A look from Balmain's spring 2011 collection. Photo: Chris Moore/Catwalking/Getty Images

If you loved the rock n' roll edge of the recent Balmain show in Paris, you can get this neo-punk look by embellishing garments pulled from your closet or bought on the cheap. But there's more to this couture DIY than meets the eye. Here's how:

  • Pin it: To get started with artful pinning, you'll need a good supply of safety pins; search online to see all the different shapes and sizes of pins available. Try layering up the pins, going from smaller to larger, adorning corset seamlines, or criss-crossing for a diamond effect. Start out with a T-shirt or cut-off pair of denim shorts, and experiment with folding and pinning the fabric to add gathers and pleats. While you may not have the nerve to outfit your favorite leather jacket with this heavy artillery, a pleather version will work just as well, with less stress.
  • Rip it: Ripping up a T-shirt or a pair of jeans may seem like a fairly simple procedure, but a few good hints can make tearing it up go easier. Try practicing first on an older shirt or pair of jeans to get comfortable. Then, lay out your garment and visualize where you want to have the rips, keeping in mind what will be revealed by the tear (and using safety pins to highlight it!) You can mark with tailor's chalk, which will rub away, or if you prefer, chalk up the garment on the inside to keep the outside clean. Use a pen knife or scissors to start the tear and work hole open with your fingers to complete it. For jeans, a steel-wool pad, sandpaper block or cheese grater, can add a more frayed and worn look.
  • Stud it: To achieve a true rock n' roll look, you'll need to studs. Mark up the areas that you want to highlight on your garment. Practice on sample cloth or denim, before turning to leather. For a treasure trove of studs and spikes, head to StudsandSpikes.com, which also provides hardcore how to instructions. Plus, find more embellishment tips in this recent DIY Design article.
  • Color it: Options for playing with color range vary from splatter painting or bleaching to tie-dying. For splatter painting, try fabric paints from a crafts store in combination with a drug-store syringe, a paintbrush or roller. With bleaching, practice (carefully) with test fabrics before working on your final garment. Pad jeans or a T-shirt with newspaper to prevent bleach from bleeding through. To tie-dye, be sure to pre-wash garments. Whether you use rubber bands or string to tie up the fabric, secure tightly so that the dye does not reach the fabric. With all of these embellishment techniques, the pleasure is in developing your own style, so experiment and get creative.
For more DIY Design columns, click here. Next week, creating sharp shoulders.

And check out this selection of leather and studded accessories for under $50.