DIY: Polka Dot Jeans…

I have been seeing a lot of polka dot jeans in stores, on blogs, and also on Pinterest, and today I am sharing a tutorial on making your own polka dot jeans.  It’s fun!  It’s easy!  And with thrifted jeans; it’s doesn’t cost a lot of money.
Okay, let’s get started.
DIY, Tutorial, Polka Dot Jeans
1.  Supplies needed for this project are a pair of jeans, mine are a thrifted bargain at $4.00.  You also need some white paint…I am using my acrylic white gesso, but you can use your preferred paint be it fabric paint or regular acrylic paint. {Whichever type of paint you decide on, I suggest doing a sample on a scrap of fabric before working with your jeans. I had a scrap of denim from a pair of jeans I had hemmed.  I daubed the fabric, let it dry, and laundered it before giving my white gesso the go-ahead.}  You will also require a dauber.  I bought a set of Martha Stewart daubers at Michael’s with my 50% off coupon, and I used the 3/8″ size for my project.  You can also make a dauber using the eraser end of a pencil.  I thought the Martha Stewart dauber was really easy to use, and it consistently picked up the right amount of paint.  Finally, I used some masking tape, a white pencil crayon and a ruler to mark out my pattern of dots.  You also need a piece of cardboard to place inside your jeans.  {Paintbrush in photograph was not required.}
2. The first step is to put your jeans on, stand in front of a mirror and put a piece of masking tape across the top of your thighs, keeping it as straight as possible.  Break the tape in the middle, so that each leg has a guide to get you started. My tape looks crooked in the photo, but it was the angle of the camera.  I was going to omit this step, but it is crucial to establish a starting point for applying your dots.  Credit for this step goes to Mary Lindsey at Style That Moves
3. Using a white pencil crayon, I made a little dot where I wanted each polka dot.   I marked my polka dots approximately 3″ apart.  The first horizontal row I made was just below the masking tape.  I didn’t measure exactly, so things moved along fairly quickly.
4.  When you have marked your dots out, it’s time to paint.  I put a small amount of white paint on my palette, {you can use a paper plate, or yogourt lid}, and I daubed my dauber in the paint, and daubed it a few times on the palette to evenly distribute the paint.  I then daubed the jeans.  Keep your dauber perpendicular to the surface of the jeans to get an even circle.  Remember to have your cardboard underneath the area you are working on.  Again, I didn’t worry about my polka dots being exactly perfect.  I went over each dot about two times.  As you can see in the close-up, some edges have more paint on them, some less.  But, that is the effect that I was going for.
DIY, Tutorial, Polka Dot Jeans
Above, you can see a close-up of how my polka dots look.  I did the fronts of the jeans first, then, after making sure they were dry enough, flipped them over and did the backs.  After they were completely dry, I tried them on and determined that I needed just a few more dots in a couple of places.  I let them dry for 48 hours, then turned them inside out, and washed them on a cold water cycle and hung them to dry.  That’s my usual way of caring for my jeans.
DIY, Tutorial, Polka Dot Jeans
DIY, Tutorial, Polka Dot Jeans
There you have it!  Polka dot jeans your way.  You can dot a lot, or a little.  You can pick the size of your polka dots, and you can choose the colour.  I did light dots on dark wash jeans, but I am on the lookout for a light wash jean that I can apply a very, very light blue polka dot on, almost tone on tone.  I also have some white jeans ready to roll…of course they will be adorned with colourful spots.  The only challenge I can foresee is knowing when to stop.  You know how I love me some polka dots!
Linking up with:
Lakota of Faith Hope and Charity Shopping for Ta Dah! Tuesday
Clairejustineoxox for Creative Mondays
Sarah at A Cat-Like Curiosity for Super Handmade Sunday
Jann of Have A Daily Cup of Mrs. Olson for Share Your Cup Thursday


  • Reply Val Sparkle March 7, 2013 at 7:17 am

    What a great idea, Sue! I've been looking at the idea of doing some fabric painting (and shoe painting). It's always good to see how someone else did it and find out if it really works. The jeans look great!

  • Reply sabine March 7, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Hello Sue,
    It's so a cute idea! I love polka dots and I love your jeans. Thank you for sharing and tutoring. I think I will try it with a thrifted blouse as well.

  • Reply Salmagundi March 7, 2013 at 10:08 am

    You photos are wonderful, and I love your style. I've enjoyed perusing your blog. Sally

  • Reply Shirl March 7, 2013 at 10:46 am

    They look spectacular and very professional. Good on you!


  • Reply Kendra Pahukoa March 7, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    those are fab! it's amazing what we can do ourselves ya know without going out and spending big money.
    would love for you to come link up with me and the aloha Friday blog hop- people will love these!

  • Reply amy mayen March 7, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    These are fab! & already all over Pinterest- go Sue!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas March 7, 2013 at 5:23 pm

    Oh, you'll come up with some fun looks. Can't wait to see your creativity Val. I've tried shoes once…disastrous, but I think it was because I did not properly prepare the leather shoes. And, I secretly didn't love them enough anyways. I am going to try canvas tennies.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas March 7, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    Oh, fun idea Sabine! My only suggestion would be the lighter the fabric, the lighter the touch with the paint. Email me if you have any questions.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas March 7, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Thanks so much for taking the time to visit and comment Sally.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas March 7, 2013 at 5:25 pm

    Thanks Shirl. The dauber worked really well!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas March 7, 2013 at 5:27 pm

    Oh, thank you Kendra. I really appreciate your comment. I didn't realize that you have a blog hop. I will certainly have to come over and check it out. Aloha!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas March 7, 2013 at 5:28 pm

    Thanks Amy. Perhaps you'll be printing your own fabric for your children's wear? 🙂

  • Reply Trinagrandinetti March 7, 2013 at 8:58 pm

    I'm seriously heading to my closet to see which pair of jeans ge the privilege of becoming polka dotted. Those are awesome, you did such a great job. Thanks for sharing this with us, (now I just hope mine turn out as well as yours).

  • Reply grunge-queen March 8, 2013 at 12:31 am

    Well, I'm def in awe, Sue, of your patience, your crafty talent, your ability not to muck up the jeans as I would have and end up a snivelling mess in the corner! Excuse the drama – me, no crafty. But I adore what you've done. The jeans are just super cute and sassy with the polka dots! Xoxo

  • Reply Ann Wood March 8, 2013 at 4:54 am

    Fun idea, I what to try this. Beautifully described!

  • Reply Carelia Moran March 8, 2013 at 2:18 pm

    What a great idea Sue!!! And your tutorial is clear enough. Thanks for visiting my blog and I really will look for reading your future posts. Thanks so much for sharing this adorable idea with us.

  • Reply Emalina March 9, 2013 at 6:23 am

    That's such a clever idea Sue, and the finished polka dot jeans look so cute! Well done you!

  • Reply Claire Justine March 9, 2013 at 8:16 am

    I love polka dots, this is a fab idea 🙂 you did a great job here….

  • Reply Claire Justine March 9, 2013 at 8:16 am

    I love polka dots, this is a fab idea 🙂 you did a great job here….

  • Reply Natalie G March 9, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Very creative and cute!

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas March 9, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Trina, Feel free to pop me an email if you have any questions.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas March 9, 2013 at 10:16 pm

    Kelly, You are too funny. xo

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas March 9, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Ann, I can imagine you would make a very chic pair of polka dot trousers.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas March 9, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Hey Carelia, Thanks for commenting. I too look forward to reading your future posts.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas March 9, 2013 at 10:17 pm

    Thanks lovely Emalina.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas March 9, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Thank you so much Claire Justine.

  • Reply Sue @ A Colourful Canvas March 9, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    Awh, thanks Natalie!

  • Reply Sarah Evans March 10, 2013 at 9:49 am

    Really lovely – would look cute on kids jeans too 🙂

    Thanks for linking up!

    Sarah @ A Cat-Like Curiosity

  • Reply Chandra March 10, 2013 at 10:27 am

    I can't wait to do this with one of my skirts! Thanks for sharing!

    Chandra More Modern Modesty

  • Reply Jann Olson March 11, 2013 at 2:48 pm

    How clever are you? Love them, and girl you are stylin them fabulously! Thanks for sharing with Share Your Cup.

  • Reply Wendy March 11, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    Awesome job!!! These look totally store bought! I love them! 🙂

  • Reply TRENDSURVIVOR March 12, 2013 at 2:04 am

    Thank you for stopping by and for your lovely comment. I love this DIY I could try it on a mini skirt.


  • Reply Debbie Baker Burns March 12, 2013 at 6:32 am

    Nice! I am pinning this for later. Debbie @

  • Reply Mary Lindsey March 12, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  • Reply Mary Lindsey March 12, 2013 at 2:28 pm

    Your jeans look so great! Thanks for giving me credit on your step 2. 🙂

    -Mary @ Style That Moves

  • Reply Lakota [Faith Hope and Charity Shopping] March 13, 2013 at 1:24 pm

    They're so neat and regular! I always get carried away and omit the kind of steps that give a good finish, these really look like they were designed that way.

  • Reply Theodor March 16, 2013 at 3:14 am

    it's really a fun project, you have done good job, this pattern is looking very nice, thanks for sharing nice idea.

  • Reply Melanie March 17, 2013 at 12:29 am

    Excellent idea. I love these polka-dotted jeans. So much better than plain.

  • Reply Claire Justine March 17, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Featuring your beautiful polka dots today on Creative Mondays 🙂 Thanks for linking up with us last week …

  • Reply Amelia Madelaine | Bit Square March 31, 2013 at 4:37 pm

    Oh my goodness what I fun idea!! I'm so trying this! I just discovered your blog through the Dressing Your Truth forum. This looks like such a great blog! I'm from Australia and a type 4. I'm just starting a blog too – hoping to share outfit ideas and lots of DIY/refashioning tips too!

  • Reply Jblo August 6, 2013 at 7:43 pm

    Nice .. and good idea. You polka jeans looks fabulous. Nobody can say it is handmade… Good job..

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