Multi Media Materials – This Month: Mod Podge

As an artist you are probably interested in finding out about new (or new to you) materials. Regardless of the ideas and concepts in your work, you may want to explore them using a variety of materials to keep your art practice exciting!

Each month I will focus on a new material. As an art teacher I am constantly trying new techniques, using materials in new ways and encouraging my students to experiment.  I also encourage you to post pics of your own work created with the highlighted material or technique, ask questions, suggest future materials and add your own knowledge and experiences with materials.

The Handmade Philly Book Exchange has reignited my love of materials, and given me the chance to revisit some of my favorite art making tools. (check out the link to learn more about the book exchange!)

This month, for my first post, I’ll focus on Mod Podge. Many of you may already know about this collaging, gluing, sealing water-based finish; but if you don’t now is the time to start something new!

Material of the Month: Mod Podge

Where can I get it?: usually found at Michael’s or an equivalent craft store

The Basic How To:

Matte Surface Mod Podge

Mod Podge is a non-toxic thick white liquid resembling Elmer’s Glue; it comes in Matte and Gloss and should be applied with a brush. One word on brushes and Mod Podge — if you don’t wash the brush REALLY WELL after use, consider them history. Some people prefer to use one of those cheapy foam brushes just for this reason, I on the other hand, like a medium sized flat brush. But really, both work well.

1. make sure the area you are collaging is clean – although Mod Podge goes on opaque and white, it dries clear – dust, dirt, cat hairs in the mix will show. (I know this from experience!)

2. Brush the Mod Podge onto the surface you are collaging, use a thin, even layer – a little goes a long way

3. place the item on top of the thin layer of MP.

Mod Podge works best with paper or other porous materials (you can collage thicker paper too – just use the MP to glue the item in place first)

4. brush another thin layer on top of the item, paying careful attention to the edges. If you want the piece to be sealed (perhaps you are saving a puzzle or want a sold smooth surface) push a little extra Mod Podge under the edges – since the material dries clear you can build up a little extra around the raised edges.

a medium sized flat brush works perfectly

With each additional piece brush a little more Mod Podge onto the surface – then the collage material, then a thin layer on top.

push a little extra MP under the raised edges of your pieces

5. If bubbles form smooth them out with your brush or your fingers, be sure to do this while the Mod Podge is still wet. Another method of smoothing is to use a piece of mat board or smooth cardboard (not corrugated) to smooth out any bubbles. Run the edge of the cardboard over the collaged paper forcing any extra glue out from the edges. As the MP dries, bubbles tend to reduce and flatten out.

6. Allow the surface to dry. This can take anywhere from 20 – 30 minutes. You can apply a second coat over the whole thing to be sure it is well sealed.

*Helpful Hints*

- Glossy Mod Podge can be applied over Matte to create a shiny surface even if you used Matte to create the collage – and vice versa.

- Don’t have any Mod Podge?  Acrylic Gel or Matte Medium (that you would add to your acrylic paint to thin it) are very similar and will do basically the same thing. These materials have more water in them so they tend to wrinkle a little more than MP – but absolutely work in a pinch.

- Mod Podge is for use on indoor projects – water, like rain and humidity – will make the surface sticky.

- When Mod Podging the pages of a book, allow them to dry for a few days before closing the book

- When collaging thick pieces, remember to push a little extra MP under the edges and around the edges, it’ll dry clear.

a thicker piece of paper with the edges sealed

- Again, a little goes a long way – too much Mod Podge will peel – if this happens, just apply more MP over the surface!

- Get creative! Try Mod Podging natural objects, photographs, receipts, movie tickets, etc!

Next Month: The Truth About Pencils and Erasers.

By MaryJo Rosania-Harvie, who loves the smell of new art supplies and lives and works on her art in New Hope, PA.

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44 Responses to “Multi Media Materials – This Month: Mod Podge”

  1. JenMcCleary

    I heart Mod Podge!

  2. Christy aka Mamarazzi

    You’ve inspired me to break out the Mod Podge again, I haven’t created anything with that in a long time. Thanks for the post!

  3. Raul

    This is something new to me. Always nice to find out something new.

    http://www.wutevs.wordpress.com

  4. lenanozizwe

    Of late I’ve taken to sewing and baking but I guess it’s time for me to break out the Mod Podge again as well.

    http://lenanoziwe.wordpress.com

  5. CrystalSpins

    This reminds me of the first time I discovered tacky glue — I was sticky for months!

    Crystal
    http://www.crystalspins.com

  6. Elizabeth

    love Mod Podge! I use it for everything!

    http://blameitonthecoffee.wordpress.com/

  7. Irene

    OMG, Haven’t they changed the label on that stuff yet? That’s the same label they’ve been using since the 70’s! My MOM used to use that stuff for decoupageing pictures of birds – in the 70’s!

  8. flinchytheclown

    I used Modge Podge to stick ripped pieces of multicolored tissue paper to my dresser, it looked great!

  9. Chris

    I love the typography on the label!

    Chris
    http://dailyjobfinder.wordpress.com

  10. courbebleue

    My paintings are made basically with acrylic matte medium for collages at start, you can see some of my work here : Mes peintures / My paintings on the left menu. http://courbebleue.wordpress.com

  11. Kim

    I loved your picture of the Mod Podge. I laughed out loud and thought of the classroom. Love the Mod Podge and am looking forward to using your new tips with my students. I have never tried leaves!

  12. leyla

    I have a post on mod podge scheduled to go up in a few days…great minds, maybe?

  13. maria guzman

    wow, I was JUST trying to figure out how to collage my dresser with newspaper/colorful cardboard paper…i hope this works! great site-i will pass this on to friends in Philly.

  14. Carebear

    Now I can’t wait to get off of work and go find me some of that so that I can get lost in being creative tonight! :) Thanks!

  15. Brooke

    I’m a big fan of Modge Podge. As a broke sorority girl in college, I crafted several things while others purchased and Modge Podge was a go to. I prefer the sponge brushes though; cheap and can just toss them afterwards. No cleaning necessary.

  16. interpretartistmama

    Just recently discovered Modge Podge, and used in to make a great antiqued table, here . I’m also very excited about discovering its many uses :) Thanks for the post!

  17. Vodka and Ground Beef

    Cool. I’ve never even heard of this.

  18. MaryJo

    thanks everyone!! I knew Mod Podge was a winner :)

  19. agirlajeepandahouse

    I think the last thing I made was covering a pot for a plant with decorative paper. Still after all the years that I have it, it looks good. I think I need to do some more crafting with MP.

  20. goatgirlbookworm

    Hi! Just thought you might find this recipe for homemade Mod Podge interesting: http://workinwithkids.wordpress.com/2010/05/25/mod-podge-recipe-make-your-own/

  21. Kelly

    I love using Mod Podge in my collage artwork. Word of advice though if anyone plans on taking photographs of their work later on … use the matte – not the gloss – because the gloss does indeed make the surface rather shiny and your photographs will include a not-so-nice flash bounce from the flash of your camera. I speak from “terrible photo” experience!

  22. anne onsoien

    Wow, I was looking for something like that! Thanks:-)

  23. catsrgods

    I had forgotten how useful MP is. Thanks for reminding me!

  24. missavogue

    I bought 2 things of Mod Podge (Matte and Glossy) recently and had no clue what to do with it. I used it on a glass vase to give it a little texture but that’s all I came up with. Thanks for the ideas. :)

    Melissa
    http://pinkspilledpaint.wordpress.com

  25. ErinHillArt.Travel Journal

    Hi from Australia. Found you on ‘Freshly Pressed’ and most interested to see if I can get Mod Podge here.
    Cheers, Erin

  26. heidihugs

    Mod Podge is one of my fav mediums. I have used it a lot in the past including creating an entire hope chesst covered in fashion magazine images! I love Mod Podge!

  27. IAFN

    We just used Mod Podge on Sunday to decorate my daughter’s bike. My mother-in-law uses it to make these awesome rolled paper beads.
    The fun is never ending!
    K of IAFN

  28. The Kitchenette

    Great post! I had heard of Mod Podge but hadn’t ever used it. Now I know how!

    One question – Is there a similar material that will be water-proof (i.e. not get sticky in water)?

  29. Rachel

    Couldn’t live without the Mod Podge!!

  30. kayemgi

    Finding your post on Freshly Pressed was serendipity for me…I was just wondering about how to use Mod Podge! Thanks for the informative post.

  31. paulasparadise

    Great post — learned a lot from the comments too — many thanks!

  32. greeneyedgirl

    I LOVE Mod Podge! I’ve been using it for years – it was a teenage staple for me when I had to “personalize” everything. I recently got it out to make my happy birthday banner for my daughters 1st birthday – I can’t wait for her to be old enough to appreciate it’s possibilities :) Thanks for the post!

  33. sociosound

    Will try this out soon. I’m collaging a coffee table soon. Thanks for the information. Congrats on being freshly pressed. I really enjoyed this post so I’ll be subscribing to your feed. Good luck!

    http://sociosound.wordpress.com

  34. vijay

    This name sounds a bit weird.. Is it any different from what is being widely known as glue?

  35. MaryJo

    @ The Kitchenette – I am not sure if there is a waterproof equivalent that isn’t varnish…although you probably could mod podge your piece then vanish or polyurethane over it. I would do a test piece first.

    @vijay – MP is different then glue – it has a different consistency…regular white glue will wrinkle the paper. A few posts up someone gave a link to a Mod Podge recipe using glue – that require thinning the glue and adding varnish. “Mod Podge” is just a name…incidentally, my students LOVE that name…we pronounce it all different ways so it provides classroom entertainment :)

    thank you everyone for the awesome comments!!

  36. cixass

    congratulations acquainted awaited return visit

  37. craftshopdsm

    Loved the Mod Podge on the bike idea – Like everyone else – I’m so happy you posted this – so many interesting uses/ideas – thanks!!

  38. irenegeller

    Ooo, glad I found your blog! I adore every bit of mixed media materials I can use, so I’ll be sure to keep an eye out for your advice :)
    I don’t have modge podge, but I do have acrylic gel- I’ve used to make color paper transfers (somewhat messily, haha)

  39. Artswebshow

    this is a great idea

  40. Kernball

    I NEED A MOD-PODGE EXPERT:
    I just finished a big project where we collaged 400 children’s laughing faces and silly jokes onto 10(cleaned/sanded/painted black latex) tables and chairs that we got from Goodwill and other Thrift stores. The photos were taken digitally, then photoshopped into black-and-white and printed with Epson ink-jet inks on Epson Photo Quality Ink Jet Paper. The furniture looks GREAT with two coats of matte Mod Podge.
    HERE’S MY QUESTION:
    Do we really need some kind of clear acrylic sealer? And if so,
    How long do we need to wait before applying a sealer?
    I spoke to the manufacturer and they said 4 weeks. Really?? Or are they just being hyper-conservative? Is two weeks enough? The manufacturer said since it dries from the top down, if you trap moisture in before it’s completely cured then you could possibly get cloudy areas! Oh the horror! They’ve been drying for one week already and are scheduled to be auctioned off this weekend!! I don’t want to go around to the homes of the auction winners to put a sealant on!
    She also said ink jet ink and paper would go runny and it did not, it was fine.
    She said Mod-Podge is only for looking at, not for handling. What does that mean? What happens to the arm or seat of a wooden chair that’s been collaged that gets handled??
    Help, and Thanks,
    Kernball

    • lanai

      You will be ok.. Ive used it on my bike, which gets lots of wear and tear, and its still fine. You can put on clear spray paint as soon as a day and that lasts!

  41. Janice

    Im so sorry to say this. I have used mod pog and to me it was horrible. I used a brush on the paper to seal it and it shows the lines from the brush No matter what I did. I tried a thin amout and large amount and it was always the same. I used it under glass to seal an image, it never dried and I could pull the paper rite off. Under the glass it always stayed milky and wet. So I wish I new the secret that ever one claims about this mod pog.

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