Repurposing and Preserving: What to Do With Your Old Canvas Paintings?

Artists often find themselves with a collection of old canvas paintings that no longer align with their artistic vision or style.

Instead of discarding or storing them away indefinitely, there are various creative and meaningful ways to repurpose and preserve these artworks.

In this article, we will explore a range of options to help you breathe new life into your old canvas paintings and find innovative ways to showcase or reuse them.

Reframe and Redisplay

Consider reframing your old canvas paintings to give them a fresh look. A new frame can completely transform the appearance and style of a piece.

Experiment with different frames, matting, and presentation styles to enhance the overall presentation of your artwork.

Once reframed, find a prominent place to display them in your home, studio, or gallery, allowing them to become a part of your artistic journey and showcase your growth as an artist.

Revise and Paint Over

If you have paintings that you feel no longer represent your current style or vision, consider revising them by painting over them.

Use gesso or a primer to create a blank canvas, and then explore new ideas or experiment with different techniques on top of the existing artwork.

This process not only allows you to repurpose the canvas but also provides an opportunity for creative exploration and transformation.

Create Collages or Mixed Media Art

Transform your old canvas paintings into collages or mixed media art pieces.

Cut or tear the canvas into smaller sections and combine them with other materials such as paper, photographs, fabric, or found objects.

Use adhesive or stitching techniques to create visually engaging collages or mixed media compositions.

This approach allows you to incorporate elements from your old paintings into new and dynamic artworks.

Donate or Gift

Consider donating your old canvas paintings to local art organizations, community centers, schools, or charitable events.

Your artwork can bring joy and inspiration to others, especially those who may not have access to original art.

Additionally, you can gift your paintings to friends, family members, or art enthusiasts who appreciate your work. Sharing your art in this way allows your creations to be enjoyed and appreciated by others.

Sell or Repurpose as Art Supplies

If you’re looking to monetize your old canvas paintings, consider selling them at art markets, online platforms, or local galleries.

Some art supply stores also accept used canvases for recycling or offer trade-in programs where you can exchange your old canvases for new art supplies.

Repurposing your old canvas as a new canvas or other art surfaces allows you to continue your artistic practice while minimizing waste.

Document and Archive

Even if you choose to repurpose or discard your old canvas paintings, it’s essential to document and archive them for future reference and reflection.

Take high-quality photographs or scans of your artwork and create a digital portfolio or catalog to track your artistic journey.

This documentation preserves the history of your artwork and serves as a valuable resource for your artistic growth and development.


When faced with a collection of old canvas paintings, it’s important to remember that they hold potential for new beginnings and creative exploration.

Whether you choose to reframe and redisplay them, revise and paint over them, create collages or mixed media art, donate or gift them, sell or repurpose them as art supplies, or simply document and archive them, each option allows you to honor and repurpose your artistic efforts.

By repurposing or preserving your old canvas paintings, you breathe new life into your creations and continue to appreciate their value and significance.

Embrace these creative options and find meaningful ways to give your old artworks a second chance to shine.

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