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July 11, 2011

DIY: The Metallic Shorts

Last week, I found myself itching for a pair of gold shorts, not because of anything I saw on the runway, or at a boutique that I just couldn’t afford; I was just so fixated with the idea of wearing a pair of shorts in gleaming metal. I guess I was partly inspired by these gold swim shorts from American Apparel, but they were pocketless, sneer-inducingly short, and well, obviously swimwear. I thought a pair of gold shorts would be just luminous in a sea of jean cutoffs, so I decided to make myself a pair.
I took an old pair of overdyed black skinny jeans from Cheap Monday. The ill fit of this pair, which always seemed to run abnormally large, worked to take some of the Vegas out of the shorts, the idea of which was already quite risqué.
I laid it flat under a pair of cutoffs in a length I liked, and snipped away.
I cut open some plastic bags to protect my floors,
and proceeded to paint. For this project, I used Lumiere by Jacquard metallic fabric paint in Brass, which I found to be the easiest, most effective way to metallicize fabric. One stroke of the brush on black denim, and it was radiant gold. The paint dried up fairly quickly, and is holding up quite well.
There really wasn’t a science to the way I painted over the shorts. I tried to slather it on as evenly as possible, leaving some bald spots to evoke the look of distressed, oxidized metal.
the shorts halfway done
With the shorts fully painted (and still a little bit wet), I couldn’t help myself but try them on, and instinctively, I felt that the knee-length length was just too much gold. I decided to cuff them myself. Dear gentlemen who read this blog, who probably aren’t foolish enough to paint their shorts gold, take heed of this DIY within a DIY. I think DIY-cuffing your shorts is an easy and effective way of making a pair of cutoffs a little smarter and more polished.
I folded the hems twice, made sure they were of the same length, and perma-creased them with an iron.
I then made the simplest of stitches on the sides of each leg, right on the seams, to lock the cuffs in place. It was just a few stitches in and out of two points, locked at the end, much like sewing on a two-hole button.
the shorts, cuffed
To finish it off, I made a highlighting wash out of a few squirts of the fabric paint, water, and very fine glitter.
I brushed it over the seams and pockets to bring that subtle bit of extra glint to a pair of shorts that were already quite louche.
Here they are worn, on a day of surprise sunbathing in sweltering SoHo:
BDG wide-neck t-shirt, DIY metallic gold shorts, Dr. Martens oxfords
close-up of the texture and my wolf ring, crafted out of 925 silver by Navajo Indians in New Mexico
new ‘do, dubbed by Melanie as the “Nick Wooster swipe”
last three photographs by Mia and Tiffany


  • Andrew
    July 11th, 2011 at 11:13 am

    I love them!!! Another great DIY project dude.

    Might have to try this meself

  • Laura MW
    July 11th, 2011 at 5:49 pm

    As I was reading the post…going down stage by stage I was dubious about how these shorts would turn out. But wow! The cuffing definitely was needed to add the final polish to them and the worn-in look stops them from being too extravagant, along with the simple overall outfit. Gorgeous!

    Laura X

  • Noelle Chantal
    July 11th, 2011 at 11:23 pm

    Looooveee the metallic shorts!!! You are a genius, as always. :) And I like the cuffing and little glitters that you added. :)

  • Giancinephile
    July 13th, 2011 at 12:16 pm

    Go rock those gold shorts!!!!!! haha

  • TheBlueEyedBoy
    July 13th, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    I do want the same !

  • Joe
    July 18th, 2011 at 9:46 am

    so beautiful! If you left it half way it would have been quite interesting lol


  • Young, Gifted, and Black
    July 21st, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    Get. It. LOVE!!

  • Brandon
    July 23rd, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    Epic! have you seen my metal shorts from Maria Bonita Extra? not so shiny but now we can start a metal shorts club!

  • H.O.T. ROD
    July 24th, 2011 at 4:00 am

    great idea i love the look ur blog is really good!!!

    Rodney "HOT ROD" Bethea
    image Consultant,

  • Kiran
    September 22nd, 2011 at 5:41 am

    Those are awesome, dude. You did an amazing job–I mean they don't look the least bit tacky in a bad way! So amazing. I want to make a female version of those shorts now…

  • clars
    December 29th, 2011 at 3:20 am

    izzy! astig, nastumble-upon ko blog mo :p

  • Rachel
    July 5th, 2012 at 11:17 am

    OMG THANK YOU for this! I have been searching for the perfect pair of gold shorts and have considered buying sequin ones, but I wanted something super metallic and shimmery, not sequins. SO this I must try! I have an old pair of dark denim skinnies that would be perfect.

    Thank you thank you thank you for this DIY!

    Rachel’s Lookbook

  • Gracey at Fashion for Giants
    July 19th, 2012 at 4:19 pm

    This DIY is brilliant. Definitely Pinning this one!

  • Peyton
    August 19th, 2012 at 10:55 pm

    Ive been looking or a metallic jean tutorial or ages! I want to do this to skinnies for fall and I haven’t found one good one, except for yours! Thanks for havi such a fantastic blog!

  • holly
    September 15th, 2012 at 1:17 am

    Wondering if you tried washing them and what happened…

  • Izzy
    September 15th, 2012 at 2:40 am

    I only spot-clean them, but according to the paint instructions, it should be fine!

  • Roberta
    September 19th, 2012 at 2:43 pm

    How much paint did you use

  • Izzy
    September 19th, 2012 at 5:16 pm

    not much. a little less than two small jars!

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