Tuesday, August 20, 2013

DIY: Canadian Flag Shorts

Hi there! I'm so excited about doing this tutorial today for all of you because a few weeks ago, a lovely reader requested it. It was my very first request that wasn't from one of my friends, so it was just a really crazy and awesome feeling getting that comment. I took inspiration from this photo (here) and put a bit of a twist on it. Just so you guys know, if you have any requests, especially DIY requests, please feel free to leave it in a comment on any of my posts. I'll definitely read it and try it out for you.

Anyway, now let's get into the tutorial!


  • Pair of cuffed denim shorts
  • Red and white fabric paint - Mine are the Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Paints in the colours 32050 Habanero (red) and 32100 Wedding Cake (white). It's best if they're both in satin finishes, but my Michael's didn't have the white one in a satin finish, so I had to make due with the high gloss one.
  • Pyramid studs - Etsy is a great place to look for some cheap ones, even though it does take a while to ship.  You could check out your local Michael's to see if they have any and even H&M!
  • Sponge
  • Water
  • Paintbrush
  • Scissors 
  • Cardstock or thin cardboard.
  • Newspaper or garbage bag
  • Two pieces of cardboard

The first thing you're going to want to do is slip the pieces of cardboard in your shorts to stretch them out a bit and make it easier to paint on. It's also a good idea to either put newspaper or a garbage bag underneath your shorts to prevent a mess.

Next, print out a stencil of a maple leaf that looks like the one on the Canadian flag (I used this one). You could print it on regular ole paper, buy using cardstock will make the lines of the leaf a bit sharper. My printer wasn't working, so I just pulled it up on my computer screen and traced it.

Once you're done that, cut out the maple leaf!

If you want to do a solid colour leaf instead of just the outline, you'll have to create a stencil. To do so, you'll have to cut out the maple leaf, but try not to cut into the paper/your stencil more than once. All you have to do afterwards is tape it back together and you have your stencil!

Mix some red paint with a bit of water, about two portions of paint and one of water. Repeat this step with the white paint.

Sponge some white fabric paint on one side of the shorts and red fabric paint on the other. Try to make it uneven so it looks a bit more "DIY", edgy, and just better. If you want to add some colour on the belt loops, do so using a paintbrush! Be sure to let the colour dry for at least an hour so you don't ruin your shorts.

Now, place your leaf stencil where you'd like it on one side of the shorts. I wanted to stay true to the photo, so I put it on the front on the right side of the shorts

Take your sponge, dip it in the paint and water mixture, and sponge it on the edges of the maple leaf. Try not to concentrate the colour so much.  You can achieve an ombré effect by first sponging on a light layer. Afterwards, use your paintbrush to outline the "inner" part of the leaf, so where the paper/cardstock would've been in red to darken the colour and define the leaf.

If you want to have a solid-coloured leaf, take your stencil that you created earlier and sponge the colour into it!

You can add some studs if you'd like. I thought the shorts needed a little extra something something, so I added them along the pockets, but they're completely optional.

Will you be recreating these shorts? Where would you wear them? If you are the reader who requested this, please do let me know! Leave me a comment sharing your thoughts and some requests, DIY or whatnot.

Thanks for reading!
- J


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks Zoe! I'm glad SOMEONE likes them. :)

      - Juliana

  2. How do you wash shorts you have painted without having the color run off?? Going to try this for upcoming canada day !
    Thanks xoxo

    1. I made these shorts agesss ago and they've been stuck in the back of my closet since Canada Day a few years ago, but just wash them by hand in a sink. Some of the colour will come out, most of it should stay intact. Hope you have a fun and safe time celebrating Canada's 150th! xx