I have had a canvas photo print for 7 1/2 years now and it is starting to crack/peel. Is there anything that I can put over it to protect it? I am not sure what the shop did that I got it from. But I would like to protect it from here on out. Thank you!


2 Answers 2


If it has already started to crack/peel, there is probably nothing that you can do to save it im afraid.

Some shops will spray a lacquer/sealant onto canvas prints - in the short term they look better as they make the colours "pop", however as the canvas stretches with time, the lacquer cant so it cracks. (this also depends on the quality of the original materials)

You could possibly try re-lacquering it.


There are different methods of printing onto canvas - Latex is popular now (dries faster, permitting faster workflow in commercial shops). However, previously, it was more usual to get ink jet prints on canvas.

IMHO Latex is not as nice because it sits 'on top' of the canvas - I´ve had prints that are 3 years old show rubbing (e.g. the latex rubs away) on corners from handling and transport. Also, the blacks are not as deep in appearance. I belive this is because, if I rememeber correctly, the ink jet ink soaks a bit more into the canvas (or, sprays, if you like) and so there is more depth to the print. (Canvas as a 3D structure, so colur that sits on top of the canvas, reduces some of the beauty of canvas.) The ink jets take time to dry (24 hours, in the case of my printer), and then one can coat them with a protective varnish (to protect the ink from fading from UV, extending life from decades to a century, at least according to the manufacturer of my printer and inks.)

Among the prints I have, these two types of printing look pretty different - latex more like a thin plasticky layer on top of the canvas, and the ink jet can have lovely deep colours in the shadows. When I've coated some of my ink jet prints with the UV-protectant, which does also improve the colours, one can still see that the colour is not simply on top of the canvas.

The UV-sealant I have, does stretch with the canvas - the workflow is print, dry, cover with sealant, and then stretch the canvas onto the stretchers. But, as said above, it does depend on the quality of materials used.

So, the first question is what is cracking or peeling - the paint making up the colors of the image itself, or a clearish layer that could be the protective varnish?

I'd recommend looking at the edges of the print on the back - usually a bit of color is wrapped around the stretchers.


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