Monday, April 16, 2012

I DIY FOR: Glow-In-The-Dark Aztec Cutoffs

A signature pair of cutoffs is pretty much a requirement this summer. From music fests to a casual beach day there is really nothing more simple and sweet that some super short distressed denim, but with boutique brands with price tags upwards of $100 it's time to raid your mom's closet (or the local thrift store) and make your own one-of-a-kind cutoffs. While the design possibilities are limitless a cool Aztec design in bright fabric paints is an affordable technique that is easy to complete. And to amp up these vintage cutoffs even more you can use glow-in-the-dark colors that will bring an unexpected twist to your festival style. With a bit of 90s rave and an on-trend Aztec print these easy to DIY cutoffs are the perfect way to spring into festival season.

*If you would rather buy than DIY these shorts are now available on Etsy and Copious. You can contact me @ for more information.*

My inspiration came from RunwayDreamz Aztec cutoff shorts and glowing black lit makeup.

What You Will Need:

1 - High Waisted Light Wash Denim Shorts ("Mom" Jean Style)
1 - Masking or Painter's Tape
1 - Ruler
1 - Scissors
1 - Grater
1 - Washing Machine and Dryer
1 - Aztec Design Printout for Stenciling 
1 - Pencil
1 - Glow-in-the-Dark Fabric Paints 
1 - Glow-in-the-Dark Paint (optional)
1 - Thin Paint Brush

1) Create your Cutoffs

~ First find a pair of "mom" style shorts - high, waisted with a long-inseam and light wash. 

~ To create the angled cut of brands like RunwayDreamz and One Teaspoon first put on the shorts and use Painter's Tape or masking tape to loosely wrap around each leg to create the shape and fit you desire.

~ Use a ruler to make sure the length of each side is identical (you don't want lopsided shorts).

~ Take your scissors and cut around each leg. Make sure you don't cut straight across the tape since the back will be slightly longer.

~ Slightly distress all edges with a grater.

~ Place shorts in a washing machine on a heavy regular cycle, cold. This will give you great frayed edges and a distressed vintage look.

~ Place in a dryer on delicate (so that you don't cause shrinkage).

~ Trim off excess frays at the bottom until you achieve your desired distressed look.

~ You now have the perfect cutoffs that can be worn as is, or embellished.

2) Stencil Your Pattern

~ Find an tribal/Aztec print you love (larger geometric designs work best) and print it out on heavy card-stock.

~ You'll want to work in layers so start by cutting out the pattern to it's largest pattern and place on your shorts to get an idea of spacing. You should start your pattern in the middle of the pocket edge, tracing with a pencil, and work your way in and out.

~ Continue the pattern by cutting off each layer one by one. A tip for keeping track of what color/print goes where is to draw a numbered copy of your cutoffs on a sheet of paper.

~ Keep up with these steps until you have traced the entire design on your shorts.

3) Paint your Pattern

 ~  Optional: Take your glow-in-the-dark fabric paints and add a dime-sized squirt of glow-in-the-dark paint for extra glow power.

~ Place a paper plate wrapped in plastic wrap under each leg to avoid paint seeping through.

~ Create a color pattern and paint accordingly.

~ Repeat this step three times for a brighter finish and a stronger glow.

4) Admire Your Work

~ Remember that to glow these shorts must be activated by light. Natural sunlight or a black-light will create the most vibrant glow, but as seen below you can still achieve a bright glow with exposure to florescent or incandescent bulbs.

~ Glow will last longer due to quality of paint used and length of time exposed to UV light. 

~ For the most style impact wear these shorts with a neon colorblocked bra/crop top to a day-night festival or event to take advantage of their glow-in-the-dark paint job.

xoxo ~ Lisa + 312style

images via 312style, and


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks! I can't wait to wear them this summer! :)

      xoxo ~ Lisa

  2. and the cultural appropriations run wild!