How to Remove a Canvas Painting From a Frame

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Things You'll Need

  • Canvas painting

  • Screwdriver

  • Needle-nose pliers

  • Pry bar

A painting on canvas.

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.


Step 1

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

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Step 2

Remove the hanging wire from the back of the frame.

Step 3

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

Step 4

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.

Step 5

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

Step 6

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


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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