Here are my shorts in use during a themed event. (Not the clearest photo ever - but I'm in the middle)
They were so simple to make and took very little time. The only cost was the white, red, and blue fabric paint at Hobby Lobby. I have seen some versions where only the dark blue background and the red stripes were painted (without the white stars or stripes). I decided I wasn't a huge fan of the denim look, but this is obviously a personal choice.
Also, the red and blue paint I purchased have a gloss finish, simply because they did not have any matte at the time and I was in a rush to get these shorts completed. For a less shiny, painted look you can purchase matte (which is what the white paint is).
1. Wash your shorts to prepare them to be painted. Tape off any part that you do not want painted (or be extra careful while painting! I shoved pieces of paper grocery bags into the pockets to make sure I didn't get those.)
2. Paint the shorts white as a base and let dry
3. Find a star stencil (You can purchase these but I made my own.)
4. Lay out the star pattern (I taped down many stars I made, but you could do each one at a time) and paint the blue side.
5. For the stripes I simply taped them off and painted red in between.
And here is the finished project. I decided to make the belt loops pop and painted one red and one blue.
The shorts originally had no hem but were folded into a nice clean line. After painting I decided I wanted to fray them. So I cut them and started tearing away at the ends. Unfortunately the paint made it nearly impossible to fray the ends of the front and I gave up. I will have to work on them with a cheese grater or something.