How To Get A Dent Out Of A Painting Canvas

Painting canvases are quite expensive, and it’s all too easy to lean or knock something up against one and damage or make a dent in it. No matter how much you push the dent back out from the underside of the canvas, it doesn’t work, that’s because the fine canvas threads have been stretched in the damaged area. If you were to place the canvas tightening wedges, that come with most canvases, into the corners, it still wouldn’t tighten the effected area.

Follow the steps below to easily get a dent out of a painting canvas and make it perfect once again.

Things You’ll Need:

1) A clan rag or sponge.

2) Some cold water.

get dent out of painting
As you can see my canvas has an dent in it, which will not come out by pushing it from the reverse side.
Dent in a canvas painting.
You can see in this close-up the dent it quite deep where something angular hit it.
Dent in back of canvas painting.
From the reverse side you can see the damaged and dented canvas protruding out, 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 to do is get 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 stretcher parts, these in theory could get damaged by excessive water and warp ).
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. You don’t need to wet the canvas further away from the damaged area any more than about 10 – 15cm, but if you do it doesn’t matter.
Put water on canvas painting.
Once the canvas is sodden, apply some pressure to the dented area and push it down flat, whilst still rubbing your rag/sponge over the area. You’ll notice that as the weave absorbs the water the fibres expand and this tightens the canvas, which will pull the dents out.
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 if your dent is persistent.
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, you can see there is hardly any evidence of it left.
Damaged canvas.
All that remains of the damage to my canvas is a small impression left where the dent was at it’s sharpest. This is easily filled with gesso primer, should you wish to re-prime your canvas, or it’s just as easy to cover over with paint when you use the canvas later.
Fixed canvas painting.
See in this image the dent is undetectable after I’ve gone through the process above – fixed!
Artists Cat.
The Culprit:, this beautiful girl ( Pusspuss ) is the reason my canvas had a dent in it in the first place. She was trying to ‘help’ me in the studio and knocked my camera off a shelf onto the canvas. She denies responsibility.

I hope you found this post about how to get a dent out of a canvas painting useful, if you have any questions just get in touch.

Happy painting.



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

  1. 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

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.