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Mod Podge Formula Guide (Completely Updated!)

This Mod Podge formula guide explains all of the different formulas and how to use them. Updated with all of the new formulas for this year! There’s also a video. Scroll down to see it!

Mod Podge formula guide


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 to get the Mod Podge formula guide – but before you do that, check out this Mod Podge formula guide video!

Mod Podge Formula Guide

Are you ready to check out the Mod Podge formulas? Click on the name of the formula to go to a specific post about it and get sample projects. Let’s dive in!


Classic Mod Podge: Gloss, Matte, Satin

There are THREE formulas that fall under this umbrella: Gloss, Matte, and Satin. When the best decoupage medium in the world was developed over 50 years ago by Jan Wetstone, it started with Gloss and Matte . . . . at a later date, the Satin formula came along. They’re exactly the same minus the finish:

  • Gloss – Shiny finish.
  • Matte – Non-shiny (flat) finish.
  • Satinslightly shiny finish in between the above two.

With the Gloss formula, I typically receive the feedback that “after it’s dry, it’s sticky.” Sometimes I hear that about Matte too. It really depends on the climate you live in, but 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. These are your all-around Mod Podge.

Okay. Now after the three classics were born, the people at Plaid thought, “What if we developed Mod Podge in different formulas – for specific needs?” So they did. Which is why we have a Mod Podge formula guide!

The makers of Podge kept the two classics around, so if you notice that some of these properties overlap with those three classic formulas, you are correct. But think about it – can you really get rid of the original formulas? No way.

Learn all about the Brushstroke Mod Podge formula! Find out what it is, how to use it, and see some unique projects you can make.

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.

Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge Gloss

Dishwasher Safe Mod Podge

You asked for it, and now you finally have it! This dishwasher friendly formula was released in January 2014. It does the gluing, sealing and finishing of regular decoupage medium – but now you can put those items in the top rack of the dishwasher!

You should still keep this formula away from food and your mouth (3/4″ from the top of a glass), but now you can add items to cups, plates, and more . . . and wash them! Gloss finish. It MUST cure 28 days before washing.

Result: Use to add paper or fabric to something you want to wash (top rack dishwasher or hand wash only).

Learn all about the Mod Podge Extreme Glitter formula! Find out what it is, how to use it, and see some unique projects you can make.

Extreme Glitter Mod Podge

Do you want Sparkle Mod Podge on steroids? Because that’s what this is! This formula contains ultra fine glitter and LOTS of it . . . so you wouldn’t want to put it over a paper or fabric where you want to see fine detail.

It looks great on all colors of surfaces but best on anything dark because the glitter really pops. I also love it on glass.

Result: Amazingly glittery finished surface that looks best on dark surfaces. Think “galaxy themed!”

Learn all about the Fabric Mod Podge formula! Find out what it is, how to use it, and see some unique projects you can make.

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. Here are 20 things you can do with Fabric Mod Podge.

Result: It’s main use is to adhere fabric to fabric so that it remains washable. Use to prepare fabric for decoupaging to surfaces and for decoupaging things onto fabric.

furniture mod pdoge

Furniture Mod Podge

This formula is similar to Hard Coat, but developed just for furniture pieces – also just comes in 16 oz. . . because you’re probably going to need more than the standard 8 oz bottle! Comes in Gloss, Matte, or Satin depending on the finish you fancy.

Result: Use for any furniture re-dos that you take on . . . like one of these decoupage furniture projects.

Learn all about the glow in the dark Mod Podge formula! Find out what it is, how to use it, and see some unique projects you can make.

Mod Podge Glow in the Dark

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 favorite-est holiday in the world, Halloween.

Result: You can’t really see the finish when the lights are on, but it glows-in-the-dark! Expose to light to recharge.

Learn all about the Mod Podge Satin formula! Find out what it is, how to use it, and see some unique projects you can make.

Hard Coat Mod Podge

This formula was specially developed to be super tough! Provides extra protection for projects that are frequently used and handled. It has a satin finish, which is somewhere between matte and gloss. It doesn’t show the scratches like the matte or gloss!

Result: perfect for furniture like tables and dressers. It’s the ultimate durable Mod Podge finish.

Learn all about the Mod Podge Outdoor formula! Find out what it is, how to use it, and see some unique projects you can make.

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. While you don’t *have* to, I recommend also sealing with an outdoor sealer for added durability.

Mod Podge Paper

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 gurus 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: Paper Mod Podge is archival quality, keeps photos and papers from yellowing, and extends the life of scrapbooking projects. Comes in a gloss and matte finish.

Mod Podge puzzle saver puzzle glue

Puzzle Saver Mod Podge

You’re probably not going to need an entire 8 oz. bottle of decoupage medium to seal a puzzle – and it might be nice to have a brush included, especially if you aren’t a regular crafter. Great idea, right?

Well, the makers of Mod Podge thought so too, so they put together a little 2 oz. bottle of Mod Podge with a brush on a card. It still comes in an 8 oz. bottle for serious puzzlers. You can use the Classic formulas to seal puzzles too; this was created for folks who aren’t regular decoupagers but still have a need for the good stuff (it’s easy to identify!).

Result: Basic formula with simple Gloss finish.

Mod Podge Sparkle bottle

Sparkle Mod Podge

Did you know there is a decoupage medium 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.

Learn all about the Ultra Matte Chalk Mod Podge - find out what it is, how to use it, and see some sample projects you can make.

Ultra Matte Chalk Mod Podge

You know that chalk paint and finishes are all the rage right now. You can get that smooth, luxurious feel of a finish with this formula.

It’s hard to explain this formula is until you see it with your own eyes, and run your hand along it. I think it’s an amazing finish for furniture, especially a vintage item that you want to protect.

Result: VERY flat (no shine) and soft to the touch. No brushstrokes.

Mod Podge Dimensional Magic package

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 and Glitter (if you can find it).

Result: Get the look of resin or epoxy without the toxicity and mixing. Dries clear and dimensional. Learn about Dimensional Magic vs. Resin.

Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium

Mod Podge Photo Transfer Medium

You can use this formula to create decals or appliques from any original photo. You can also transfer images to fabric or wood. Keep in mind this isn’t clear – so anything you transfer will have a white background.

It takes some practice to use this formula, but once you get the hang of it, there are no limits to what you can transfer! See 30 Mod Podge photo transfer crafts here (most of them use this medium).

Result: A opaque photo transfer with a slick feel to the surface (you can decoupage over the top).

Mod Podge Resin

Mod Podge Resin

This epoxy resin product was released in 2021! It’s not a decoupage medium – it’s a casting resin used to accentuate your decoupage projects or make separate projects such as DIY resin coasters and geode coasters.

Result: Thick, glossy, hard finish that you can use on top of your Mod Podge projects.

Mod Podge Stiffy feature image

Mod Podge Stiffy

I get a lot of laughs about the name of this product, but stiffening fabric is EXACTLY what it does! And I tell you, I love Stiffy. It’s not used for decoupaging or gluing anything down – not a top coat either.

Instead, you simply dip items into Stiffy and it . . . stiffens them. Before you ask why you’d want to do that, check out my doily bowls. I have a lot of projects planned with Stiffy that I can’t wait to try.

Result: Not used for decoupage; instead, used to stiffen (primarily) fabrics into 3D shapes.

Two bottles of Mod Podge Ultra

Mod Podge Ultra

This formula takes your standard decoupage medium to a whole new level! As you can see, it’s in a spray bottle, which I know y’all have been asking about for years. Here are the amazing features.

  • NON-tacky
  • Spray application
  • Multi-surface – wood, fabric, terra cotta, and more
  • Indoor or Outdoor (water resistant and UV resistant)
  • Self leveling, no brush strokes
  • Highly durable!

Result: yes, it basically does everything in a spray. You can brush it on too! Comes in a Gloss or Matte finish.

Special Formulas

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 decoupage products above. Here they are. Some of them are discontinued, but some of you still have bottles floating around.

Mod Podge Clear Chalkboard Topcoat

You won’t be decoupaging anything down with this one – you’ll want to use it on TOP of your decoupage to turn it into a chalkboard! I absolutely love that. Note: you can’t use chalk pens!! Only really chalk.

Result: Clear, matte finish that you’ll be able to write on with chalk (not pens, regular chalk sticks).

Mod Podge Crackle Medium

Add a crackled coat to the Mod Podge on the top of your project. You’ll need to add a contrasting paint color over the top to make it show up – but you’ll like the finished look.

Result: Ultra fine, eggshell crackle.

Sheer Colors

These were new in 2014 and are now discontinued. This is regular Mod Podge, and can do everything that regular Mod Podge can do, but it’s TINTED in colors! This means it’s perfect for coloring mason jars and dyeing glass. Currently you can get this formula in Aqua, Blue, Brown, Green, Orange, Pink, Purple, Red, and Yellow.

Result: Use as regular Mod Podge, but it’s got a tint! Great for dyeing glass, too.

Mod Podge Super Thick 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.

Other Mod Podge Products

The Mod Podge brand encompasses more than just decoupage mediums and special formulas! Here are some additional products that you can find at the craft stores.

Acrylic Sealers: If you need a strong sealer to spray on top of your finished project, these come in Gloss, Matte, Pearlized (which has a bit of shimmer), and Super Gloss.

Mod Podge Tools and Brushes: There are several branded tools and brushes that are specifically designed for decoupage projects: a large and small brush applicator, 7 piece tool set, silicone mat, spouncers, finger caps, professional tool set and more.

That should cover it for the Mod Podge formula guide! I want to let you know, as a final word, that ALL Mod Podge is self-sealing. You don’t have to hit with acrylic sealer. I sometimes recommend it, but that is only for added durability beyond what you already get with the formulas above.

If something is going to get used frequently and beat up, then you should also spray or brush on seal with something additional.

Vivian Robinson

Monday 26th of December 2022

Which Mod Podge should I use over wooden coasters that I have covered with paper napkins?


Saturday 7th of January 2023

I'd use hard coat and then engine enamel after that!

Builder Brian

Sunday 20th of November 2022

I am building some Christmas yard art that utilizes paper patterns on plywood from the 1950's. Which product you recommend for adhering the paper patterns to the plywood? Also - is there a product I could use over the paper patterns to protect them from the elements while outdoors? Thank You!!


Saturday 26th of November 2022

Hi Builder Brian! It depends on how rough the plywood is. If it's really rough, I'd probably use something strong than acrylic and waterbased (which Mod Podge is) - like a really strong spray adhesive. And for Christmas . . . it really depends on where you live. If it's very wet and lots of weather, I'd use something strong from Home Depot like a weatherproof clear acrylic. It sounds like what you're doing requires a product that is a bit stronger than the norm!

teresa liddell

Wednesday 16th of November 2022

I'm worried about using it now! Was about to buy 32oz too - it's sometimes sticky and needs a few coats of acrylic sealer? And the gloss and the matte show scratches? Doesn't sound ideal to me...


Saturday 26th of November 2022

Hi Teresa! Mod Podge is an awesome product despite some of the workarounds. Which you have to do with any acrylic product! Not sure what project you're doing. It's not for every person and every project so it might not be for you!


Sunday 6th of November 2022

Hi there…..I’m trying to make a river bed for a model train. What is the best gloss Mod Podge for being poured 1/8 inch thick?


Saturday 26th of November 2022

Hi Richard! I don't know that any Mod Podge would work. It's not made to be poured in a layer like that. I think you'll want to use epoxy, which you can also mix with color:


Sunday 25th of September 2022

Is Mod Podge acid free?


Sunday 2nd of October 2022

Only the Paper Mod Podge formula! It's low acid though.