Warped Painting - Dent or Sagged Canvas


These are some common issues when buying an original painting:


Since all my canvases are stretched using natural wood, they are affected by environmental conditions. I check every painting before I paint, and sometimes there is a minimal dent in the wooden bars. Wood is inherently susceptible to fluctuations in moisture, cold and heat. A canvas that may have been perfectly square at the manufacturer warehouse or my studio, it may arrive warped at its final destination if during the shipping process; it was exposed to heat, cold, and/or humidity.

One way to fix a warp painting is wetting the wood on the back with the painting face down and placing heavy weights on all four corners until it dries. What you will need: bowl, water, rag/towel, glassine or wax paper, 4 books and 4 weights (either exercise weights or simply 4 heavy rocks):

    • Pick a location inside your house that doesn’t get a lot of traffic and will be out of your way for a day or 2, preferably the floor or a table.
    • Create a clean dry surface where you will later lay your painting face down. Important: DO NOT use a plastic bag since it can stick to a painting, DO NOT use a newspaper since the print can transfer onto the painting. Use clean non-stick, acid-free material such as glassine or wax paper.
    • Fill up a bowl with luke-warm water. Turn the painting over, place it face down on the surface you have just created, and wet the wooden stretcher bars with a drenched rag/towel, making sure to keep wetting the bars until you see they are sufficiently wet. Place 1 book on each of the 4 edges of the canvas and then place your weight on top of the books. Wait 24-48 hours, this forces the damp wood flat. For good measure, I recommend taking the books and rocks off after 24 hours, rewetting the bars, and placing the books and rocks back for another 24 hours.
    • You could also have it re-stretch, or add a decorative frame.


Spray the backside of the canvas with warm (not hot) water and as the water evaporates the canvas shrinks back into shape. DO NOT over-saturate. It is better to repeat this step several times in intervals of 1 hour, rather than over saturate it the first time.


With proper care, you artwork will give you years of viewing pleasure!

    • Carry the painting firmly with two hands from the sides of the frame or stretcher. If possible, use clean, soft gloves to handle the artwork. Also, avoid touching or applying any pressure to the surface or the back of the canvas. Do not carry a painting by the top of the frame, stretcher bars or by the hanging wire to prevent damages and injuries.
    • After artwork is received, take it immediately out of the shipping box or tube. Keeping it inside the box or tube for too long, might eventually damage the artwork.
    • Remove all packaging materials carefully and keep out of the reach of children.
    • If you received a “rolled” artwork, put it on a frame or stretcher bars as soon as possible.
    • For more information, read the Fine Art Care Guide.

Some original paintings and canvas prints might have a strong odor from oil/acrylic paints, canvas, mediums, varnish and solvents, such as turpentine, terpenoid, mineral spirits, etc. If you are or think you might be allergic to any of these, please contact your doctor immediately.