Reported by Erika Martin
ModPodge might seem so out of date to some people, but it’s one of my favorite staples in my craft room. I really should buy it by the gallon, but I end up buying it in smaller amounts because it’s easier to carry around that way, and I’m always afraid of spilling it (can you imagine the mess of spilling a whole gallon of ModPodge??).
I remember sitting at my desk during art class when I was in grade school. I had a little styrofoam tray in front of me with a big clunky paintbrush. There was a big puddle of ModPodge on the tray and the smell that came up from it was like roses to me. Not that it smelled like roses, but the smell of anything to do with crafting, especially ModPodge, was like heaven to me. Back then, I would coat the palms of my hands with it (and would usually get into trouble with the art teacher because of it) and then I would let it dry and peel it off, feeling like a snake shedding its skin. Of course, I also loved crafting with it.
All these years later, I am still in love with ModPodge. I no longer coat the palms of my hands with it, but I do have a 9-year-old daughter that loves to create with me, so I might just pass that childhood crafting-rite-of-passage off to her. You know…mother and daughter bonding time (pun TOTALLY intended).
Now that I’m older, I have more sophisticated uses for ModPodge, but I still feel just as creative and giddy while using it as I did when I was a kid. And it still smells like crafting heaven to me. I love that ModPodge still uses the same groovy logo on their bottles, which makes me feel like I’m that little kid back in art class in grade school.
ModPodge was created in the 1960s by Jan Wetstone in her garage. The name comes from the term, “Modern Decoupage,” and was created during a time when decoupage was all the rage. Back then, decoupage was a very tedious process including numerous coats of varnish, sanding and lots of time. Jan did some experimenting while in her studio and ModPodge was born.
She offered some ModPodge coated prints in her shop and word got around about her decoupaging secrets and ModPodge was here to stay. It’s one of the most enduring and versatile products in the crafting industry. Jan Wetstone once even decoupaged an entire Volkswagen Beetle using ModPodge and bed sheets!
There are 13 different kinds of ModPodge Brands available on the market, but the Classic ModPodge remains my good old standby for most of my crafting that requires either coating or gluing. I use it even beyond just those needs.
The Classic ModPodge comes in two different finishes – Gloss and Matte. I use both, but find that the Matte finish tends to get more use in my craft room. I just prefer the finish of the matte, but it’s great to have the choice of those two finishes. No matter which finish you’re using, both are a glue, sealer and finish all in one!
The surfaces that you can use the Classic on are numerous! You can use it on wood, canvas, metal, plastic, terra cotta pots, glass….the list goes on and on. You can use it to apply images and to seal them. You can paint on your surfaces and then use ModPodge to seal your images. It’s great for waterproofing terra cotta pots to use outside to protect the painted images from rain and watering your plants.
One of the biggest reasons that I go through a LOT of ModPodge is for gluing. Paper crafting is my all time favorite art love, and ModPodge comes in handy for many of the things that I work on.
When I’m creating altered books, I joke with people that my books end up as half paper and half ModPodge. I use it for so many techniques when I’m working on altering a book.
ModPodge works great as a glue for pages to create “blocks” or “canvases” to create on when altering.
When working with two pages, spread the ModPodge very thin on the pages. Then simply use an old credit card to smooth out the two pages, making sure to work out any bubbles that are in between the pages.
When I work with mixed-media canvases, I use ModPodge as a glue for my patterned papers. I use a very thin layer and it dries really fast. It’s also wonderful to glue down 3-D objects onto a canvas or into a shadowbox.
As I mentioned before, ModPodge is great as a sealer on terracotta pots. When my babies were little, I went through a phase of painting terracotta pots and selling them at the farmers market with herb plants in them. To protect the paint, I coated the pots with a layer or two of ModPodge inside and out. When the plants were watered or put outside in the elements, the paint stayed put and didn’t peel. The pots were sealed tight.
ModPodge also comes in handy when I’m creating shadow boxes in my altered books. Cutting away layers upon layers of book pages results in weak page walls inside the shadow box. I brush on a couple coats of ModPodge around the inside edges of the page walls and it’s sealed and sturdy once it dries.
Because the Classic ModPodge comes in two finishes (Matte or Gloss), you have two great options to choose from when finishing a project.
Once I’ve created a piece of mixed media art, I like to finish them off with a coat of Matte ModPodge.
There are times, after I’ve finished creating in an altered book, that I want to add a finish to either the outside of the book or some of the pages inside. I especially like going over glossy photos with the Matte finish ModPodge if I want to take away some of the high gloss and go for a more subtle finish.
Of course, the art of decoupage is always in need of a finish, and ModPodge works wonderful to finish off a beautiful piece. The great thing about ModPodge is that you get one stop shopping. You can use the ModPodge to glue down your pieces, then seal and finish them all with one product.
I’ve used my ModPodge for techniques other than just as glue, sealer or finish.
One of the techniques I love to do with ModPodge is to use it as a sealer around a large block of pages on an altered book and then speed dry it using an embossing gun. I hold the gun really close to the ModPodge so that it bubbles up as it dries. It creates and bumpy texture that’s look wonderfully aged and old when painted over with gold acrylic paint. Like an old gold-leafed volume from times gone by.
Recently, I mixed ModPodge with PearlEx Powder to color it and then painted it onto a shadow box in an altered book. I used my embossing gun to hold really close to the ModPodge “paint” and the bubbled effect took on the look of the traditional “Heated Pearls” technique.
- Amazing versatility as a glue, sealer and finish all in one product.
- Comes in 13 different varieties to cover all your needs (fabric, classic, puzzle saver, shimmer, etc.)
- Found in most craft and art supply stores – easily available.
- Very inexpensive – roughly $5.50 for a 16 ounce bottle
- Comes in different sizes to accommodate small projects all the way up to one-gallon bottles for large projects and class use.
- When heated with an embossing gun, the smell can create a bit of a “high” so good ventilation is required when using this technique.
- Container can be hard to open, as it’s easy to glue your container shut. Make sure to clean off the rim of the jar well before screwing lid back on. Run under hot water to open if you have any trouble.
- Some of the more specialized ModPodge varieties can be hard to find in craft stores, so you’ll have to order those online.
It’s really hard to come up with any cons for this product as the versatility is so wide!
Where to buy:
- Most craft and art supply stores will carry ModPodge. They may not carry all 13 kinds, but the Classic is usually a given.