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