In producing a painting I taped some canvas to a board, which resulted in margins. Unfortunately the margins are not as clean as I would like.

Mostly I just want to make my next paintings better instead of fidgeting too much with the same painting. But something I wouldn't mind try to fix is the margins. Near the top left you can see little spits of paint:

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I tried patching some of these spits of paint with titanium white and a pallet knife, but it sticks out because (1) it appears bluish and (2) this white doesn't seem to match the white of the canvas itself.

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How can I clean up the margins of this painting so that they are a nice uniform white (i.e. no bluish smudges)?


1 Answer 1


Usually you don't clean the margins at all.

If you painted on a canvas that wasn't stretched on a wooden frame (so just the fabric), the logical next step is to do exactly that. To mount the canvas, the edges are stretched around the wooden frame and nailed or tacked to the back of it. That means the final picture will be smaller than the canvas. Ideally all parts of the canvas you didn't paint should dissappear that way.

If you painted on a canvas that was already mounted, you should paint all the way to the edge. You should even paint the edges with the base coat (black or white or whatever you fancy) to give the painting a neat appearance. That means you need a better way to hold the canvas steady while painting than some sticky tape. The traditional way is of course an easel, but you could just as well hammer a few nails into a big wooden board to hold it steady or screw some wooden blocks onto a board. Be creative, I'm sure there are many more solutions that work.

If neither option is doable now, the "professional" way to neaten up the edges is via a passepartout. That's a paper or cardboard frame that hides all the ugly bits at the edge of the canvas. It can give the entire picture a very different look or mood, depending on its size and color. You should try holding some long cardboard or paper pieces in different colors next to the images to find the color of passepartout that fits the painting best.

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