Patriotic DIY American Flag Shorts

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Make your own DIY American Flag Shorts for patriotic holidays! Use fabric paint in the DIY to make these fun shorts to wear to parties, celebrations, and more! See my Patriotic page for more fun DIY’s.

It’s almost the fourth of July! Time to get the red, white, and blue out! My daughter loves to dress up for the neighborhood celebration. She found these cute flag shorts in her Justice catalog and asked me if I could make them. I am always up for the challenge so I grabbed my craft supplies and got to work.

Making these shorts was no easy task. When I saw them I was thinking I could whip these up really quick and be done! But nooo…. they were just one of those crafts that take a little trial & error to get right. So here’s the short version of  how I did it~

Justice Vesion
Justice Version

DIY Flag Shorts


Please read the entire post before trying this project. It is an older post that can easily now be done with washi tape or painters tape instead of using spray glue and contact paper.

Click, download & then print the Star Guide PDF

Free Printable Star Guides


Pin your shorts flat to the foam board to keep it stable while working on them.

Cut two strips of poster board to fit inside each leg of shorts, so the paint will not bleed through to the other side of the shorts.

Take another strip of poster board (seen in yellow), spray with spray glue, and press diagonally onto one leg of the shorts. Make sure they are snug to the fabric.

Now, let’s discuss what paint to use. I first thought I would use spray paint to get the airbrushed look that the Justice version has. That went on too tacky and very light in color.

Next, I bought some spray can-type fabric paints. Did not love it. If you read the package it does not spray in a fine mist but sputters out and makes a mess. Not sure why it is even advertised as a spray. You would be better off getting the tube fabric paint instead.

I did not have any fabric paint on hand so~ I used plain old acrylic paint and it worked out great! Better than great actually!

Now back to the tutorial. After trying a few methods of paint, I used white acrylic paint with a sponge applicator and dabbed it on to make the white crisp. Let it dry for 15 minutes.

For the stripes, take a strip of contact paper, (I left the backing on for strength). Spray glue the contact paper strips to one side of the shorts. (I used contact paper because the poster board gets mushy and sticks to the fabric if you apply it over damp paint). I told you this wasn’t easy.

I realize after doing all of this I could have just used strips of duck tape to make the stripes instead of the spray glue and paper.

Make sure the contact paper is snug to the fabric. Paint the red paint on the denim with a sponge. Remove the contact paper and touch up the stripes. Let the paint dry for 15-20 min. Use white paint on a damp kitchen sponge and rub the red & white stripes to blur them.

Print out a star from the PDF in the supply list to use as a guide. Cut the star out on duct tape sticky paper with an X-Atco knife (I made 3 and reused them). Stick the duct tape stencil on the shorts, dab with sponge applicator using white paint.

I also put two stars on the back pockets. When done painting let dry for one day. Since I used acrylic paint it will dry a little stiff.

Guess what? I washed them and the paint stayed on. They are still somewhat stiff after washing. But my daughter doesn’t mind, and that’s it! What a fun project and they are too cute for the 4th of July!

Love it? Pin it!



  1. These turned out great! I love how neat they look! Well done!

  2. So cute… our little girls will love these!!! Thanks for linking up to “Strut Your Stuff Saturday!” Hopefully we’ll see you tomorrow at 8pm MDT for this week’s party! :) -The Sisters

  3. Great idea! I also like the chalk board frame used to display it!!

  4. New follower! These turned out so great! At first I thought these were white shorts and I was shocked that they were still blue jeans and turned out this great. I’m a new follower and would love if you followed back at

  5. Natasha In Oz says:

    You are so clever! That is a great project and the end result is fabulous. Thanks so much for sharing this post at my Say G’day linky party! I’ve just given this post a +1 on Google+.

    This week’s linky is now live and I am very excited to invite you to a Social media linky party that I will be hosting on July 14. The details are all at the blog if you would like to join in.

    Best wishes for a wonderful weekend,
    Natasha in Oz

  6. Woot Woot, I am dedicating tomorrows Thursday feature post to all things Americana, and well do I even have to say it, you are a big fat star with a triple feature at Bacon Time.

  7. SOOOOO COOL!!!!!

    Thanks so much for sharing this at The DIY Dreamer.. From Dream To Reality! I’m looking forward to seeing you at the party this evening!

  8. I saw these featured on DIY Mom and LOVE them! I had to see how you did it. A-DOR-A-BLE!!! Seriousy :) Probably going to have to bust a pair out this week.

  9. Hi! I wanted to let you know that you were featured on my Best 4th of July ideas post
    If you would like a featured button

  10. PS- Im featuring you on my FB page tomorrow :)

  11. These are soooooo fun!!!! Great job! Thanks so much for linking up this week to DIY Diva Thursdays!

  12. How fun! and so patriotic! Thanks so much for sharing at Terrific Tuesdays.

  13. Carrie@My Favorite Finds says:

    Those turned out great! I am so proud of your daughter for asking you to make them. I’m actually pretty impressed she didn’t’ want you to buy them :). Thanks for sharing at our Handmade Tuesdays party

  14. Oh my word those are so awesome!!!!! I wanna make these for myself!!!!!! Okay, gotta pin them. I’m a little nervous though…. looks a little advanced for me! :) Can I just send you my shorts and you can do them for me? haha

  15. Wow, yours are so much cuter! My daughter is 19 and she would love these~ I’ll have to show her. Thanks for showing us “how to”. I love it!

  16. wow!! they look great! my teenager would wear them…that says a lot!

  17. That was a great way to use the denim jeans, too! I think I will try it on some old jeans.

  18. So cute! Never thought to paint on clothes. It turned out fabulously! I wonder if I’m too old to wear shorts like that :)
    Great idea! Thanks!

    1. Ha I was at the mall today and saw a pair for teens at Pacsun for $40! So I am sure you can make your own! Thanks for stoppin by!

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