What I Wore: A Fashion and Personal Style Blog

DIY Flag Shorts, whatiwore.tumblr.com

What I Wore: Have an old pair of shorts laying around? Instead of throwing them out, you can show your patriotism by turning them into a wearable flag!  I collaborated on this project with my intern Val who is a fashion design student at Indiana University. It was super helpful to have two sets of hands, but you could definitely do this project solo. Full instructions after the jump!

Before we get started, remember that fabric paint is meant to be permanent so wear old clothing when doing this project.



  • Old Shorts
  • Red and Blue fabric paint (preferably a spray so it goes on light and won’t be too heavy/crispy on the shorts. We liked the brand Simply Spray)
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Star Stencil
  • Stiff Paintbrush
  • White Fabric Paint

We’ll start with the red stripes on the right side of the shorts. Begin by taping off all parts of the shorts that won’t be painted like the waistband, front pockets, belt loops, side seam and inseam. 

Next tape off the stripes. Make sure the tape is pressed down firmly; otherwise the paint will seep through. I used a scrap piece of tape to evenly space each stripe.

Make sure you have something in between the back and front of your shorts. We had a small issue with some red paint seeping through… Not good.

Begin spraying. The lighter and more even the coat, the better. If your shorts have creases in them be sure to spray all angles so they are completely covered. Also, the spray gathered in droplets on the tape and overflowed onto the shorts, so have some paper towel ready to blot between coats.

I can’t emphasize enough how awesome the Simply Spray paint went on. It dried quickly and is soft to the touch.


Now for the blue and stars side of the shorts. We had some issues at this step. The blue spray we bought was too bright, so we concocted our own using the matte blue fabric paint and a lot of water. We had a spare spray nozzle that we attached to the top of the bottle that seemed to work alright. (Always test on a scrap piece of fabric first!)

We affixed the stars (traced onto tape and cut out using the stencil) on the taped off shorts and began spraying, but the mixture was too watery. It soaked through underneath most of our star tape. Time for plan B!



We decided to use some spare white paint lying around the house and stencil the stars in by hand. Get a stiff brush and take a small amount of white paint, making sure to blot the excess, and begin pressing straight down onto the shorts. Again, the lighter the layer of paint, the better.

Now you just have to let it dry! Different parts will dry at different speeds given all the types of paint used.

A lot of the charm in these shorts are in the imperfections. I like the balance of crisp lines and little run over. However, if any paint went through the shorts or under the tape onto the back of the shorts, we recommend a small patch that adds to the “Old Glory” look.

7 Jun 2012

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