DIY: Painted Jean Jacket

I’ve had this jean jacket for almost a year now. My mom got it for me for Christmas last year, but I’m way too attached to my leather jacket to ever think about donning any other outer wear, so this jacket has been sitting in a drawer gathering dust. And, if I’m being 100% honest, jean jackets generally don’t fit in with my aesthetic of “go away and stop trying to talk to me.”

A few months ago I was perusing some online clothing stores (knowing me, it was most likely ASOS) and I kept on seeing all of these beautiful painted jackets. I was instantly obsessed. If you can convince me that a piece of clothing is “one of a kind and hand painted” I’m most likely going to throw my wallet in your face, only for you to throw it back and tell me that the expired Starbucks giftcard a former employer gave me as a “holiday bonus” does not count as payment. So I needed to take another route.

Empowered by the two “get drunk and paint” classes I’ve taken, I decided I was totally qualified to deck out this jacket on my own. And, to my surprise, it actually turned out pretty well. Originally I was gonna make this a full Pisces themed look and put two fish where the cats are now, but upon further reflection I realized I’ve never actually drawn a fish that looked like a fish. But you know what I do know how to draw? Cats. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, my artistic capabilities don’t really venture outside of moons and cats.

After a good few hours of work, I absolutely love my jacket. I know it isn’t exactly the height of artistic talent, but it’s something that is uniquely mine. Now I get to be the person who’s like “oh wow, thanks for the compliment…I PAINTED IT MYSELF (worship me).”

Without further ado, here are the materials I used and the steps I took:

Needed Materials: 

Prep Step 1: Sketch your plan


I just used a normal pen to sketch it out. Seeing as it will all be painted over, it allows for some wiggle room for mistakes (case in point, the wonky eye on the cat found on the right side).

Prep Step 2: Kick out all furry friends who love floor clothes


He is cute, but likes to watch the world burn.

Prep Step 3: Place a book or piece of paper underneath the jacket to prevent the paint from bleeding through


For the moon section I also put some items around to help weigh down the denim and keep it taut. This way the denim stays unwrinkled and easier to paint on.

Prep step 4: Use washi tape to help keep the moon contained to the center portion


*Prep finished*

Painting the Moon


For closer shots of each step, see below.

Step 1: Outline the moon


Although you’ll also be using grey and black paint for your moon, I suggest using white to make the initial outline, as it will help add a “glowing” effect.

Step 2: Using a large and slightly damp paintbrush, fill in the moon with white


Don’t worry about the spaces where the paint is thinner, we’ll be filling in those spaces with darker shades.

Step 3: Fill in the spaces where the white is thinner with grey and black


Step 4: Using a slightly damp and clean large brush, blend using circular motions


Step 5: Using a sponge, dab white paint all over the surface of the moon to add texture and mute some of the darker colors


I cut off the corner of a kitchen sponge so it would be easier to hold/be more precise with.

Step 6: Using a large brush and white paint, redefine the outline of the moon


Step 7: Repeat steps 2-5 until you’re fully happy with your moon

You don’t need to repeat in that order, just do whatever whenever you see fit. Here are my progress photos from when I was repeating these steps. Whenever the darker bits seem to be getting too out of hand, go back to using your sponge to tone them down and blend them out.

The random blots you see around the moon are not paint, but attempts at stars I drew using a silver fabric marker. At first I thought I hated them, but I kinda like the kindergarten craftiness of it all.

In the end, my moon ended up looking like this:


Maybe I’m giving myself too much credit, but I’m pretty impressed with my moon. It was a lot easier than I thought it would be, because anytime I was unsure about it I could just slap more paint on it until I was satisfied.

Painting the Cat


Originally I was just going to have these cats be simple line drawings, but I quickly realized I should have filled in the entirety of the space with a solid base color If I wanted them to be immediately visible. But because I was afraid of free-handing them without the map of my initial sketch, I forgoed it. If you think a simpler line drawing is more your style, just make sure to give yourself a solid base first and ignore all of my steps involving coloring in.

Step 1: Using a pastel purple, outline your cat

Because my paints didn’t include a light purple, I just mixed in some white paint into a glob of purple.

I also didn’t bother protecting the outline of this jacket section with washi tape…mainly because I forgot. But it was totally OK, seeing as my cats (mostly) didn’t reach out to the edges of this section.

Step 2: Fill in your cat’s eyes with white and make a demon cat. Once filled in, take a small detail brush and outline the eyes (minus the lower inner corner) with black.


Step 3: Using a small detail brush, paint two black upside-down triangles to create the cat pupils


Step 4: Using a small detail brush, place two white dots in the upper left corner of the pupils so his eyes aren’t *too* blank 


I also slightly colored in the nose using the same light purple shade I had outlined with.

Step 5: Using a small-medium brush, add purple to the direct inside of your outline and to places where you think darker purple shading is appropriate


Step 6: Mix together a glob of blue and a glob of purple and use the new shade to fill in the top portion of the cat. For the bottom portion, paint a thick line directly next to/slightly on top of the purple shading.


The colors I mixed from the acrylic paint set I used are “Perm Blue Violet” and “Ultramarine”

Step 7: Fill in the remaining portion of the cat with purple


Step 8: Mix together a big glob of purple with a smaller glob of blue to create a periwinkle-esque shade.  Then use this shade to outline the outer portions of the cat and to add brightness to the face and ears. 


As you can see I originally thought of using the light purple shade but then immediately decided otherwise. I also put a random bit of it in the middle of the back…which I honestly have mixed feelings about. Mainly because I don’t know why I did it.

Step 8: Using the purple paint and a large brush, paint over the entirely of the light shading you’ve done as well as any areas that seem sparse with purple paint. 


I also did some detail work to the cat’s face. I used some black paint on top of the eyes to narrow them a bit more. I found it made the cat look less derpy and more smirky.

And that’s it! Just do the same steps to the mirror imaged cat, and you should end up with something along these lines:


I gotta admit…I’m disgustingly proud of myself. Turns out those drink and paint classes actually taught me something. Who knew?

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