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~
DIY Flag Shorts
- Acrylic Paint in white and red
- Sponge applicator
- Poster board
- Clear contact paper
- Spray glue
- 1 sheet of duck tape paper
- Foam board
- Straight pins
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
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!