Re-Painting and Re-stretching an Acrylic Canvas

The Great Wave Acrylic Painting

You may have seen the painting in question here. It was a thrift store find, and a bit banged up. Besides being dirty, and loose on the frame, it was also vaguely unfinished. We had it propped on the back of our sofa, and it just couldn’t continue to live with all the pencil marks still showing. I broke out my drawer of acrylics and got to work:

The Great Wave Acrylic Painting

This was the crest of the wave before on the left, covered up with new white paint on the right:

The Great Wave Acrylic Painting The Great Wave Acrylic Painting

The outline of the wave stopped halfway down so I finished it off:

The Great Wave Acrylic Painting The Great Wave Acrylic Painting

There were a couple other small changes I made, mostly covering damage, or bringing the color all the way to the edge of the canvas. Last time I talked about this bedraggled piece I mentioned that the black around Mt. Fuji wasn’t acrylic but glossy black spray paint. It doesn’t come off in the photos but it both looked strange in bright light and was cracking. My original thought was to spray paint the whole canvas with either a gloss or matte finish to even it out. However, thanks to the cold temps. in Colorado, spray painting hasn’t been an option. When I had my acrylics out I started dabbing on some flat black and it covered the cracks and sheen really well. Is that up to art historian standards? No, definitely not. Will it hold up? Eh, maybe. Doing good for the moment!

The last thing I wanted to do before hanging it up was re-stretch the canvas. It was no longer tight, and even wrinkled on it self in a couple places. If you want to try to re-stretch a canvas yourself remember that it matters what kind of paint was used. My painting is acrylic, oil paintings that are very old and dry could potentially crack or lose paint if re-stretched. Otherwise the usual disclaimer for diy stuff applies: if it’s priceless, sentimental, not yours, or very fragile leave it to professionals or on the wall.

How to Re-stretch A Canvas Painting

First off remove the frame if there is one and lay the painting on a clean non-abrasive surface:

Re-stretching Canvas Painting

Remove all old staples, except the center ones on one side:

Re-stretching Canvas Painting

Next begin stretching either with your hands or a pair of pliers the center of the opposite side from the old staples:

Re-stretching Canvas PaintingStaple down that center with a few staples, stretching as you go:

Re-stretching Canvas Painting

Move on to the next side, repeat until all sides have their centers stapled:

Re-stretching Canvas Painting

Do the corners now, first staple down one side and then the other leaving a flap:

Re-stretching Canvas PaintingRe-stretching Canvas Painting

Fold the flap:

Re-stretching Canvas PaintingRe-stretching Canvas Painting

Staple it down:

Re-stretching Canvas Painting

Move to the opposite corner, and repeat to finish off the corners. Staple the remaining areas, and your’e done! If my awesome pictures left you confused watch this video from Swarez Art.

The frame on my painting was dinged up, cheap flat wood barely painted black, so I left it off. I might paint them white and nail them back on at some point. For now I hung the painting on the wall.

The Great Wave Acrylic Painting

Have you heard about the 57 inch on center rule for hanging pictures? I read about it on Apartment Therapy and used it to hang this painting. My sitting room, still in progress but so much warmer with art on the wall:

Sitting Room Progress

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