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MITRA Forum Question Details

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  • Tear in canvasApproveRejectUn-ApproveSubscribeUn-Unsubscribe
    Question asked 2016-12-26 14:40:03 ... Most recent comment 2016-12-26 16:05:00
    Acrylic Flexible Supports Art Conservation Topics
    I have a very tiny (1/4") tear (slit) in an acrylic on canvas.  Is there a way to safely repair this?

Answers and Comments

  • EditDeleteModerator Answer

    ​While a small tear may seem like no big deal to repair on one's own, the best thing to do in this scenario is meet up with a professional conservator to discuss how best to proceed. Far too often, we see paintings with tape, glues, rubber cement, etc. afixed to the back in a DIY attempt to fix small tears and punctures but this is not advisable. Such materials (even if they are somewhat reversible) can cause planar distortions down the road, creating buckling and undulations in the canvas and eventually losses in the paint and ground layers. It is best to consult a professionally trained conservator, preferrably one with a master's degree from a recognized training program, and in the best case scenario you can work together in some manner, with the conservator possibly dealing with the onerous job of addressing the structural problems while you might consider touching up any aethestic damage (should you need to do so). It takes many, many years of training to learn how to fix structural issues in panel and canvas supports, years that you probably do not want to bother with in the end. You can locate a conservator through the American Institute for Conservation's "Find a Conservator" database​ (if you are in the US of course) but again be SURE to ask about their credentials (e.g. experience, masters degree from a conservation program, etc.).

    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2016-12-26 16:12:22
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentSmall tears are easy to repair with a linen patch and acid free adhesive made for this purpose. It is a skill quickly learned and has a long history in painting conservation.
    2017-01-05 08:54:01
  • EditDeleteModerator AnswerJust a quick note explaining why we decided to reject a recent comment instructing folks to use linen patches and adhesive for tear repairs. This particular forum is unfortunately not meant to serve as a "tips and tricks for restoration" site. Furthermore linen patches have long since been abandoned as they telegraph through to the front and cause planar deformations. This is not considered something that is a "quick fix" and should be addressed in consultation with a trained conservator as per our recommendations above.
    Kristin deGhetaldi
    2017-01-05 09:54:32
  • ApproveRejectUn-ApproveUser CommentWhat a waste of time. Hope you enjoy your life up in that ivory tower.
    2017-01-05 19:49:25

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  • The Department of Art Conservation
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  • University of Delaware
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  • Phone: 302-831-3489