Mod Podge is a glue and sealant, designed for découpage art but used for many different arts and crafts. Mod Podge holds a special place in the hearts of many artists across the world. Let’s take a look at how it works and what makes it so great.
Developed as a glue and sealant for découpage, Mod Podge has grown over the years to become one of the most used and beloved brands in the arts and crafts community.
Mod Podge can be used as an adhesive, as a sealer, and as a protective finish for just about any arts and crafts material you could think of, including Paper, Card, Fabric, and even Wood.
It can be used to adhere materials to almost any surface, or to provide a protective coating or sealing coat to protect your art.
Mod Podge goes on opaque, but dries completely clear, providing a durable finish. It’s safe and non-toxic and can be easily cleaned up with only water, making it perfect for arts and crafts, schools, and kids as well as adults
It’s available either as a matt or as a gloss finish, and there are some specialized versions available for specific purposes, such as an outdoors version and a dishwasher safe version.
Pros and Cons:
- Dries Clear
- Completely safe and non toxic
- Works on any porous material
- Easy to apply
- Water resistant
- Available in several finishes
- Good value
- Safe for Kids
- No nasty fumes
- Very strong (on porous materials)
- Limited adhesion on many materials
- Not suitable for outdoors use
- Kind of pricey compared to regular PVA
Mod Podge is a PVA glue, similar to white school glues and wood glues, but with a much higher water content.
For this reason, it has the same benefits, features, and limitations as many other PVA-based glues.
Strong Bond & Protective Layer
Once Mod Podge is applied, it forms a bond that is much stronger than the material it’s bonded to.
If used as a sealant or finishing coat, it forms a strong, protective layer over the top of your art, model, or diorama which will prevent any accidental rips or tears and make it super easy to get rid of any dust or dirt afterward.
A layer of Mod Podge will protect against splashes (as long as you wipe it up quickly) but it’s not fully waterproof unless you use one of the new waterproof versions (Mod Podge Outdoors or Mod Podge Dishwasher-Safe)
Safe and Non-Toxic
Mod Podge is certified food-safe and non-toxic. It’s perfectly safe for young kids, in schools, or by adults in situations where food may be involved.
Mod Podge doesn’t give off any harmful fumes and doesn’t have a strong smell, even when it’s wet.
Both the Matte and Gloss versions of Mod Podge are white and opaque when they are applied, but become clear/transparent once they are dry.
For best results, apply in thin layers, allowing each layer to dry before applying the next. See the instructions below for more info!
How to use Mod Podge
Mod Podge is just like any other PVA glue, except it’s a bit more watered down, so it needs to be applied in thin layers.
1: Prepare the surface you are going to bond
Make sure the surface is clean, dry, and doesn’t have any dust, oil, or grease – which may weaken or prevent the Mod Podge from forming a strong bond.
2: Shake the bottle or mix well before use
Mod Podge has a lot of water in it, if your bottle has been stored for a long time it may settle a bit, so make sure to give it a good mix or shake before you use it.
3: Apply the Mod Podge with a brush, sponge or roller
One unfortunate thing about mod podge is when it dries, you can often see the brush strokes left by the paintbrush in the finish. Sometimes this looks good, but sometimes you want a more smooth finish.
You can achieve a smoother finish easily by using a sponge applicator or a roller applicator, or by using an old credit card to apply it.
Make sure you only use thin layers of Mod Podge, especially if you are using it over Paper or Fabric, otherwise it may wrinkle your art project.
4: Depending on your project, you may want to add a coating
You can use Mod Podge to glue materials together, and also to give a protective clear coating over the top of your finished art.
If you’re applying a clear coating, make sure you let the coat underneath dry first!
5: Clean up any spills or excess before storing
Mod Podge can be easily cleaned up with a damp rag while it’s still wet.
Clean up any spills from your project and working space with a damp rag, and make sure the cap is clean and free from any glue before you put it back on in case it gets stuck on!
Store the Mod Podge in a cool, dry place.
What Materials does Mod Podge work on?
Mod Podge works on any porous material.
Porous materials include wood, fabric, cardboard, felt, pottery, ribbon, etc.
Depending on what you’re using it for, Mod Podge may also be useful for other materials. If you’re using it as a sealant to cover up decoupage, it will be fine if there are little bits of non-porous materials like glitter, metal, or plastic in there, since the seal will bond with itself and hold the piece in place anyway.
Mod Podge works on:
But not on:
Every Type of Mod Podge Explained:
There are two basic Mod Podge finishes – Matte and Gloss.
They work the same but have a slightly different finish once dry. There are actually several other types of Mod Podge which are lesser-known, but just as useful!
Here’s a brief explanation of each one and what they are good for.
Mod Podge Everyday Formulas:
These are the standard mod podge formulas. They work as a glue, sealer, and/or topcoat for your art projects and have been known and loved by artists worldwide since the 60s! The only difference with these versions is the finish once it’s dry.
Mod Podge Matte:
The original Mod Podge has a matte finish for a flat look once dried. If you apply with a brush, the brush strokes may still be visible.
Mod Podge Gloss:
This Mod Podge is great when you want a glossy look to your projects. Brushstrokes are usually visible with Gloss unless you use a sponge applicator.
Mod Podge Supergloss:
This version is like the regular Mod Podge Gloss version, but more shiny and reflective once it’s dry. It creates a thick glass-like finish and does a good job of hiding any brush strokes.
Mod Podge Satin:
Satin Mod Podge dries smooth and soft to the touch. It also does a great job at removing brush strokes, and it’s perfect for collages and home decorating.
Mod Podge Ultra Matte Chalk
The most Matte finish available. Hides brushstrokes well, great for wall art.
Mod Podge Specialist Formulas:
These are versions of Mod Podge which have been specially formulated to give them some additional property that the everyday Mod Podge versions don’t have.
Mod Podge Furniture:
Mod Podge Furniture is great for furniture, bookshelves, and tables. It has a harder, more durable finish than the everyday Mod Podges and is available in Satin, Matte, and Gloss.
Mod Podge Hardcoat:
Hardcoat is similar to Furniture Mod Podge, in that it’s more durable than the everyday Mod Podges. It’s perfect for small decor items that get handled a lot. It’s great for notebook covers and jewelry boxes.
Outdoor Mod Podge:
Outdoor Mod Podge is perfect for use outdoors as well as indoors. It is completely waterproof and resists all manner of weather including UV light, rainfall, and freezing temperatures.
Outdoor Mod Podge works on some additional materials including Slate, Terracotta, and some Metals.
Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge:
Just as the name suggests, this Mod Podge is water and heat resistant, making it possible to wash your decoupage items in the dishwasher, or by hand. The water will not cause this version of Mod Podge to degrade.
All versions of Mod Podge are also non-toxic and food-safe so you don’t need to worry about putting it in your dishwasher.
Mod Podge Specialty Surface Formulas:
These two versions of Mod Podge are specially designed for Fabric and Paper.
Mod Podge Fabric Formula:
Mod Podge Fabric is designed to allow you to attach Fabric to other Fabrics.
It also works great for applying Fabric to Wood, Metal, or other surfaces.
It’s permanent once cured.
Mod Podge Paper:
Mod Podge Paper is only for projects where you are applying paper to paper.
It’s available in both Matte and Gloss.
It’s acid-free, it’s perfect for card making, gift wrap, collage, scrapbooking, etc.
Mod Podge Fancy Top-Coat Formulas:
These formulas create special effects on the top of your projects.
They work just the same as other Mod Podge variations, just brush on where you want the effect!
Sparkle Mod Podge:
Sparkle Mod Podge is infused with glitter.
Anything you coat with this version will have a subtle glittery shine to it.
Can be applied to a specific area or used as a topcoat for your entire project.
Mod Podge Extreme Glitter:
Like Sparkle Mod Podge but with even more glitter!
Apply several thin layers to your project for the best results.
Mod Podge Chalkboard:
Mod Podge Chalkboard does exactly as the name suggests.
This awesome formula will turn any surface into a chalkboard, which can be decorated with chalk and wiped down with a damp cloth.
It remains clear, so you can still see whatever decoration is underneath. Much better than a boring black chalkboard!
Mod Podge Antique:
Antique Mod Podge creates an aged vintage look for your projects.
The more thin layers you add, the more aged your finished project will look!
Mod Podge Pearl Finish:
Pearl Mod Podge gives a classy, pearly sheen to your projects.
It’s perfect for wedding invitations and fashion projects.
Glow in the dark Mod Podge:
This stuff is awesome!
Anything you apply this to will have a light green glow when you put the lights out.
This is perfect for decorating kids’ rooms, Hallowe’en decorations, and science fair projects.
One awesome idea is to brush a little of this onto your light switches at home, so you can find them in the dark!
What is Mod Podge made of?
Mod Podge is a thin PVA glue. The main ingredient is PVA (Polyvinyl Acetate)
Can I buy Mod Podge in Bulk?
You can buy the regular Matte and Glossy versions of Mod Podge in gallon bottles!
This is a great option for regular crafters, artists, or schools who will go through it quickly.
Should I use a Brush or a Sponge with Mod Podge?
Most versions of Mod Podge leave visible brush strokes in the finished product.
This is useful for artists and crafters because they can make the surface come out however they want, but sometimes you may just want a smooth surface with no strokes visible.
For this purpose, you can use a sponge applicator. Mod Podge sells their own version of sponge applicators, but you can buy a generic one on Amazon for a better price.
Experiment with different applicators to find the finish you’re looking for.
Some versions of Mod Podge (such as the Satin version) do a pretty good job at hiding the brush strokes anyway, so you can go ahead and use any method you like for applying.
Does Mod Podge work on Canvas?
Mod Podge is great for bonding and sealing canvas, it will be able to stick any porous material to your canvas and provide a protective coating over the top.
Mod Podge Drying Time / Curing Time
PVA isn’t known for its quick curing times, however, if you are using a very thin layer of Mod Podge for decoupage or crafting, it won’t take too long to dry.
After about an hour, it will feel dry to the touch (though it may still be wet underneath if you used a thick layer) however as with all PVA glues, it will take between 24-48 hours to fully cure, depending on the amount of glue you used, the material you used it on, and the temperature and humidity of your working environment.
Can I use Mod Podge for Exterior Projects?
Standard Mod Podge is unsuitable for exterior projects, however, Mod Podge does produce a variation called Mod Podge Outdoors, which is completely waterproof and won’t break down when exposed to rain, sun, or freezing temperatures.
Does Mod Podge work on Glass?
Despite what some bloggers might tell you, the unfortunate truth is that any PVA-based glue like Mod Podge is not going to adhere well to Glass or any other non-porous material.
If you’re working with Glass, consider a Cyanoacrylate or Polyeurathane based glue instead.
Can I use Mod Podge to repair or create Puzzles?
Mod Podge works great as a sealant!
If you have a jigsaw that’s seen better days, a coat of Mod Podge will bring it back to life.
One popular craft for kids is to create their own jigsaw puzzles with cut card, sealed with Mod Podge or PVA glue.
How to make Mod Podge at home
Many people swear by Mod Podge and INSIST that you can not make it at home.
Does the Mod Podge brand have its own proprietary ingredients? Sure. Every glue manufacturer has their own ingredients which they don’t need to share with the public, as long as the ingredients they use are non-toxic.
I won’t go as far as to say you can make an exact copy of Mod Podge since they are a brand after all with their own processes and ingredients, but you can make something that is chemically and functionally very similar, just with plain old PVA and water.
School teachers and crafters have been using PVA and Water for years as a protective coating. No one brand has a monopoly on decoupage, in spite of Mod Podge’s loyal following!
Is Mod Podge non toxic?
Yes, Mod Podge is completely food-safe and non-toxic.
It’s safe to use around food, safe to use around pets, and safe for kids to use.
It doesn’t give off any nasty fumes or odors.
How to remove Mod Podge?
Mod Podge can be easily cleaned up with soap and water.
Unless you use one of the waterproof versions (dishwasher safe Mod Podge or Outdoors Mod Podge) it will come off even once it’s dry, but be careful not to damage your surface.
Will Mod Podge come out of clothes?
Yes! Mod Podge is very easy to remove from clothes, just put it in the washer.
Safety Data Sheets
Mod Podge is created by Plaid, who has published a material safety data sheet for each of the Mod Podge products.
Click here to view the rest of the Mod Podge safety data sheets.
Is Mod Podge good for making Slime?
Mod Podge is quite thin, and also quite expensive!
You would be better off with a regular white PVA glue like Elmer’s for making slime.
Elmer’s also sell activator liquids to turn any PVA into slime.
Mod Podge vs Elmer’s Glue?
Both Mod Podge and Elmer’s are PVA adhesives, the main difference is the viscosity.
Elmer’s is thicker, while Mod Podge is thinner.
Elmer’s sell many multicolored glitter-infused color-changing glow-in-the-dark glues too, just like Mod Podge, check out the Elmer’s store on Amazon for more info.
Is Mod Podge Waterproof?
The regular Mod Podge options aren’t waterproof.
If you need a waterproof version, consider buying the Dishwasher Safe version, or the Outdoors version.
For more information, click here to check the Mod Podge customer reviews on Amazon.