Oil paintings can and do occasionally get warped a bit. Sometimes different drying rates can put undue pressure in places or the canvas might ‘slack’, which is loosening up naturally. Maybe your stretcher bars have been damaged. So, can an oil painting be restretched?
While you have to be very careful about it, oil paintings can indeed be restretched. This is something that you can do on your own or you can hire a professional to do it. Just keep in mind that hiring someone will run you anywhere from 8 – 20 dollars per linear foot!
In today’s article I’ll tell you a little about restretching, such as removing wrinkles, whether or not you can restretch an already painted canvas, and how restretching an oil painting is done. Let’s explore the wonderful world of stretched canvas!
How do you get wrinkles out of an oil painting?
One of the nice things about canvas is that it’s fabric, so when you are dealing with wrinkle or creases then you can get them out much the same as you would with any other piece of fabric. That’s right… it’s time to fetch your iron!
You’ll also need a spray-bottle with some water and a nice, plump cotton towel for this process. Now, to get that wrinkle or crease out, you’ll need to place your painting face down into the towel and lightly mist the areas that are wrinkled – just enough to get them damp and no more.
Now, turn your iron to the preset for linen or cotton and gently iron out the wrinkles. They should come out quite easily in most cases and now that you know this trick, if you see creases or wrinkles again then you will be ready to deal with them!
Can you stretch an already painted canvas?
Yes, you can, but you need to be careful. The problem that you run into is that you can potentially crack the paint, so stretching the canvas has to be done slowly, loosely, and careful. In a case like this, it might be best to hire a professional if you aren’t confident with stretching it loosely between the stretcher bars.
An alternative method of stretching that some people use involves a little sewing. What you would do is essentially stitch your canvas by its edges to a larger piece of fabric, and stretch this larger fabric normally. You have to be sure that you deal with the slack as you go and that the sewing of your original canvas to the new fabric is done well, but if you do this then you should be able to stretch an already painted canvas with a much higher chance of success.
How do you Restretch a canvas of an oil painting?
Before I tell you how to do this, if you’ve got an unsightly dimple or some sagging and this is the reason that you want to restretch your canvas, then you should know that there are products out there such as Masterpiece Artist Canvas Re-tensioner spray that you can spray on the back of your canvas to shrink it up nicely and back into shape.
That said, if you want to restretch a canvas of an oil painting then the process goes like this:
- Remove it from the old frame and get all of the stapes out of it.
- Laying your canvas on it’s new frame, put a staple in the top middle and then pull it snugly down, repeating the process with a staple in the center of the bottom bar.
- Repeat the process on the horizontal, making sure that the canvas is pulled nice and tight.
- Now fold in and staple the corners, so that everything is not only snug, but evenly and securely in place.
Remember, if you aren’t certain about doing this with your painting, then it’s well worth calling a pro and not having to worry about it, but if you have a DIY inclination then this is definitely something that you can do on your own. Just take it slow and make sure that canvas is pulled tight and it should look great on its new stretcher bars when you are done.
Some closing commentary
Can an oil painting be restretched? You bet it can! All it takes is to hire a pro or the patience and inclination to restretch it yourself. If you are stretching is again because of dimples or other cosmetic issues, consider a re-tensioner spray – these can sometimes fix the issue without having to remove the canvas from the bars at all. Finally, wrinkles and creases can be ironed out, because you are working with fabric and those are the rules!
Before I go, I’ve got a nice 3rd party article for you that will give you a little more information on warped canvases and what you can do. You can find it here if you are interested and I highly recommend that you do… After all, an extra trick or two up your sleeve is never a bad thing to have!