How to Repaint on Already Used Canvas

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Things You'll Need

  • Books or cutting board

  • Sandpaper

  • Dry rag

  • Gesso

  • Wide, flat paintbrush

Use gesso to recycle an old painted canvas.

Whether you are a hobby painter or a professional artist, you can erase old, painted canvases and prepare them for new masterpieces. This recycling technique is less expensive than purchasing a new canvas and can be completed in about the same amount of time it would take you to drive to the store and purchase a new one. Reap the benefits of reusing canvases by purchasing old cast-offs at local yard sales and thrift stores.


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Step 1

Lay your used canvas on your work surface with the painted side facing up. Slide books or a cutting board under your framed painted canvas to fill the void inside the wood frame of the canvas and provide support.

Step 2

Sand the painted surface of the canvas to smooth out the texture of the previous painting's brush strokes using sandpaper.


Step 3

Wipe the sanded surface using a clean, dry rag.

Step 4

Paint over the image on the surface of the canvas using a primer of gesso and a wide, flat paintbrush. Allow the gesso to dry. Repeat with a second coat, if needed, for complete coverage. The canvas is now ready for your new painting.


Gesso is an artist's primer used to prepare the surface of canvases for painting.