how to turn a denim jacket into a tribal denim vest…DIY

i don’t consider myself crafty but every once in a while i get on a kick and can’t be stopped.

right now its stamping.

i stamped tribal designs on dishclothes for my friends for christmas and had so much fun i started scouring the house for my next stamping victim.  and then i remembered cleaning out ruby’s closet and thought of the denim jacket she had that i never really loved. two thoughts collided and my new baby was born.

i have been wanting to get her a denim vest so this was the perfect solution.

i never loved it. the denim was neither dark and rich or light and worn enough for me so cutting it up did not inflict any pain.


denim jacket (washed)

fabric scissors

stamps (i got mine here and here)

paint colors

fabric medium

as many paint brushes as paint colors you have, i used two

a small paint brush for touch ups

Step 1: cut off the sleeves.

easy as that, cut close to the seam line and cut. if you want you can take a blade like a box cutter and rub on the freshly cut armhole to create a fray. i chose not to for this project. you will see a small amount of denim i did not cut off. i later decided to cut the whole thing off close to the armhole.

Step 2: mix your paint

i had these paints on hand. ruby had picked the pink and gold for another art project she did this holiday season.

mix 1 part fabric medium to 2 parts paint

Step 3: test your pattern

i then used my newly scrapped sleeves as a canvas for testing pressure, paint amount and pattern. i paint the stamp to get an even finish and use different colors in the same design.

i had several stamps i ordered from here for christmas and like i said, i am not crafty so i used those. however you could make your own stamps. the small triangles on the front turned out great during testing and then not great when i applied to the actual vest. make sure that you lie your stamping area completely flat without any seams or other fabric behind it to get the most consistent stamping.

Step 3: stamp it on the vest

after stamping i went back through with a chisel tip brush to touch up any bare spots.

Step 4: clean up and let dry for 24 hours

Step 5: heat set the paint

the next day heat set the paint with an iron set to a no steam setting. put a piece of fabric like a towel in between the iron and the stamped vest and press down. hold for about 20 seconds on each spot.

you are done.

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tomorrow tune in for a ruby tuesdays… how ruby is wearing her denim vest