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No matter how careful you are you’re probably going to hit or knock your canvases at some point and get a dent in them. As much you push the dent back out from the underside it won’t work, that’s because the fine canvas threads have been stretched in that area. Even if you fit the canvas tightening wedges that come with most canvases into the corners, it still won’t work. So let me show you what does work:

get dent out of painting
Here is my dented canvas.
Dent in a canvas painting.
You can see in this close-up the dent it quite deep.
Dent in back of canvas painting.
If I were to try and push the dent out from this side it would simply not work.
Wet rag in sink.
So what you need is a clean rag or sponge and make it wet, ..very wet. You can’t damage your canvas by making it too wet (avoid getting too much water on the wooden stretchers).
Rubbing wet rag on canvas painting.
Turn your canvas over and place it on a clean flat surface, then with your wet rag/sponge wet the back of the canvas all around the dented area.
Rub wet rag on painting.
Rub your rag or sponge up, down, back and fore until the weave of the canvas it good and wet.
Put water on canvas painting.
Once the canvas is sodden, apply some pressure to the dented area and push it down flat.
Leave wet rag on painting.
It will do no harm to leave the soaked rag/sponge on the effected area for a minute of so.
Photo of dent in canvas painting.
After a couple of minutes rubbing the back of the canvas this is what the dented area looked like on my canvas. The brush handle is pointing at the dent.
Damaged canvas.
All that remains of the damage to my canvas is a small impression left where the dent was at it’s sharpest.
Fixed canvas painting.
This is the canvas after going through the process above, fixed.
Artists Cat.
This beautiful girl (Pusspuss) is the reason my canvas had a dent in it in the first place, she denies responsibility.

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Happy painting.



12 thoughts on “How To Get A Dent Out Of A Painting Canvas”

  1. I bought a painting last night at Goodwill and didn’t notice until I was getting it out of the car that the painting was dented! That’s how I found your page. I was ready to take the painting back to Goodwill and get my money back, but tried your method this morning. Wow!!! Within a couple of minutes the dent was released and the painting is now proudly hanging on my wall. Thank you so much! This is why I love the internet, sharing what we know with others. It worked!

  2. What can I do if the edges are bent? The wood is higher right on the edge of the canvas so it got a dent on all the corners from transportation. I can’t fix this with that method because it’s right under the wood. I’d be glad if you can help

  3. Dear Chris,

    Thank you so much for this advice! I’m a new-ish art technician and just tried this out, it worked like magic, I can’t believe I never knew this before!

  4. Hello
    Am I able to fix “lines” in a white background canvas? Collateral damage from moving, something has pressed from the back putting the pressure of the wood mount onto the back of the canvas, creating two marked lines on the front.
    Thank you Lauren

    1. Hi Carollyn, depending on the type of varnish used, if any, you’d have to remove that first, then repaint those areas if the cracks were significant. Very fine cracks may be able to be filled with delicate brushwork. ~ Chris

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How To Get A Dent Out Of A Painting Canvas