How to Distress a Shirt? DIY Distressed Shirt (2021)

How to Distress a Shirt? Being the budding fashionista you are, you want to be able to look your best at all times. An easy way to make you look put together is by adding a distressed shirt. It's a great way to add a little bit of edge to your look while still looking stylish.

The distressed shirt gives you a sense of nonchalance, which is exactly what you're going for when you want to get ready in a rush. Make sure that you don't wear more than one of the previously mentioned items at the same time. It's important that you mix and match these pieces to create a unique outfit that's all your own. In this article, we'll show you a few different ways to distress a shirt. Let's get started!

What is a Distressed T-Shirt?

Distressed t-shirts are t-shirts that have been damaged intentionally by ripping, tearing, and slitting fabric to create the desired tattered appearance. Distressed t-shirts were once regarded as an aesthetic fashion trend, but with time they have become a somewhat mainstream trend as well. Distressed t-shirts can be found in both men's and women's clothing stores. The most common types of distressed shirts are holes in the sleeves, torn sleeves, shredded hems, broken zippers, patchy frayed material, dirt marks, knife cuts, dust particles, and band-aid-like spots. These types of shirts aren't new; they have been around for quite some time. Instead, their popularity has increased due to several popular fashion shows featuring unique styles of these ripped shirts.

Different Methods to Distress a Shirt - DIY Distressed Shirt

How to distress a T-shirt Neckline?

How to distress a T-shirt Neckline Tools and materials
  • T-shirt
  • Pen
  • Scissors
  • Sandpaper P80
  • Fray check
First, let's make a lovely V-shaped neckline. This will show some cleavage. This is done by marking the collar bone on your t-shirt; this is where the V will begin. Follow the lines and mark the point where the V should stop. For me, it is just above my bra. T-shirts can be dismantled Next, you will distress the shirt with P80 sandpaper. To create distressed marks, place one hand inside the shirt and rub the other with the sandpaper. You can either make the holes larger or smaller by pulling on them. You can make small holes by placing a few fingers under the hole and then rubbing the sandpaper over your fingers. Keep doing this until you have the desired number of holes. If your top has words and you want holes, first pinch the area where the word should be. Then, use a pair of scissors to cut a slit. After you have cut the slit, place your fingers underneath to continue cutting a circular shape. Make a V-shaped cut Next, fold your shirt in half. Then, locate the mark you made for the end V. Pinch it. Finally, pull the back of your shirt away, so you are only dealing with the top layer. You don't want the V to be missed, so make sure you also cut the V on the back. Next, you will cut a slit in your shirt. You can then start cutting with the top folded in half. Or you can open up the shirt if that is easier. Cut the shirt at the points you made at the top, and then create the V-shape. After completing that, you can do any necessary touch-ups to ensure that your lines are straight. You don't want a crooked V. Apply Fray Check You now have a nice, open neckline. Now you will need to apply Fray Check along the edges to ensure it doesn't unravel when washed. Before you put it on the top, you need to let it dry. You should lastly check that your shirt is looking the way you want.

How to Distress a Shirt With Scissors?

How to Distress a Shirt With Scissors Do you want to make big cuts or holes in your DIY ripped shirt? You can use scissors to make big holes or slices in your DIY ripped shirt. You can cut lines of different lengths, but be careful not to hurt yourself. You can make less severe cuts by opening the scissors. Use one blade to gently swipe the fabric backward and forwards with the one blade. Top tip: Rub a pumice stone along the edges of your cut material before you use the scissors to achieve a worn natural appearance.

How to Distress a shirt with sandpaper?

Sandpaper is the perfect tool to give your shirt a worn look. Use coarse grit paper to rub around any areas that are naturally more worn than others. You can now move on to the main body. Top tip: Create clusters of worm spots and scratches. You would expect to find other holes and scrapes if your shirt were naturally ripped in an area.

How to Distress a Shirt With a Razor?

Razors can be used to make scratches and wear patches. You should make sure that you have a sharp razor and then experiment. To create long slices, drag the blade horizontally. To make small holes, keep the fabric taut and pull the razor straight down. To create straight holes, use a solid edge such as the corner of a book or bench. Top tip: Use a thin cardboard piece on the inside of your shirt to prevent accidental cuts or damage to the surface beneath.

How to distress a shirt with bleach?

How to distress a shirt with bleach The bleach will typically take away the color and give it a vintage feel to the shirt. This method is better than the other methods for natural fabrics because it does not require any harsh chemicals. Simply soak the shirt in a solution of water and hydrogen peroxide and add some lemon juice for extra brightness. The longer you let the shirt soak, the more color it will lose and the more distressed it will become.

Top tip: Always choose quality materials when making a shirt. If the shirt is still new, soak it in a mixture of peroxide and bleach for several hours to get the best results.

Try experimenting with other different fabrics if you’re still having trouble getting your desired effect, such as silk or linen, but always opt for something high-quality that can take plenty of stains. Check our guide for Bleaching a Black Shirt:

How to make a shirt look vintage?

It can take a lot of time and work to create a vintage look, but if you're willing to put in the work then it's not impossible. You'll need a few basic supplies: a pair of scissors, some fabric paint, an old shirt, and an old towel. Start by cutting off the top collar of the shirt. Next, using the fabric paint, paint over the whole shirt. Allow the paint to dry. When the paint is dry, take a look at your results. If you don't like it, simply paint over the area again with the same color. It's that simple. By the way, I hope this post helps you in making it possible to look like a true vintage guy. Top tip: The bigger the size of the shirt, the bigger your work will be. A good example would be that if you're planning to put a picture of Prince on the shirt, then I suggest you get a bigger one rather than a small one.


Now you can choose one of your favorite methods and distress your own shirt. By doing this you will improve your DIY skills and learn to make your own unique pieces of clothing. You can also experiment and come up with your own ideas and methods to distress different materials and it can even become a hobby! The secret to distress a shirt lies in the design of the fabric. In order to successfully distress a shirt, you have to look for areas that have strong stitching or textile detail. These areas are most likely to produce a natural-looking distressed pattern. Simply rub your hand across the area in a repetitive motion and watch the magic happen. It's a skill anyone can master with a little time and patience. Thanks for reading our tutorial on how to distress a shirt! We hope this has been helpful for you. If you want to see more please visit our website, where we keep all our inspiration! Video: DIY Distressed Tee l Morgan Thomas