I'm really excited to write this article about the Mod Podge Hard Coat formula! Since I first started my decoupage journey eight years ago, this has been one of my favorite formulas. I know . . . I say that about all the formulas. But seriously, this one is perfect when you need a DURABLE finish for any sort of project that might get a little more wear and tear than average.
So what exactly does that mean?
Well, let's say you make a piece of decoupage wall art. You hang it on the wall and it doesn't get handled much. Or maybe you decorate bookends and they'll just be sitting on shelves. In either of those cases and for similar projects, you'd just need Gloss, Matte, or Satin (depending on the finish you prefer).
But sometimes you need something tougher.
Maybe you're covered wood blocks with fabric and they'll be handled by your children. Or you're Mod Podging a glasses case that you will open and shut every single day. Or you want to put fabric on a bookcase in your kid's playroom and you know it needs to withstand some wear and tear. That's when you would use Hard Coat! It is a step above basic Mod Podge . . . it's tougher.
Mod Podge Hard Coat is a Satin formula (so in between Gloss and Matte). Gloss is shiny – very reflective of light. Matte is flat. The way that these Mod Podge formulas work is nearly the same as wall paint in terms of the sheen and how it is described. So what THAT means is that Satin is in between Gloss and Matte. It's not quite shiny . . . but it's not flat either.
I think the best way to describe it is with a visual. Let me show you:
Not only does this formula have a slight sheen – but it feels “soft” and smooth to the touch too. That doesn't mean it doesn't dry or that it is soft like a blanket . . . you just have to try it and touch it to know what I'm talking about. This formula is VERY durable.
Cathie and Steve address this formula (amongst others) in the following video:
Questions About Mod Podge Hard Coat
1. What is the difference between Mod Podge Hard Coat and other formulas? In the world of decoupage Gloss, Matte, and Satin are the basic formulas, with the only difference being the finish when dry. Hard Coat does the same as these formulas BUT it's tougher. It's got a Satin finish, so you can consider it to be a VERY tough version of Mod Podge Satin.
2. How do I know WHEN I should use Hard Coat? Well, there's no hard and fast rule. But I would say if you imagine that the piece will get handled frequently, you should upgrade to this formula from the basic formulas. Of course, you can use this formula on wall art too. Just because you aren't going to handle it all the time doesn't mean you CAN'T use it. I personally use it for anything that's going to get regular usage.
3. How is it different from Furniture Mod Podge? It isn’t. But here’s the thing – Furniture Mod Podge comes in three different finishes, which Hard Coat doesn’t . . . and the Furniture formula comes in larger bottles, because you’re probably going to need a larger bottle for a lot of furniture pieces. This was developed first, then Mod Podge realized people didn't understand that “Hard Coat” meant it could be used on furniture too, so they expanded to Furniture Mod Podge.
4. What surfaces can I use this formula on? Wood, canvas, tin, metal, terra cotta, and more. If fabric is your base, use Fabric Mod Podge.
5. How do I create an ultra smooth finish with Hard Coat? For an ultra smooth surface, apply 4 to 5 coats of Mod Podge Hard Coat. When applying the coats, brush in one direction then the other and let dry between coats. Wet sand with #400 sandpaper and water. Sand finish lightly until ridges are flat and smooth. Wipe dry. If desired add an additional coat of Hard Coat Mod Podge.
6. My Mod Podge surface is sticky after it dries. What do I do? Hard Coat Mod Podge dries clear with a non-tacky surface. Apply a clear acrylic sealer (either brush on or spray) to the surface after it has cured 4 weeks.
7. Do I really have to wait 4 weeks to use my project?? “Dry” is different than “cured.” The bottle instructs that you wait quite awhile for curing. But your project will dry to the touch in hours. Curing is when the coat reaches its proper hardness, which takes four weeks. It will feel dry the whole time. So as a result, I wouldn't manhandle your projects completely for four weeks until it's full cured.
8. Where can I buy Mod Podge Hard Coat? This is a common selling formula but not as widely distributed as the basic formulas. You'll find it here: Amazon, Walmart, Michaels, Jo-Ann, Hobby Lobby, and AC Moore. If your local store is small or typically has a limited selection, make sure you call before making a special trip!
Are you ready for some project ideas using Mod Podge Hard Coat? Check these out!