You’ve asked it in a few different ways, but the basic question is the same. I’m ready to explain to you with my Mod Podge formula guide – so let’s do this thing. And in case you are wondering if you should make your own Mod Podge, the answer is no. Here’s why.
#1 thing to remember: All Mod Podge formulas are essentially the same in that they can all do three things. They are all good for gluing, sealing and finishing. The finish or use may be different, but they are all capable of those three things. Don’t forget that. Now read on.
Classic Mod Podge: There are 2 formulas that fall under this umbrella: Gloss and Matte. When Mod Podge was developed over 40 years ago, it was started with these two. The only difference between these two is the finish that results when it’s dry. That’s it.
Gloss – Shiny finish.
Matte – Non-shiny finish.
With Gloss I typically hear, “after it’s dry, it’s sticky.” Sometimes I hear that about Matte too. There’s a very simple solution: spray with several coats of a clear acrylic sealer and you’ll be fine. Stickiness be gone! Extra protection too.
Result: great for all types of projects and most surfaces. This is your all-around Mod Podge.
Okay. Now after the two classics were born, the Mod Podge people thought, “What if we developed Mod Podge in different formulas – for specific needs?” So they did. They kept the two classics around, so if you notice that some of these properties overlap with those two classic formulas, you are correct. But think about it – can you really get rid of the original formulas? No way.
Satin Mod Podge: This is the same as the two classic formulas, but the finish is satin. What is a satin finish, you ask? It gives a lustrous, soft appearance somewhere between a matte and gloss. Because it is oh-so-slightly frosted, it shows scratches less than matte or gloss.
Result: great for projects where you want a non-glossy, soft appearance that wears well.
Hard Coat Mod Podge: This formula was specially developed for furniture and other functional pieces. Provides extra protection for projects that are frequently used and handled. It has a satin finish – see above and you’ll understand why. It doesn’t show the scratches like the matte or gloss!
Result: perfect for furniture. It’s the ultimate durable Mod Podge finish.
Fabric Mod Podge: It’s not just wood or paper that people like to decoupage – it’s fabric too! Not only that, you know I love to decoupage fabric TO other surfaces. This formula does both. You can decoupage things to fabric with it, and you can prepare fabric for decoupaging to surfaces by lightly brushing on and allowing to dry before cutting. It eliminates fraying.
Result: Use to prepare fabric for decoupaging to surfaces and for decoupaging things onto fabric.
Paper Mod Podge: A lot of people are confused by this one – can’t regular Mod Podge be used for paper. YES! Here’s the thing though: the Mod Podge people realized that there is a group out there that do more advanced paper projects; scrapbooking to be specific. These people like their projects to be archival, and that means they want their glues to be as well.
Result: Archival quality, keeps photos and papers from yellowing, and extends the life of scrapbooking projects. Comes in a gloss and matte finish.
Outdoor Mod Podge: decoupage + stuff that goes outdoors. . . . = Outdoor Mod Podge? Yes! Protects your decoupage project from moisture and the elements. Great for clay pots.
Result: Pretty simple: anything you decoupage that you want to sit outside. I recommend also sealing with an outdoor sealer for added durability.
Sparkle Mod Podge: Did you know there is a Mod Podge with glitter already inside? Yes. Sparkle Mod Podge contains hologram glitter pieces (rainbow effect) in a gloss base. Use several coats for more sparkle and shine.
Result: Adds glitz to your project in a minimum of one coat. Note that this shows up great on dark surfaces.
Glow-in-the-Dark Mod Podge: Exactly what it sounds like. It’s the gloss Mod Podge with crushed fireflies! Kidding. Anyway, you’ll need to apply several coats for the best glowing effect. I love this stuff for kids’ project and my favoritest holiday in the world, Halloween.
Result: You can’t really see the finish, but it glows-in-the-dark! Expose to light to recharge.
Brushstroke Mod Podge: Are you looking to get the look of a hand painted image without the hefty price tag? Simply paint Brushstroke Mod Podge over the top for a highly textured finish for an artistic look. Comes in Gloss or Matte.
Result: Very textured and dimensional (yet clear) and gives you the look of hand painting.
Kids Wash Out Mod Podge: The standard Mod Podge formulas are pretty tough and not necessarily easy to get out of clothing and off of surfaces. They were meant to be that way! This formula was specially developed so that children can use it – they can spill it on their clothing or furniture without worry. Not that you want to dump it on your couch, but if it gets on there you won’t have a problem getting it off.
Result: A typical glossy finish, but this will wash out of children’s clothing and furniture with ease.
Antique Mod Podge: There are some who love the look of vintage, aged projects that have an antique feel. You can use acrylic paint to get this effect, but it takes a little skill. Antique Mod Podge enables you to get that aged look simply by brushing it on. A slight brown tint is how it works. This formula comes in a Matte finish.
Result: Matte finish with a slightly brown, heirloom look. Ages your projects without the time.
Special Formulas to Know
There are a few special Mod Podge formulas that don’t do the gluing, but they act as special finishes and are complimentary to all of the Mod Podge products above. Here they are.
Mod Podge Super Gloss: You can’t glue with the Super Gloss; the goal here is to get a smooth, epoxy-like finish over a large area. To use, Mod Podge your pieces down with another formula. Then use the Super Gloss over the top. it’s self-leveling and thicker than regular Mod Podge. So it gives you a very shiny, clear finish that looks like epoxy but isn’t (it’s not as thick as Dimensional Magic for those who are wondering).
Result: A super shiny, clear finish that is a little bit more thick than regular Mod Podge.
Mod Podge Dimensional Magic: Traditional resins give you a hard, varnish finish but are toxic and require mixing – not Dimensional Magic! This product adds an epoxy-like finish to jewelry and paper crafts and dries clear. You can layer Dimensional Magic on top of itself (let it dry between layers). This formula comes in Clear, Gold Glitter and Silver Glitter.
Result: Get the look of resin or epoxy without the toxicity and mixing. Dries clear and dimensional.
That should cover it! I want to let you know, as a final word, that ALL Mod Podge is self-sealing. You don’t have to spray it with acrylic sealer. I sometimes recommend it, but that is only for added durability beyond what Mod Podge already offers. If something is going to get used frequently and beat up, then you should also spray seal.