DIY style: leopard print shorts

i posted before about the DIYable nature of leopard (or cheetah) print and now i've proven it by making my own pair of leopard print shorts!

i started with a pair of denim jean shorts - which i made from a pair of darker denim jeans using the steps from this tutorial. i then dyed them using a Rit Dye for cotton in Tan and hand painted leopard print using the guide that i created above. print a large version here!

watch the video above for the quick and easy tutorial including the dying process.

Prep It:

  • pair of denim shorts
  • fabric dye - optional
  • salt
  • plastic tub or bucket that you don't mind staining
  • fabric paint in tan and black
  • paint brush


  1. mix your dye in your plastic tub by using half a bottle of dye per every 3 gallons of warm/hot water.
  2. stir in a cup of salt to the dye mixture.
  3. wet your shorts in clean warm water and then submerge them in the dye mixture. you can leave them in for 10 to 30 minutes, depending on how deep you want the color. i left mine in for the full 30 minutes.
  4. remove and rinse your shorts well in clean water until the water runs clear. pop them in the dryer to set the color and dry your shorts!
  5. with your paintbrush, paint your spots using the tan color first to create the placement and base color of your leopard/cheetah print. try varying the size and spacing of the spots to get a very organic look. let dry.
  6. outline your tan spots using your black fabric paint and paintbrush. look at the guide to help you with the different styles of spots. some have 3 sides outlined with black, some have two and some have just one spot of black.
  7. let dry and raaaawr!
My Outfit (in the video)
  • shirt from no name store on Melrose Ave. in LA
  • DIY shorts
  • Shiekh shoes
  • Mr. Kate jewelry
  • my t-shirt in the photo that says "The Time Is Now" is from Zara

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