Tuesday 26 March 2013

Repairing a painted canvas (acrylic)

Oh, darn. 

No Parking featured on the front
of  the Bromley Book.

I put a screwdriver through a Very Important Painting, two days before the exhibition. The Very Important Painting is No Parking. The exhibition was the Bromley Arts Festival. No Parking is a key piece in the Bromley Project. (I was using the screwdriver to attach some hanging hardware. There was a knot - a stealth knot; it was not the most obvious of knots - in the wood, and my screwdriver slipped.)

But darning it wouldn't quite work.

I did a bit of research. I asked for advice in an online forum.
And this is what I did to fix the painting...

First, I teased the edges of the hole together.
Then I remembered to take a photograph. 
After considering the available options, I stuck a rectangle cut out of a cotton carrier bag over the hole, on the back of the canvas, using acrylic glaze medium (matt) as glue.

After allowing a few hours for the medium to dry, I painted over the damaged area using the same paint as the original work.

Acrylic paint tends to "shrink" as it dries. The photograph to the right shows that the damage was still visible the next morning.

I decided to fill the indentation. I got some heavy body white acrylic and a painting knife, and applied the paint like I might spread filler over a hole in the wall. I let that dry for a while, then painted the clouds again with regular acrylic.

Reader, it worked.

I took No Parking to Bromley, brought it back, revarnished it... and, for now, it's rejoined its friends in the dining room. Good as new, almost.


  1. Well there you are. On reflection, you could have used acrylic paint - white, for preference - instead of medium, brushed over both sides of the cotton patch.

    1. I suppose I could. Why both sides, out of interest?

      Many thanks for your advice, Robert. It is always much appreciated.


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