How to upcycle an old denim jacket

The fashion industry is quite possibly the worst polluter on the planet. It’s right up there with big oil.

Why? Because of fast fashion. Clothes are mass produced, cheaply, made from cheap materials that don’t last. We wear them a few times and get rid of them. Maybe we donate them to a charity. But most of the time, those clothes will end up in a warehouse, possibly overseas, where it will sit for years. Or maybe it will just get dumped in a landfill anyway because other countries cannot process our crap.

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And with all the denim jeans sitting around in thrift stores, waiting to be purchased and used, the U.S. saw a 5% increase in new denim sales last year. So instead of using the materials we have, we’re creating more garbage. Why?

As the weather gets cold, we might be tempted to get a new jacket or fall accessories. But if you have a workable, wearable jacket already, why not wear it? Because its out of season? Because it looks old?

If it’s a denim jacket, or any jacket really, there are so many ways you can use a little creativity and create a gorgeous jacket that will be just as excited to wear as something brand new.


Here are some awesome designs to get you inspired:



Using the same techniques for tie-dying, you can make something beautiful and original.


Photo by Alissa Adams


There are many techniques to creating an interesting pattern on your denim. You can also embellish them with costume jewelry and pins.


Photo by Alissa Adams


Personalize your jacket with a logo or symbol that means something to you:

photo by Lyn Lewis


Mix and match materials that accentuate your style.


Show off your artistic style and interests with bright colors and images


Photo by mokshamiska


Don’t forget the kids! Make it a family art project and create something beautiful she will be excited to show her friends.


Photo by Betsy Swanson Stookey


Use stencils to create gorgeous patterns and designs

74211382_10215891350538617_2983823074563981312_o.jpgPhoto by Betsy Swanson Stookey


Frances Taylor takes denim jackets to the next level with her amazing designs:

75603418_2461304547474175_1381647879126384640_o.jpgPhoto by Frances Taylor


78388125_2461301497474480_5446776653185286144_oPhoto by Frances Taylor


75450009_2461303374140959_2597648460308021248_o.jpgPhoto by Frances Taylor



Shirley Gillespie uses tshirts, doilies, and fabric scraps for her designs:

Photos by Shirley Gillespie


And Linda Zolten Wood shows off her incredible painting skills:


Photo by Linda Zolten Wood



Diane Platz used doilies and pearls to achieve this lovely classic style:

Photo by Diane Platz
There are so many options and they’re limited by the confines of your imagination! So rummage through your garage today and find that 80s denim jacket. Slap some doilies on there and boom, your like a denim Audrey Hepburn ready to kick ass and save the planet.
Happy crafting!
Featured image by Linda Zolten Wood

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