Style / October 2018

DIY Accent-Pocket Jeans

jean with materials to DIY paint

This past May, we teamed up with Karla Welch, renowned stylist and founder of xkarla, to show us how she likes to customize her Levi’s®. In one of her videos, Karla showed us how to apply an applique pocket to our iconic 501® Originals. We were so inspired, we created our own DIY version using paint instead of fabric. Follow the simple steps below to create your own accent-pocket jeans.

materials for how to paint denim


Gather your materials and set up your station. You’ll need a pair of Levi’s® jeans, masking tape, fabric paint, a narrow paint roller and tray, measuring tape and seam ripper. We recommend a drop cloth to protect your floors.


Lay your pants down so that the backside is facing up. Using your seam ripper, carefully remove the left back pocket from your jeans. This will replace the original pocket with a darker-wash pocket shape.

outline the area in masking tape to paint denim DIY


Following the lines around the pocket shape, use masking tape to define your paint area. Be sure to really press the tape into the denim for minimal paint bleed.

paint within the tape to create hand-painted jeans


We used white fabric paint, but you can choose any color. Pour your paint into the paint tray and, using your roller, paint directly onto the denim inside the lines of the masking tape.

close-up of hand painted accent pocket DIY denim


Let the paint fully dry and remove the tape for your finished look.


Customization and DIY style have been a part of our DNA since the beginning. For more personalization inspiration, check out our #LiveInLevis Gallery.

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