Anybody know a way to safely remove crayon from an acrylic painting?

The daughter of a co-worker friend of mine scribbled all over her mother’s favorite painting in orange crayon and she’s devastated. It’s her best work and may be beyond recovery. Any suggestions?

It’s acrylic paint over canvas and wasn’t sealed. I suggested a warm iron and paper towels like you’d use on carpet (works, by the way. Saved my living room carpet not too long ago with that method), but there may be better options.

I wonder if freezing the wax and scraping it off might be an option?

I also wonder if you have an art gallery near by. There might be someone on staff who could answer this.

re-read the op and i should clarify that the co-worker painted it herself.

Provided you are willing to spend enough money, it’s amazing what can be done to repair or restore paintings. I had a similar situation some years back. I took the picture to a local artist. He charged me $100, but when I got the picture back it was completely restored to original condition. I don’t think that applying heat to acrylic paint is the way to go. Back in the 70’s in a high school art class we made artsy t-shirts by painting on them with acrylic paint and then ironing them to fuse the paint into the cloth.

Do wax crayons have a lower melting point than dried acrylic paint? Could you use a hair dryer to soften the crayon and wipe/dab it off with a soft cloth.

heating, if it would work, is difficult in reaching a useful but not damaging temperature. even if the paint didn’t melt it might cause the crayon to stick to it tighter.

freezing would likely be better. freezing the whole thing likely might cause damage due to condensation, unless you did this is a walk-in freezer. freezing the painting in postage stamp sized sections and picking the brittle frozen crayon off might work. there are ways to do this, dry ice or electronic component coolant, with some small health hazard and cost. it might be something that you could have done by others.

hadn’t thought of freezing it. how long would it have to spend in the freezer?

i don’t think freezing the whole thing is a good idea without having a walk-in freezer that you will work in. bringing out frozen into a room would allow moisture to condense on it which might be damaging.

freezing postage stamp sized areas could be done in a room environment.

I would not try anything on the actual painting first. If your friend is an artist she probably has some acrylic paintings around that she isn’t fond of that she can scribble with crayon and try to fix. She could also paint some acrylic on a canvas, then scribble crayon it but there might be different dynamics to new pain instead of aged paint.

If nothing else works I would try lightly rubbing with fine sandpaper on a cold or frozen painting then restore the gloss by sealing the whole painting. I would be careful of freezing in case the painting cracks.

Mr.Clean Magic Eraser? Go very gently with just a corner over the crayon area. It is like super-fine sandpaper, so it will wear away the paint if she’s not careful, but if she goes slow with a very small piece she might be able to get just the crayon without the paint underneath it/around it.

Does your co-worker live in or near a big city? If so there’s probably at least one art restorer. I’d think this is a situation where it’s time to call the professionals.

When it comes to stuff that’s really important, the most useful tool is usually the checkbook.