How To: DIY Distressed T-shirt

Hi loves,

Lately i’ve been loving distressed t-shirts. Distressed t-shirts are totally in right now. Most  stores carry some kind of distressed tee. However, they can be pretty pricey, especially when you’re on a budget. I recently started making my own distressed t-shirts.

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I bought my first vintage t-shirt from a local thrift store for $.99. It was a D.A.R.E t-shirt. I cut holes all over and I threw a bunch of bleach onto it. It’s a mess, but I love it. I only wear it in the house because, like I said, it’s a mess. It has way too much bleach and way too many holes in the wrong places. It’s all trial and error.



I’m not a thrifter, however my boyfriend is a reseller and he goes to thrift stores almost everyday. Whenever he finds a vintage t-shirt or any kind of t-shirt he thinks i’ll like, he will buy it for me so I can distress it. He’s never had to spend over $4.00 for a t-shirt. The best way we find t-shirts is by going through the t-shirt racks of the men section at thrift stores.

You don’t have to use a thrifted t-shirt, you can buy a t-shirt from anywhere, or use an old t-shirt you have lying around & create the same look.

So, today i’m here to teach you how I distress my t-shirts.

Supplies you’ll need –

DIY Distressed T-shirt Supplies

  1. Table
  2. T-shirt
  3. Sharp scissors / Fabric scissors
  4. Bleach
  5. Small spray bottle
  6. Trash bag or Newspaper

If you’d like a bleach shirt without holes, skip steps 3 & 4. 

Step 1. Pour bleach into a small spray bottle.

DIY Distressed T-shirt

I use my empty makeup setting spray bottle, I find that these work best because the bleach is dispensed misty compared to a regular spray bottle that squirts. It’s small and easy to hold, which gives me more control.

Step 2. Lay out your trash bag or newspaper to protect your table from the bleach, then lay your t-shirt on top.

Step 3. If the t-shirt is larger than you’d like, you can cut along the tread of each arm, once you do that tug the arms a bit to make the fabric curl up.

Repeat the same step as the arm sleeves to the bottom of the shirt if the shirt is too long, if not, leave as is, & add holes along the hem.

Step 4. Cut holes into the t-shirt.

Don’t worry about the holes looking perfect. It’s a distressed t-shirt, it’s meant to look distressed. When cutting each hole tug or stretch out the fabric of the hole a bit to make the hole imperfect. Cut as many holes as you’d like. I like to cut around the collar too, to add a worn out look to it, like its been thrown in the washing machine so much that it’s starting to create holes.

A quick way to create a bunch of imperfect holes is opening the scissors and tugging on the fabric as if the scissors were a knife. BE CAREFUL when doing this step. 


Step 5. Take your spray bottle and spray, theres no perfect pattern, hold the spray bottle farther away, the closer you are, the more concentrated the bleach will be in the spot you’re spraying and it may come out as a circle instead of misty look. Try a little at a time, if you feel there isn’t enough bleach, add more. You’ll see the bleach develop instantly.

Step 6. Remove cap and allow the bleach to drip off the stick, moving the stick around to add dress wherever, dip back into the bleach if less is dripping. Again, try a little at a time, then add more if you need to.

Step 7. Wait for the bleach to develop to the color of you’re liking, the longer you wait, the lighter it is. Once you reach the color you like, take the newly distressed t-shirt and place it into cold water to stop the bleach from developing.

Step 8. Hang dry or throw in the dryer.

Step 9. Rock your new distressed t-shirt!


If you would like to see a video on me doing this or you’d like to see a How to: DIY Chocker T-shirt, comment down below.


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