How to Remove Unwanted Embellishments and Stickers

What if you like a painting but you don’t want it mounted on the board or you wish to remove an embellishment on an art piece? Well, let me tell you how.

Blues GardenLet’s start with this painting as an example. This is called Blues Garden. The painting is an emotional art therapy piece created in blue, gray and rose, with a wash. I’ve drawn a young woman with her head to the side and several flowers around her. I do like this painting, especially framed, but I have mixed feelings concerning the largest sunflower at the bottom. First of all, I put it there because to hide the words “No Peace” written in white crayon.

Lets say a buyer likes the art, but too has reservations about the sunflower. Well, lets show how to remove it.

Before you begin, you must figure out if the embellishment has been given a permanent seal or is raw such as the sunflower in the painting Blues Garden. Some embellishments, dye cuts, stickers and additions look best without a seal and are on the final art piece in their raw, natural form. Other additions have an obvious finish. You should not attempt to remove these as it will tear the image. 

What you’ll need to remove my unsealed embellishments and stickers:

Hairdryer set on low
Tooth pick
Maybe tweezers
Stick of Elmer’s glue
Steady hands

  1. Turn the painting over and add heat with the hairdryer set to low. Move the hairdryer back and forth to distribute the heat without burning the painting. Fire and art is very bad. Set the dryer to low.
  2. Feel the image to see that it is holding the heat where the glued down embellishment is. With a toothpick, see if you are able to lift the edge of the embellishment. If you are able then slowly, very slowly begin to remove the unwanted addition.
  3. You may need to heat the glue several times. Lift some, heat, lift more, heat, work to remove it without damaging the art piece. Tweezers are another great tool for removing smaller objects.
  4. If the embellishment decides to cooperate and the heating process works for you, then do nothing else. I do not suggest taking a damp cloth to remove the residue. Just make certain the glue residue dries thoroughly and go about enjoying your art.

Lets say things aren’t going your way and it’s clear you won’t be able to remove the item without damaging the art. If this is the case put a dab of Elmer’s stick clue on the end of the toothpick. Don’t use liquid glue, as it may be more difficult to control. Carefully slide the glue in areas where the embellishment became stubborn. Press down firmly and let it be.

How to remove Sundrip artwork from it’s mounted board.

This particular painting in my Etsy shop gives the buyer the option of having the piece mounted or left as is. Lets say they asked to have “Shielded” mounted, but later decided, nah, I don’t want that. Here’s how to remove the board Sundrip art is mounted on. You’ll recognize the steps because they are very close to the ones above.

Turn the painting over. With a hairdryer set on low, heat the back of the board in a sweeping motion.

When you feel the board is warm, try to peel the edge of the painting back by just a little. If you see that the heating process is working then continue working slowly, alternating heat and lifting. If the process is not working for you, smooth the painting back down and leave it alone.

I am aware that employees at Hobby Lobby and Michael’s are able to show you how to use lighter fluid to remove the back. Seriously, they’ve shown me how but I believe art with fire and flammables is very bad. I’m just giving you all the information okay. Use flammables at your own risk.

All through out this how to, DIY, tutorial thingamabob I’ve used phrases having to do with my own art. I don’t know what others do when mounting their art but I know my process and I know I’ve successfully used the methods above, with the exception of lighter fluid.

I hope this little tutorial has been helpful. If you’ve learned nothing besides art and fire are very bad, then the art world is a safer place.

Thanks for reading and visiting,

No need to feel nervous, comment if you'd like.