Decorating shorts is fun and it allows you to have shorts like no one else’s. There are so many ways to decorate shorts that you can buy a quantity of the same pair, decorate each differently, and have an entire shorts wardrobe.
Although stretch knit shorts and similar types aren’t the easiest to decorate you can still do a few things that make them look unique. Use fabric paints to put initials on one leg, or sew on an applique. Don’t have a machine? Use fabric glue instead. The great thing about fabric glue is that you can purchase either the type that is permanent or the type that washes out in the laundry. The latter makes it easy to re-decorate the shorts each time, if you’d like. Don’t use tiny things like sequin with the wash-out type of glue or you’ll have quite a mess.
Denim shorts are worn by just about everyone and there’s lots of ways to decorate them. You can use rubber stamps and ink to stamp designs directly onto the cloth, or use machine or glue to attach patches and appliques. Attach cording, gold chains, or pieces of leather. Bleaching is another great technique but it’s non-reversible so make sure the design is what you want.
Some designs done with bleach are very easy. Wear rubber gloves to protect your hands, dampen a washcloth, then put bleach on the cloth and rub it on the jeans. One design is to bleach them up and down the leg, on front and back. You can also spray them with bleach for a spattered look. Use plastic stencils to make designs from bleach. Make sure the cloth is not dripping and simply pat it into the stencil design. Allow bleach to sit on clothing about 10 minutes before washing. Don’t throw the new designs in with other jeans or you’ll have bleach marks on them as well.
Some denim shorts have fancy stitching here and there. One quick and easy way to decorate the shorts is to trace over the stitching with fabric paint. The paints come in a small squeezable bottle that allows you to dispense the paint directly onto the stitches with no spills. The paints come in types like metallic, glitter, pearl or matte.
Use permanent fabric glue to attach rhinestones or other faux jewels to the shorts. Or use the glue to attach cording to the pocket areas. If you have a machine use it to attach lace or ruffles around the leg openings. This is a great option particularly if the shorts are a little on the skimpy side.
Cotton shorts are the easiest ones to decorate. Although the bleaching technique isn’t ideal, the other decorating ideas work great for cotton shorts. And, the cotton shorts are usually thinner than denim and much easier to work with when you’re using a machine or hand-stitching.
Use a permanent marker to put stripes on the shorts, cut out a heart shape and sew lace behind the opening, or spray-on fabric dye to tie-dye them. Or sew narrow pieces of lace or ribbon along the pocket lines. Use two or more techniques on the same pair of shorts for an even different look. Combine the bleaching technique with leather patchwork, or use gold chains and fabric paints on another pair.
You’ll have fun decorating summer shorts and it’s almost guaranteed that people will ask you where you got them. They’ll be surprised when they find out you made the designs yourself.