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Mod Podge Tutorial

Let’s face it. No one looks at a bottle of Mod Podge and feels the need to read the instructions. Myself included. And then we wonder why we can’t get the results we’re looking for! So here I’m going to add some tips and tricks for how I’ve perfected my own technique using Mod Podge to avoid bubbles, warps, tackiness, etc. I hope they help!
The Basics:
First, prep your surface. This isn’t totally necessary, but I’ve found it makes me feel like everything goes together nicer. Simply rough up your surface lightly with a quick once over of sandpaper. No need to spend any serious time doing this, but 3 or 4 swipes isn’t going to make this take any longer than it already would. Especially on smooth plastics or glass.
Using a flat paintbrush or a foam brush (I personally prefer the paintbrush because of the control I get and the ease of cleanup), paint a thin layer of MP onto your prepped surface. Next, paint a thin layer onto the back of the paper you are using to cover your project – by the time you have this layer painted on (do the edges last – they are key to keeping everything smooth!), your layer on your project should be dry to the touch – if not, you probably used too much.Carefully adhere the paper in place on your project and immediately smooth any bubbles or creases with your fingers. KEEP smoothing for a minute or two. This will keep bubbles from forming – use your fingers, use a bone folder, use a brayer, whatever will help make sure the two layers of MP bond together smoothly as they are drying.
At this point, I generally do my trimming or sanding to remove the excess on the edges. My favorite tool for this is those cheap black fingernail files. Once you’re done with this, make sure you wipe off ALL traces of filing dust etc.Apply a thin coat of MP over the top of your paper and allow to dry completely. Even though MP dries quickly, for this step you really need to be sure you’re in a fairly non-humid area and allowing a really thorough dry in between coats. A fan can help too. I’m generally working on several projects at any given time so I’m not as concerned with the time it takes to let one of them dry but if you are in a hurry, it really is worth the extra time to allow about an hour between coats. Building layer upon layer of not quite dry MP is what causes half of your stickiness problems – the other half are caused by humidity! Add as many layers to the top as you’d like – I usually use 3 just for good measure.If you are adding more layers of paper or stickers, they should be added after the first top coat, following the above instructions as if the new addition is your original paper but giving it more drying time as in the final steps. This will allow your project to build up gradually around your extra layers, smoothing everything out without making it sticky.
Using Stickers:
If you are adding a sticker, first remove the stickiness! Seriously – stick it onto some fabric a bunch of times, use Un-du, or dust it with cornstarch or baby powder. Then use the Mod Podge as your adhesive. For dimensional stickers that you want on top, wait until all your layers are dry and then add that sticker last. I usually add a wet adhesive (E6000 is my favorite) just for good measure. I use this for flowers, metal, and any other embellishments I want to not move ever again. It’s goopy, it smells bad, and it WORKS.
Using Photographs:
First, I recommend using the Mod Podge for Paper formula – this one is acid free (and comes in matte or glossy), unlike the original. Also, a big part of how Mod Podge works is that it is meant to kind of soak through the paper. Obviously, this makes photo paper challenging. You will have MUCH better results if you either color copy the photo or print it onto good quality printer paper or thinner cardstock.
Using Rubber Stamps: Mod Podge is a liquid so if your ink doesn’t say “waterproof”, it’s going to smear if you don’t protect it somehow. You can use clear embossing powder and heat emboss the image or you can use some type of a spray fixative (I like Krylon’s matte finish) and wait for it to dry before Mod Podging over the top of it.
Eliminating Tackiness:
Another thing if your project is something like a mini book where the pages will touch – use a spray fixative (matte or glossy) over the final coat of Mod Podge. Dry thoroughly (at least overnight if you can’t give it a few days) before closing the book. Helps eliminate any stickiness that might be left.
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15 Responses

  1. Thank you so much, I seem to be “modge podge challenged” can´t wait to try your tips!!

  2. You’re welcome! Haha – anything I can do to spread the Mod podge love!

  3. Thank you for your tutorial. I am making a clipboard fash8ioned after the one by Cindy Hackathorne in Pinecone Press magazine. I am thinking of skipping the modge podge. Do you feel as if it is necessary. I love your knowledge of scrapping.

  4. I’m glad you liked it, coachwife6! While I’m not familiar with the clipboard by Cindy, here are my thoughts on the subject of clipboards, lol! If it is to be purely decorative or lightly used (i.e. you will have a cardboard-backed pad of paper on it), then by all means, you can skip sealing it. Be forewarned, however, that it will get dirty easily. I’ve done clipboards both sealed and unsealed and honestly, I try to seal them now simply because they wipe clean nicely!

  5. Thanks for getting back with me so quickly. It will be used only as a wall hanging in a coaches office. So, it won’t get dirty. It’s more of a thank you gift. I will see if I can scan it and post it for you to see. Thanks!

  6. I just realized I can’t post a photo of the scan in your blog. LMK if you want me to email it to you. Thanks in advance.

  7. Thank you so much for the tutorial. I ended up making six and not one problem at all because of your suggestions. Thanks a ton!

  8. Thank you this is helped me feel less worried about my project! I am doing a collage of just random things (magazine ads, stickers, drawings, etc.) on paper. Will I be okay to use regular MP on it, or would I be better off with Paper MP? With the stickers,can I just go over them with another layer of MP instead of adheisve?

  9. I seem to have a problem with modpodge tackiness. The project has been drying for several months and still sticks to everything (paper, fabric and cardboard)and leaves fingerprints when held. Will the spray fixitive solve the sticky problem? Help!

  10. Thanks for the wonderful tutorial. I am working on a coat/hat/utility rack that I am painting then want to add scrapbook paper to match my laundry room. Just thought I would try something different like mod podge. If that does not work I’ll scrap it and add material instead or scrap it and just go witht he paint and hooks. lol

  11. Is there a way to remove dried Mod Podge from fabric?

  12. […] there, I followed these instructions from An Altered Obsession for Mod Podging.  Jenna is very thorough in her explanation, and she […]

  13. Hello, I need help, I’m trying to MP vellum paper to glass. Would you happen to have any recommedations on how to keep the vellum paper from wrinkling? Thanks

  14. do you know any way for me to stamp a small image on top of a mod lodged surface? The ink won’t dry but I though maybe a could spray gloss on top of it? What do you suggest?

  15. I had the trouble with modge podge on glass that wrinkled my vellum and I was so frustrated I almost gave up. Then I decided to try and put a very very thin layer of modge podge on the glass then attach the vellum. So far it is looking like it worked amazing. I think the key is a thin layer. Hope this helps.

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