep the paint from spreading to other parts of the shorts.

Now that the blue side should be dry, I cut a star shape out of a piece of paper to use as a stencil. I cut a string at a random length and used it to space the stars out. I held one end of the string at the first star I stenciled and drew a dot at the other end of the string to indicate where to draw my next star. I found permanent marker worked better on the blue paint. I also put a little bit of tape on the back of the star to hold it in place while I traced.

Paint the stars white and paint another coat of white over the stripes.

Walaa! You have your own pair of patriotic shorts!

And if you are feeling really artsy, do the back pockets, too. I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and try making your own pair!


  1. wow this shorts are soooo cute! I loved how you added the flag on the. Cute idea :)

    1. Thank you so much. It is so simple to do, too.

  2. I really like how you did the back pockets too. Cute!

    1. Thank You! Those are my favorite part I think.

  3. Wow those are really cute! Great job.
    Marcie @ www.IGottaTryThat.com

  4. This is such a cute idea and such a great diy. The shorts look amazing. If I was American... I would simply have to make these and I don't even wear shorts!

  5. Oh my goodness, I never thanked you for the blog award! Thank-you. It's been such a hectic week! I appreciate it so much!

  6. Oh wow these are absolutely fantastic! It kind of reminds me what I used to wear on the fourth when I was little.

    1. Thank you. Yeah, my Grandma wants a pair. How funny is that?

  7. I'm sure we can use these ideas to make them with a Canadian Flag : )

    Dropping by from SITS. Love the creativity of your site.

    1. Thank You, You can absolutely paint anything you want on them!

  8. These are completely adorable! You're such a creative person, Amanda. I admire that. Thanks for sharing your tutorial.

    Happy SITS Day!

  9. Wait, I'm so happy I'm stalking your blog! I'm book marking this NOW! I want to make it omg


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