How to Remove a Canvas Painting From a Frame

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A painting on canvas.
A painting on canvas. (Image: painting image by Dmitri MIkitenko from Fotolia.com)

Frame and canvas can be equally important when displaying a painting. The frame itself not only supports the structure of the painting but also can add a decorative element to the painting. Some frames are more ornate and valuable than the paintings themselves. Whether reframing a painting or simply removing the outer frame for a simpler presentation, you can remove a canvas painting from a frame using the right tools and careful technique.

Things You'll Need

  • Canvas painting
  • Screwdriver
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Pry bar

Lean the canvas painting face-first against a wall or lay it face-down on a large work table.

Remove the hanging wire from the back of the frame.

Remove any staples, screws or nails holding the frame to the painting with needle-nose pliers, screwdriver or small pry bar.

Pry up the spline, if there is one, with a screwdriver. The spline is a thin, rubbery piece that sometimes goes between the painting and the frame to hold the painting in place better. Grip the spline with fingers or needle-nose pliers and pull it away all the way around the painting.

Use needle-nose pliers to remove any remaining staples in the frame that were hidden behind the spline.

Push the painting back or the frame forward to separate the painting from the frame.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not attempt to remove a seriously damaged painting from a frame.
  • Removing any painting from its frame may negatively affect its value. Consult a professional art appraiser before attempting to remove an antique painting from its frame.

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