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How to Remove Paint from Canvas – Top Ways

how to remove paint from canvas

This article will teach you how to remove paint from canvas using easy steps and simple materials. So, keep on reading to find out how to get rid of any paint spills.

Aspiring to explore your artistic side? Painting is an excellent activity that helps you release tension and feel more grounded. Luckily, there are lots of options that you can explore to begin your journey as an artist.

But accidents happen, and spilling acrylic paint is more common than you think. You don’t want paint spots to ruin your canvas before you begin your project or after you’ve spent long hours working on it.

Should you get a paint remover for canvas to remove acrylic paint? Below are some tips on removing acrylic paint even dried acrylic paint.

Why Do You Need to Remove Paint from Canvas?

You bought an easy-to-use paint by numbers kit to create a masterpiece. It comes with all the needed materials, including high-quality acrylic paint, or you’re using another piece of canvas to create a unique design. Life seems good because your painting is ready to come to life, and you’re excited about it.

Suddenly, you knock off one of the paint pots, or your excited pet jumps at one of them, and the paint quickly stains your canvas. Do you have to throw away this piece of canvas? If you’re buying a paint by numbers kit, you won’t be able to get the same outline unless you buy a new kit.

Acrylic paint is one of the easiest materials for beginners because it dries fast and allows you to layer up paint quickly. However, this trait is what makes it a little challenging to work with. Here are a few reasons why you need to learn how to remove acrylic paint from the canvas.

  • You might accidentally spill the paint on your clean canvas before you start coloring.
  • If you’re using a paint by numbers kit, you might have made a mistake and used the wrong color. As a result, the finished painting won’t look like the one you bought.
  • You’ve made a few mistakes while coloring. You could have crossed the line or spilled a few dots of paint that ruin the look of your painting.

How to Choose the Right Solvent to Remove Paint from Canvas

Acrylic paint is different from watercolors and latex paint. Although it dissolves in water, once it dries, it becomes quite difficult to remove. The acrylic polymers dry and tighten, creating a film that the water can’t pass through.

There are several types of solvents on the market that you can use to remove acrylic paint successfully. However, choosing the right one can be a little challenging.

Most solvents are moderate to extremely flammable. This is why you need to be careful about picking the right place to work. Make sure that you’re working away from electric outlets for maximum safety.

Another point that you need to consider is the inhalation hazard. Some solvents like ammonia can be quite irritating, while others like toluene contain nervous system depressants.

You should keep your solvent away from the reach of children and pets. Some solvents contain chemicals that are highly toxic by ingestion and can cause blindness or even death.


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Ammonia can be used to remove dry acrylic paint from non-porous surfaces, so it won’t work on canvas. If you accidentally spill some paint on a plastic chair, this solvent will work for you.

You can use ammonia to clean your painting brushes and cleaning brushes. However, in some cases, it might cause an allergic reaction.

Rubbing Alcohol

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Isopropyl alcohol works for removing acrylic paint stains from non-porous and some porous surfaces. However, it requires more time if you’re removing the paint from your canvas. It’s cheap and easy to use solvent and works best for spot cleaning.

Denatured Alcohol

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This is stronger than isopropyl alcohol because it doesn’t contain water. However, it’s more dangerous to work with because it contains methanol. It works best for removing paint stains from plastic and metal surfaces.


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Acetone is a potent solvent, but it might be too strong for your canvas. It’s not as toxic as other solvents but should only be used when rubbing alcohol doesn’t work. You can soak a soft brush in acetone to remove tough paint stains.

Lacquer Thinner

This is a stronger solvent that should only be used to remove paint stains from glass and metal. It contains toxins like toluene and methanol that cause long-term health problems. It doesn’t work for removing paint stains from canvas because it’s too strong.

Tips For Removing Paint from Canvas

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With the right materials and tools, you’ll be able to get rid of acrylic paint stains quickly. Here are some tips to guarantee a better result.

  • Wear protective gloves and goggles.
  • Make sure that you read the instructions for using the solvent. Don’t use it near open flames.
  • It’s best to remove acrylic paint outdoors to avoid inhaling the fumes of the solvent.
  • Don’t mix two solvents together.
  • After removing the paint, make sure that the canvas is clean using a mild detergent.
  • Let the canvas dry overnight before you start painting one more time.

How to Remove Paint from Canvas – Removing All of the Paint

Removing acrylic paint after it has dried out isn’t impossible. As a matter of fact, you only need a few tools to do this job successfully. We’ll teach you the right steps, so your canvas will stay flawless and ready for use.


  • Adequate solvent.
  • Putty knife.
  • Container to soak the canvas.
  • Mild detergent.


  1. Inspect the canvas to decide on the area that needs to be cleaned.
  2. Use a putty knife and remove the top layer of the paint.
  3. Get your container, and pour a layer of your chosen solvent. Make sure that it’s designed for this particular use as some solvents are intended for outdoor use and contain too many impurities.
  4. Make sure that there’s enough solvent to cover the spilled paint.
  5. Soak the canvas in the solution for an hour. If the stain is still there, keep the canvas soaked for a little longer.
  6. Soak the canvas in warm water and add some mild detergent or dish soap.

How to Remove Paint from Canvas – Removing a Small Spot

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This method can be used for spot cleaning. If you accidentally crossed the lines or used the wrong color, you can remove a small spot in no time.


  • Solvent.
  • Soft brush.
  • Soft cloth.
  • Mild detergent.


  1. Put your canvas on a table or a flat surface.
  2. Soak a piece of soft cloth into the solvent.
  3. Keep on rubbing the soft cloth into the canvas until the paint is gone. If it stays, you can soak the cloth in the solvent one more time.
  4. Dip a soft brush into the solvent.
  5. Remove any residue until the spot is gone.
  6. Clean the area using a mild detergent or dish soap.
  7. Use warm water and rub a clean brush to remove the solvent residue.

How to Remove Paint from Canvas – Wrap Up

Even if you’ve been painting for a while, accidents happen, and you might accidentally spill or misuse your acrylic paint. Because it dries fast, you need to make sure that you have the right tools to remove the paint spot without damaging the canvas.

Make sure that you have the right solvent and scrape the excess paint before using it. Soak the canvas or use a soft brush. If the stain is still there, repeat the process until the canvas is clean and ready for use.

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