Saturday, April 6, 2013

Mod Podge -- Expensive Elmer's Glue for decoupage

 Grooovy, but sorry, not rain friendly.
From GypsyPurple

I have a more than abundant fabric collection, so lately I've been satisfying my need to buy ridiculous colors and textures via buying paper.  In a grand attempt to try and figure out what to do with all of this paper (!!) I've perused the foray of paper art tools and have purchased a few of them.

Much of what I've bought is awesome.  A few items leave me cold, and one should be illegal to sell!

I suppose it would be nice to talk about what went well, but more entertaining (for me at least) to rant about what didn't.


So, my first rant is about ModPodge.

In case you' re not familiar, ModPodge is a decoupage glue that brags that it will glue about every material known to man to about every other material known to man.  The idea is that you ModPodge/glue material A to material B and then paint more ModPodge over the materials you've glued in order to seal them into place  -- and also just because you like that 70's tacky look! ;-)  The technique I'm describing is called "decoupage," which is French for "paste like a school child."

I cannot believe I let myself buy this stuff.  I'm having difficulty thinking of any craft medium that is more unforgiving, besides the fact that it's basically Elmer's Glue, with a smelly chemical added to make it seem "serious."  The odor makes you think you're harming your future child rearing potential by using it.  Some say it smells like paste...but no, THAT smell is wintergreen. I would describe the ModPodge odor as, um, "early American nuke".

I might have been better off with this:

 Link to original photo

My basic gripes with ModPodge are that it is both sticky and runny at the same time, dries too quickly, and leaves brush strokes no matter what brush I use -- and always in places where I least want them. In Seattle, Washington, it never dries beyond tacky so that within a day it has dust adhered to it.  Also, it is NOT water proof after drying so if it gets wet it will regress back to white glue.  And the worst of all -- While it promises to work on paper, the result for me looked like I was going for the seersucker wrinkle effect. Of course, if I were TRYING for the seersucker effect, what do you bet that the ModPodge would glue my paper down nice and flat.  Curse you, ModPodge!!!! ;-)! I have pictures that will be forever warped because of ModPodge.  And when I Googled for solutions to these issues, as it turns out we the users are to blame for our ModPodge failures. Who knew? Oh, okay, ModPodge, it's not you, it's me.  As long as we break up, I'm fine with that.

In general, people have a love it or hate it relationship with ModPodge.  The author of ModPodge Rocks has seemingly dedicated her life to it.  I've never seen anything like it.  But her site screams "affil, affil, affil!" (no affil).  What do you bet that the people at "Plaid" are shipping her the stuff by the gallon.

I will allow that folks have done some creative and wonderful things with ModPodge....
From DIYInspired
From Carolyn's HomeWork

 ....wall art

Link to original photo

....but my favorites are the shoes:
From BitRebels

ModPodge Shoes
More ModPodge Shoes
And Oh Man, SOOO many Mod Podge Shoes

Okay, the shoes have put me in a good mood so I don't feel like ranting anymore....

Feel free to let me know how wrong I am in the comments.



  1. Hi Teresa,

    You have the right to love or hate Mod Podge - just wanted to correct you on something. The Plaid folks don't pay me to do the blog nor do they ship me Mod Podge by the gallon. On occasion they let me try some new products, but the bottle I'm using right now was bought by me. Sorry if the site screams "affiliation" to you, but it's genuinely out of a love for the product, and I worked on that site for many years without getting $1. I just love writing and crafting! I would hope that would shine through the site more than anything else, but hey, you can't please everyone, right?

  2. ModPodge was my first decoupage medium as well, because that's what a friend used years ago, and all I knew of. It's not my favorite. I have no problem with it working as a glue, but it definitely does NOT work as a sealer (nor do other decoupage glue/sealer products I have tried). All you said about it in that regard is right on. Use up your podge, but seal it with something else. Also, for the wrinkly paper, if you 1)spray the paper with a sealer before you use it, or 2) podge the item, place the paper on and smooth out, but don't put another coat on top of said paper till it's dry. Either will usually keep the paper from wrinkling. There's also the idea of relaxing your paper in water first. (I first heard this idea from Durwin Rice) Good luck!

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  6. I actually like using mod podge(comes from not playing with glue when I was a kid)but I have found it to be a bit expensive, I found out that mod podge is just Elmer's glue or white school glue watered down 50% glue 50% water so now I make my own some things I let dry completely between coats some I keep tacky so I can shape things. I sometimes use disposable gloves if I am shaping things using paper, as I find that the paper gets too soggy, and bit's of the paper comes off. Jude