Mod Podge Uses: Advice From Our Expert!
This month, we asked our resident crafter, Maz, to share her top tips and expert advice on all things Mod Podge! If you’ve seen Maz’s previous crafty endeavors on the Create and Craft blog, you’ll already be well aware that the lovely Maz is a bit of a Podge pro, and knows exactly how to achieve a super smooth finish, combat lumpy Mod Podge, tackle stubborn post-Podge air bubbles, and lots more besides! Check out her expert advice below, and discover some exciting Mod Podge uses you’ve perhaps never tried before!
Essentially, Mod Podge is a product for gluing, sealing and finishing, which can be used to bond paper and fabric to a wide range of surfaces. This fantastic stuff enables you to take your favourite images from one setting, to a create new designs on another!
When it comes to getting creative with this stuff, your options are almost limitless, as many specialist Podges are now available, making it possible to transfer different types of images to almost any surface, with a variety of eye-catching effects.
Here are some tips I have found helpful for achieving awesome results using Mod Podge…
First: preparation, preparation, preparation! What result do you want? How are you going to achieve it? It’s important to have some goal in mind; often the finished result will be very different from the idea you originally had in mind, but it is important to have a goal to keep you focused! Have your images, project surface, tools and workspace ready before you begin gluing.
Next: protect your work surface. You could use a sheet of plastic, cling film or parchment paper taped in place. Have your tools clean and close to hand (scissors, craft knife, tweezers, toothpick, brushes or foam pads, flexible card/squeegee and brayer, disposable surgical gloves) so that once you begin, you can focus on the just the task at hand!
For images printed on an inkjet printer, spray both sides of the paper with acrylic sealer and allow to dry before cutting out; this prevents the ink from smudging.
Similarly, if the paper your images are printed on is thin, also spray both sides with acrylic sealer before cutting. This helps prevent wrinkles forming when pasting, and also makes cutting out easier.
Cut out images so that no white or background colour shows. Use short-bladed sharp scissors, moving the paper and not the scissors, as you cut. Working under a magnifying lamp makes accurate cutting much easier! Remember to take your time with cutting out – turn it into a relaxing mini-project while you catch up with friends and family, or in front of the telly… it’s great to have a stock of images ready for when the Podging bug bites!
It’s also important to ensure that your project surface is smooth, clean, dry and dust-and-particle-free. Lumps, bumps and uneven surfaces are the enemy – do all you can to avoid them! Complete any repairs, alterations or background colour changes to your project surface before beginning the Mod Podge process.
Using a small dab of Mod Podge or a little mounting spray, lightly position your images into place on your project surface to review your design and make any adjustments… as these become almost impossible after the images are glued down!
Take a photograph of your final design to refer to while you are gluing.
When gluing images down, work in small sections at a time. Apply Podge only to the image being pasted, and the area where it will be placed, using enough Podge to gently slide the image into place easing out any excess Podge, air bubbles and wrinkles in the images with the squeegee and brayer. Then, lightly brush away the excess Podge over the smoothed image, and onto the next spot.
Tweezers and tooth picks are incredibly useful in positioning finer parts of a design.
Remove any build-up of Podge on the squeegee and brayer as you work, to avoid lumps forming as the Podge dries. These can damage your images and/or create an uneven surface.
Use a pin to puncture a fine hole in any stubborn bubbles, to release trapped Podge or air, then smooth with a squeegee or brayer.
Once all your images are glued in position, allow to dry then, using a brush or roller, apply a coat of Mod Podge to the whole surface of the project and allow to dry. Add as many coats as necessary, until you have an even surface and the images have become melded into it. Depending on the nature of the project, this can require anywhere between 3 and 30 coats. Always allow the last coat to dry before applying the next coat; this ensures a clear transparent finish.
Use very fine sandpaper (#0000) to sand down your work between coats when using multiple layers of finish to embed the images into the surface, to give an ultra smooth end-result!
It is important to allow the Mod Podge to cure after completion – the surface should be hard as well as dry to the touch. The curing period can be as long as 25 days when many layers of finish have been added.
Any remaining tackiness can be treated by spraying with acrylic sealer.
Keep a bowl of clean water and a cloth and towel close by, to wipe the paste off your hands and tools as you work. Mod Podge dries quickly, and can soon build up on your tools and hands leaving lumps on, or even damaging, your work.
Decant Mod Podge into a clean, wider necked container for each gluing session as needed. This protects your stock of Podge from any debris that attaches to brushes and tools as you work. This also stops the Podge that accumulates around the neck of the bottle from becoming thick and lumpy.
If your Podge has become lumpy, try straining it through some the fabric of an old pair of tights, attached loosely over a wide mouthed container.
If your Podge container becomes glued shut, soak it in a container of warm water for 10-15 minutes.
And there we have it – everything you need to know to achieve professional quality results every time you use Mod Podge! As you’ve probably guessed by now, we really can’t get enough of the stuff, so there’s plenty of Mod Podge Inspiration all over our blog, including this handy set of Mod Podge FAQs. Did you know that you can even use Mod Podge to transfer photos onto wood? View the step-by-step project right here!
If you need more ideas on what to do with Mod Podge, fear not – we’ve put together our top 10 Mod Podge Ideas right here (and some of them might surprise you!)
Do you have any other advice we haven’t shared here? Feel free to add your own Mod Podge top tips to the comments below!