How to Decorate a Denim Jacket

Sling your jacket over your shoulder? Not once it's been beautifully decorated.

Photo: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images

It's not that the denim jacket hanging in your closet isn't attractive or that it doesn't fit well -- it's just that it needs something extra to make it a drop-dead gorgeous garment that's party ready. Whether you whiz around a sewing machine seam like Danica Patrick at Indy or you've only got a passing acquaintance with a needle and thread, decorating magic starts with a great idea that meets your skill level so your embellished jacket moves from the back of your closet to the front.


Stitch strips of gold-tinted leather to your jacket. These easy-to-attach geometric strips can be of any size and length, but the objective is to add a touch of drama. Take it a step further by fastening small gold or brass grommets, studs or fabric nails along the stitch lines to add an edgy embellishment that's a little bit country and a whole lotta sassy. Check your jacket buttons once you're done. You may need replacements.


Pair fabric paint with stencils to decorate your denim jacket. Browse fabric paints at your favorite craft store and pick out two or three and a small stencil. Pin the stencil in place and employ a small stippling brush to add color. Repeat this step. Hand apply scroll work with a tiny brush to tie your stenciled images together. Keep your hair dryer handy. You'll speed paint drying time if you direct heat at each painted detail you apply.


Turn your denim jacket from ho-hum to hip-hop by giving it the Ed Hardy treatment. Graffiti-emblazoned art is trendy but not as easy as it looks. Unlike the template used to trim the jacket described in Step 2, this is a free-hand job, so dig up reference material (photos of graffiti will do the trick), brushes, acrylic water-based paint and paintball pens to do the job. Take a tip from the pros and keep a can of hairspray handy to fix layers of colors as you apply them.


Bring the bling. A denim jacket can sparkle -- especially when worn atop a strapless, little black mini-dress. Design a simple pattern (a series of circles, stars, hearts or whatever). Use a piece of chalk to transfer the shapes to your denim jacket. Buy an inexpensive set of tools designed to attach fastenings and begin inserting prongs into the chalk lines. Insert the faux diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds into the couplings and bend the prongs over.


Keep it simple. Yards of lace or ribbon make great denim jacket decorations and you don't need a degree in sewing to pull this off. Follow stitch lines running across your jacket and pin yards of frilly lace along the seams or pair the lace with ribbon. Use a simple tacking stitch if you don't own a sewing machine, but be cautious about leaving thread tracks behind. Tiny stitches minimize them, so take it easy. Don't forget to check those buttons when you're done. You may have to switch out military or suit buttons for pearls to keep the girlie thing going.

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