Repairing Scratches on an Oil Painting

Things You\’ll Need

  • Blank canvas

  • Oil paints

  • Paint brush

  • Cotton swabs

... Scratches in oil paintings are repairable in most cases.

Scratches can show up on artwork for a variety of reasons. In some cases it is carelessness or poor storage practices. No matter what the reason for the scratch is, you can repair scratches on an oil painting on your own at home. It does take some time and concentration but it can be done, even if you have little or no previous painting experience. Of course, if the scratch is deep or there are numerous ones, it may be better left to a professional.

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Step 1

Place the blank canvas next to the painting that you wish to repair.

Step 2

Squeeze a small dollop of oil paints on the blank canvas in colors that are close to the same colors that are scratched on the damaged painting.

Step 3

Mix some of the colors together if they are not the same shade as the needed color to repair the damaged painting. Keep mixing until you find a color or colors that are a close or perfect match to the needed color.

Step 4

Apply a small amount of the mixed paint to the damaged painting in the appropriate area. Use a very small amount at a time, applying with a dry paintbrush. Do this as many times as needed to fix the scratch.

Step 5

Dab off any excess paint using a cotton swab. Dab lightly so that there is no more damage done to the painting.

Step 6

Set the painting aside to dry thoroughly. Oil paints can take up to several days to dry, so make sure it will be uninterrupted during that time.


If a painting is scratched so deep that it has a hole in it, then using this method won't work. In this case the painting needs a different type of repair that should be handled by an expert.

If the painting is severely scratched in multiple places, it may be beyond repair. Take it to a professional who can better assess whether the painting can be fixed.