Updated: Jun 16, 2020
Jean shorts are a thing of the past, present, and most definitely the future. If you get the right pair not only are they COMFY like PJ's, but they're durable, stretchable- to a certain extent, and slide right on with the occasional pull and tightening to fit them on just right! I LOVE denim- with a passion- I love the girth of the material, the color, the fray of the edges- I could go on and on, but Denim has not always been my cup of tea.
You know when your young- like 5th/ 6th grade, and you have this vision of yourself, like 'I want to wear athletic shorts and a t-shirt everyday because I play sports and I want to play soccer with the guys at recess.' That was me, all the way- I thought of denim only in the fashion of skinny jeans on models, girly girl shorts. I held a grudge with denim; Don't ask me why, or how I came to obsess over this grudge, it was just THERE staring me in the face daily. I was closed minded as a 5th grader, however the more that I've grown, the more I've found denim more intriguing. Denim, Chambray (kind of like fake denim but major in the leisure fashion world), work pants, or here in the south jeans are a guy's best friend for a little dressing up. This material is more than just a material, but a lifestyle altered and recreated into so many things- so many amazing and beautiful things.
It wasn't until the 7th grade- no more recess- that I became open to the idea of jeans. My best friend at the time had ALWAYS worn them, and they were ADORABLE. I tried to resist, I really did... I mean jeans?! But there they were blue and calling my name. I had to get myself a pair! SO casually, I decided I'd ask for a pair- maybe my style was changing- maybe it would just be a phase. You know when you have an epiphany in your mind and you realize it's what everybody has been saying all along and you kick yourself for not listening. Well that was me, because when I received my first pair of Old Navy jean shorts, I found a material I would sustain a love for even now, 5 years later. It wasn't until I moved away that I completely revamped my style. No longer did I wear my soccer uniform to school so I wouldn't have to change when I got home, no longer did I despise denim with everything I had, I moved and found a blank slate to be me.
It's scary- changing. My change was a simple style fix, but so many people find change excruciatingly more difficult. It's so important to remember that as human beings we are constantly changing and evolving- constantly pushing who we are into the world, and guys, we have only a SINGLE life to live, so LIVE IT LARGE! Be different, be a million things, change your style every month, week, even day (though that may get confusing ;), as you learn and grow, be open to who you are.
Now looking back, I've found that my grudge against jeans was extremely limiting and by releasing that frustration I've found something I've come to love- obsess over some days. A grudge with anything can hold you back- refrain your eyes from seeing the good thats right in front of you. Be mad for a bit, but trust me when I tell you -- let go and let God. I tell myself that on the daily because I believe God has a large plan for each of us and just because there's something bothering you at the moment- maybe that's the learning lesson that will open your eyes to something greater later on in life. I love God deeply, but I won't get all preachy. Just this paragraph ;-)
SO, DENIM... the project today is one of my favorites! I was actually inspired by a lady on instagram (@kesslerramirezart) who does this for a living! I mean painting shorts inspired by artist works-- now that sounds like a 'me kind of occupation!' This little painting tutorial will help you turn those comfy yet simple pair of jean shorts sitting in the corner into a one of a kind piece of YOU! So let's rock and roll!
Here are some designated materials for your shorts:
• SHORTS (If you don't have one, I bet your local Goodwill does, tbh I bought mine from a friend and no kidding they are the BEST shorts EVER (I think they're from Target)! (Also, don't scare your mama and use a brand new pair of shorts you got from the store unless they say it's okay first!)
• Fabric Medium (I used Golden's GAC 900 fabric Medium)
• Acrylic paint (White to create a layer of 'gesso', and any other colors you'd like!) Many people have fancy paints they use for different surfaces, and you are more than welcome to use those, but for the sake of the experiment, I'm sticking with acrylic! I'm using Basics, but Golden paint is very high quality and I've learned it works best with the Golden Fabric medium listed above!)
• Paint Brushes
• Iron/ Heat gun
-Blue Painters Tape
Step 1: TAPE/ GESSO
I started by taping off my short pockets so that the paint would cleanly be only on the pockets where I wanted them. Get right up to the edge of the pocket and tape around like so. This step is optional; if you are confident enough to not use tape or just don't have it, be my guest!
If you look back to my post about restyling old shoes, you'll see a tid-bit about gesso and creating that. Apply a coat of gesso over the pocket making sure you mix in some fabric medium to your white acrylic paint until cake batter texture! I started with one coat but ended up doing TWO COATS because that second just made it so much more refreshingly opaque!
Step 2: Background Baby!
Once your layers of Gesso have dried, paint your background color! Different jeans have different elasticities (stretchiness), so while you're painting, try to stretch your jeans in a few different ways- pulling them, shoving your hand in the pocket and really stretching it to make sure you apply paint to all of those fibers!
Step 3: Clear Coat optional experiment
I decided to paint a clear coat of fabric medium on top of my semi-dry pocket to see if it would help protect the cohesive color in the end.
Step 4: Design BIG
When all is dry, apply your pattern- dress it up with some icons that you LOVE, bring the acrylics bold and brilliantly (make sure to add that fabric medium with each color), and be creative! I decided to keep it simple, yet added the gold accents to add lots of poppy shine!
Step 5: Peel and Permanent
You've painted your pocket! YAY! Great job! Now you can either sport the one pocket or do the pocket on the other side of the shorts! You could honestly paint the whole pair of shorts with this method for all I know... That would be some experiment!! But now you need to apply heat. Whether that be iron or heat gun-- heads up with ironing, DON'T APPLY THE IRON DIRECTLY TO THE PAINT, PUT A TOWEL IN BETWEEN! This will more permanently cohere your art to the shorts and prevent lots of potential cracking. Remember, Acrylic is plastic, plastic will crack with the flexibility of the fabric, but because we used the fabric medium hopefully it won't crack as much!
Congrats folks! We've painted shoes, a hat, now some shorts, we're just a few articles away from the complete sha-bang! I hope you had fun and tried something new! Art is a place of experimentation, but it's also an expression of who you are! We are ALL artists! Big, small, short, tall, we all have the ability to create- so JUST DO IT! Explore who you are and don't be afraid to change anything- it's how we evolve in humanity, make humanity greater, gosh I love creative experiments!
Have a GREAT, SUNNY, HAPPY day!!
NOTE: HAND WASH ONLY!!! It'll mess up your washer, so keep it simple and HAND WASH!