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How to Scan Large Canvas Paintings

I prefer scanning my canvas paintings over photographing, because I find that the quality turns out much better. With the method I use, you can scan some pretty large paintings! You can either watch my video above, or read the summary below!

Where to Scan

The best place that I’ve found to get my painting scanned is the FedEx Print and Ship Center. They will scan it on a flatbed scanner, and as long as the scanner is at least 11″ by 17″, then you can scan a pretty big painting using my method.

Just go into FedEx with a zip drive, and have them scan the painting in two sections, or if it’s too large for that, then have them do four sections. So for example, if I were to get a 14″x18″ painting scanned, I would have them scan the left side, which would be 9″x14″, and then the right side, which would also be 9″x14″, which would easily fit onto an 11″x17″ scanner.

If the painting is larger than that, then you can do four sections, or even more.


I like to get my paintings scanned at 600 dpi, since 300 is a good dpi for print, so that way you can enlarge the artwork a bit for printing if you’d like to. Also, if you have some light areas of your painting, make sure you check when the associate at FedEx shows you on their computer – if the details in the light areas aren’t showing up, you can ask them to mess with the settings a bit. Also, I always have them save the file as a PDF just because that’s cheaper than doing it as a TIFF or JPEG – It’s only around $2 per scan for the PDF.


After you get home, you can bring the scans into Photoshop, or the editing program of your choice, to combine the scans together into one image. The basic process is, you’re going to start with one of the scans, and then add the other scan over top of it. You’ll make that second layer a little bit transparent so you can see where they overlap. Then, you can line them up, and then turn the opacity back up on that second layer.

If you take a look at my video, I’ll show you how to do this step-by-step in Photoshop.


Another thing I like to do to my scans in Photoshop is edit out any specks of dust, random marks, etc. I do this using the clone stamp tool. You can also see a demo if this in my video :)

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