Author Archive | Jennifer McGuire

Martha Stewart Crafts Decoupage Glue and Sealer vs ModPodge

I am a hardcore Mod Podge fan. I have used it since I first began to decoupage, and I have always been happy with the results I get from it; plus, I love the retro-style packaging!

I am also a semi-closeted Martha Stewart fan. I check out her blog from time to time and subscribe to both her daily recipe newsletter, and her fabulous healthy living magazine, Body and Soul.

We have different aesthetics, Martha and me, but I do acknowledge and respect her crafty genius.  So you can imagine my confusion and delight the day I made a wrong turn in my local Michaels store and stumbled into: Martha Land! I had no idea she had her own line of supplies.


Feeling guilty for betraying my beloved Mod Podge, I quickly snapped up a basic glue stick and the decoupage medium–and they have sat prettily on my craft table ever since, completely untouched–until now. I figured I’d give it a shot: Martha vs. Mod Podge. I decided to decoupage basic small-diameter wooden discs that will eventually become a pair of earrings, one in my usual way with Mod Podge and one with Martha’s product.


Most of the time I use small, cheap brushes (like the kind that comes in watercolors) I like the precision, control over detail and the fact that if I forget to rinse it afterwards it’s no big deal if it gets ruined. It is a tiny hassle to get up and rinse the brushes, however. For large surfaces I use a big foam brush. The fact that Martha’s medium comes with it’s own brush is a big perk.

I used Mod Podge on the first disc. It smells and looks like basic all-purpose white glue. I like that you can see immediately where you have applied it (though it dries clear). I like to “glue” down the fabric then apply a thin layer on top immediately to seal it all in.


Moving on to Martha: wow–the brush is huge. The medium is thinner than Mod Podge and clear. I assume it will dry shiny–it doesn’t.

I dripped the product all over the sides of the bottle because so much gets on not only the brush but the stem as well. I had wipe off the excess onto the lip of the lid then quicky do the same for the stem to avoid major dripping.


It was hard for me to see where I applied it because it was clear, which was a bummer. The fabric didn’t seem to lay smoothly and started to fray a bit at the edges, which has never happened to me before. It was hard to have much control over the brush and I ended up painting my fingers as well.

By this time the Mod Podge was dry and the disc was ready to get a coat of varnish. (I use Triple Thick) I like being able to tell that it is fabric underneath so sometimes I skip this step, but since this is jewelry I want it to be able to withstand a bit of rain if it has to.


Back on Martha’s end, it seems that the decoupage medium has soaked into the fabric. It looks gummy and very wet still. I start a new project while I wait.

About half an hour later Martha’s disc is all set. I applied a coat of varnish then noticed that the Triple Thick is dry on the first disc so I was able to turn it over and use Mod Podge to attach fabric to the back of it.

I was feeling like it wasn’t very fair to make up my mind after one use so I decided to start a second project, on a large disc. I figured the brush might come in handy on a bigger surface.

I applied the product to the disc then pressed down the fabric. This fabric is 100% cotton instead of jersey like the first project so I thought it would not soak through the way it did the first time.


I was wrong. I got a weird dark patch where it was being absorbed into the cotton. I was hesitant to apply a coat on top immediately because I wasn’t sure if it would ruin the piece.

I work with scraps, which I love. Not only for the eco-factor but also because it forces me to be more creative and use what I have. It also keeps me from making too many of the same thing, if I get stuck on a fabric I love. So I can’t take the chance of ruining a tiny scrap that I can’t replace.


At this point I see that the medium is not holding the fabric to the wood and it is peeling up. I recap Martha and set her back in her spot on my crafting table. I’ll redo this piece with Mod Podge (the saturated spot did dry clear luckily).

*The next day:

I let everything dry over night. The Martha decoupage medium still wasn’t dry and I couldn’t apply varnish and move forward with the construction of the earrings until it was. This morning I went to check on them, the Mod Podge disc was fine and ready to go, the Martha disc had strange puckers and dimples in the fabric.


  • Nice packaging
  • Comes with a brush
  • Made by Martha!
  • Might be good for scrapbookers and other crafters using paper or something thinner than fabric in their work.


  • Doesn’t work at all for what I need it to do. Granted, they don’t list fabric as something that it will be compatible with but it does say “paper…and more” on the label which led me to believe it was a possibility.

Will I repurchase in the future? No. And if I had my receipt, I would be tempted to return it.

Price: for$3.99 for 4oz. (currently 30% off at my local Michaels store)

Label Info:

  • This two-in-one glue and sealer is great for all your decoupage projects.Includes brush applicator.
  • Ideal for decoupage with greeting cards, tissue paper, magazine pages, postcards, stamps, tickets, and more.
  • Non-toxic & acid-free
  • Dries clear

Where to buy: The Martha Stewart line is now carried at Michaels, A.C. Moore and some WalMart stores.

Have you tried any of Martha’s products? What did you think? What is your favorite decoupage medium?

Fabric Butterfly Tutorial

By Jen McGuire

I was very excited to create a butterfly to donate to the Holocaust Museum Houston Butterfly Project. As of this time last year they had already received over 400,000 butterflies. Houston is not very far from my home in Austin, Texas so I am seriously considering a trip to see this amazing exhibit when it opens in 2012.

I recently moved into a new place and my craft stuff, sadly was the last to get unpacked. This project was the first I attempted in my new craft space. At first I felt like my craft mojo just wasn’t flowing. I did everything backwards and in the most difficult way possible. I didn’t start out with a very clear vision of what I was hoping to accomplish. I should have sorted through my stash more, pulled some swatches and sketched it out first, but instead I just went for it.

Happily, in the end I really like the finished project. Here is how I made it:


  • Fabric–I used new heavy weight cotton for the background and a heavier weight fabric from a thrifted dust ruffle. I had originally planned on doing a collage and using lots of fabric scraps but I really liked the pattern of the ruffle and thought it made a nice butterfly.
  • Embroidery floss, needle–Optional, however I found the no-glitter rule to be very hard so I felt like I had to spruce up my butterfly where I could, and I’m really into embroidery right now so it finds it’s way into everything I make now.
  • Freezer paper or embroidery hoop: I decided last minute to use embroidery on my finished butterfly so I used freezer paper to stabilize my fabric enough to embroider without a hoop. If you think ahead, a hoop would be easier.
  • Pellon Wonder Under Extra Strong Paper-Backed Fusible Web
  • Scissors, pinking shears
  • Iron, board and pressing cloth: Trust me, you need a pressing cloth so that the gummy fusible web doesn’t get on your iron or board and to ensure that your fabric doesn’t scorch.
  • Ruler

How To:

Measure your background fabric to make sure to stay within the proper guidelines (no larger than 8″x10″) then cut with pinking shears to the proper size. I wanted to keep things fairly simple but other options would be to sew or serge the edges instead. But, I really like the way a pinked edge looks. My butterfly is roughly 8″x9″.
Draw your desired butterfly shape. I am a fan of symmetry but have a hard time creating it so I drew the left side, cut it out and folded it over to trace the right side. I chose a simple outline but the possibilites are endless, I originally thought a butterfly on a flower would be nice but I wanted it to be bold so I skipped the flower.
Trace the butterfly onto the fusible web, iron onto a piece of fabric big enough to accomodate it, then cut the butterfly shape out of the fabric and iron onto the main fabric following the manufacturer’s directions.
I drew two words: “love” and “hope” above and below my butterfly. This is optional, you can stop after applying the butterfly if you do not wish to add embroidery.
If embroidering, either iron on a stabilizer (such as freezer paper) or put the fabric into a hoop.
After I embroidered the words I did a freehand outline around the butterfly using floss that matched the darkest color in the fabric, but again, the possibilities are endless.
Tear the freezer paper away from the back of the fabric. I gave my finished project a quick press on both the front and back. I know many stitchers do not iron the front of their projects so they do not flatten the stitches but I thought it made this project look a bit crisper.
That’s it! Let me know what you think about my butterfly and be sure to send me a link if you choose to donate a butterfly to the museum.
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Book Review: Sublime Stitching: Hundreds of Hip Embroidery Patterns and How-To

Please welcome Jennifer, of Mama Sings the Blues, in her first article for Craft Critique!

Reported by Jennifer McGuire

I am lucky to live in Austin, Texas–a crafting wonderland thanks to the efforts and creativity of the Austin Craft Mafia.

I have lived here for five years now; when I arrived I was in a monogamous relationship with knitting, but over the years I have been greatly inspired by the rad crafty ladies I have encountered here and have substantially branched out.
My latest obsession is embroidery and it took me by surprise. I never really thought it held any interest for me and had written it off as a medium I wouldn’t pursue. Every how-to I came across, no matter how “modern” left me baffled and uninspired.
It wasn’t until I visited ACM member Jenny Hart’s website that I realized what the problem was: I’m left-handed and no tutorial I’d seen had ever addressed that, but Jenny does (are you reading this, Obama?)
I was so excited to feel the “click” of understanding and the thrill of learning a new, fun art. Since then I have gotten her book Sublime Stitching : Hundreds of Embroidery Patterns and How-To and the Daniel Johnston Artist Series Pattern set from her website.
After reading her book and practicing the stitches she teaches (including one she invented, the twinkle stitch!) I was confident enough to tackle a few larger projects including a pillowcase for my brother’s birthday:


  • I love the clear, commonsense directions and the reusable patterns. They are all cute and simple enough to finish fairly quickly and the very first pattern is a stitch lesson, which is really handy.
  • Most of the patterns include several different sizes of the images including cupcakes, tea cups, and kitties to name a few. It also includes banners and a great all-purpose font to help customize any project.
  • I love that the book has pockets on the covers to help store the patterns after they have been used. (each pattern can be used up to nine times then traced onto fabric after that).
  • Another great thing about the patterns is you don’t even have to use them for embroidery. You can use them with paint, fabric markers or even sequins. It’s entirely possible, using these patterns, to bust out a gift for anyone at the very last minute, always a really big plus.
  • Not many that I can see. More advanced stitchers might find some of the patterns too simple, but the huge advantage in my opinion is that every single pattern can be used as a base for any number of designs. You can use just the font and your own images or use an image and embellish it to your liking.
  • The iron-on nature of the patterns was daunting for me at first–I’m a huge fan of the water soluble marker– and I have to admit: I didn’t practice first and ruined a shirt I was working on, which was frustrating (but entirely my fault, Jenny says several times to be careful of that–the ink does not wash out).
Where to Buy:

So what do you think? Have you gotten hooked on embroidery with all the cool modern patterns available? Do you have this book? Leave us a comment and let us know!

Click on the link at the top of the page to visit Craft Critique for comments, giveaways and more!