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Why You Shouldn’t Make Mod Podge

There are a lot of recipes on the internet for how to make homemade Mod Podge – here are all of the good reasons NOT to do it yourself.

homemade mod podge

I get a lot of questions about how to make Mod Podge, and I’ve seen a lot of it on Pinterest recently, so I wanted to address with a blog post. Interestingly enough, I have been asked these questions for years.

Homemade Mod Podge

I should start by saying this is not a paid endorsement – no person or company asked me to post this, or even knows I’m doing it.

I don’t make money off the sale of Mod Podge. And while my blog might be all about Mod Podge, I get visitors using all types of decoupage mediums.

I just don’t want you to be disappointed. Because in my experience, you should NOT make your own Mod Podge.

The truth is, I’ve gotten MANY e-mails from people (with pictures) who tried to make Mod Podge. These emails ask me why their photo/furniture/gift project is yellowing/flaking/peeling and what they can do.

With further prompting, I find out that they made a glue concoction on their own by adding water to flour, or something along those lines.

Mod Podge is a step above craft glue in terms of the sealing properties. Mod Podge is glue, but it’s also a sealer – and there are varnishes, etc. in the formula that don’t exist in craft glues.

The bonding properties of Mod Podge are way stronger than that of (most) craft or school glues.

Can you use Elmer’s glue instead of Mod Podge?

I get asked this question a lot too. Long story short, the ingredients in Mod Podge are not the same as craft glue, and in 99% of cases are superior. That is why Mod Podge costs more than craft glue.

And that is why it lasts longer and is more durable on projects.

A lot of the homemade recipes take craft glue and dilute it with water, which is just about the worst thing you can do to make a decoupage medium of any sort.

You’re taking a glue that is inferior to decoupage medium and made it even thinner by adding water.

bottle of Mod Podge Gloss and Mod Podge Matte

This is why I receive pictures all the time of ruined furniture or home decor items that didn’t last more than a few years before the paper started peeling off or yellowing BADLY.

In the short term, the projects might seem okay, but over the years, the projects go down the toilet. And then I get very sad emails.

Decoupage medium is more expensive than glue, but you’ll notice on the glue aisle of any craft store that there is a wide range of pricing depending on what the specific glue does. The more specialty the application, the more it’s going to cost.

Mod Podge might be more expensive than glue and water, but the 8 oz. bottle lasts a long time, and you can always use a 40% coupon (do an online search to find them).

Of course I think it’s worth it – but I also have the proof: jewelry, home decor items and furniture that have been around for years and still look as great as the day they were made.

What can be used instead of Mod Podge?

If you aren’t sure where to get Mod Podge, I have a list here. For international distributors, go here.

If you just can’t find Mod Podge where you live, look for PVA glue. It’s about the closest you can get. Frequently craft and art stores have PVA glue, but you may have to call around.

I hope my information here helps. And I hope that if you want the project to last, you won’t take the risk and make Mod Podge – that you’ll use the real thing!

If you’re a newbie or can’t figure out how to get rid of wrinkles, check out my learn-how article and videos. You can also learn about ALL the decoupage formulas in my formula guide.


Sunday 9th of June 2024

This was very helpful. I learned a lot. And I am gonna try making the personalized coaster. I look forward to your posts. Thank you


Tuesday 2nd of April 2024

Hola. Cómo estás? Disculpa que escriba en español pero mi inglés es muy malo. Me mudé de país y no consigo los mismos materiales que en mi país. Acá donde estoy ahora he visto mucho este pegamento. Yo hacía agendas o diarios y para hacer el pegado del cartón con otro material usaba un pegamento bastante fuerte para que estás agendas durarán en el tiempo. Cual de los tipos de este pegamento me recomiendas usar? Muchas gracias de antemano por tu respuesta 🙂


Monday 13th of November 2023

Did Mod Podge stop making the pearly type? I really liked that but I can't find it.

Sarah Kellas

Tuesday 24th of October 2023

No offense, but I graduated magna cum laude with my B.S. in Chemistry from University of Washington and I promise you, "Elmer's Glue" is also a "PVA" glue. There are numerous formulations and brands of PVA glue actually... Being as I am also an avid artist, I fully agree that Elmer's and Mod Podge do NOT function the same when used for decoupage. I simply wish to caution you that, for instance, the local stores where I live (Sitka, Alaska) do not carry Mod Podge, but they carry Elmer's and other PVA glues. If I followed your instructions in the article above, I would be asking for a "PVA glue" and those poor substitutes for Mod Podge would be what I'd be going home with to be disappointed by, inevitable. Perhaps, if you love LOVE Mod Podge as you say, you ought just be suggesting that if it isn't available locally to folks- they need to order in online or if that isn't comfortable for them, perhaps inquiring to see if their local retailers might special order it for them? Hope someone finds this helpful. I'm just saying, there are as many different PVA glues as there are music videos on YouTube and in my vast experience, only one of those is suitable for decoupage and that is Mod Podge. :)


Thursday 21st of September 2023

I recently bought a box of mod podge samples 5 different ones to try ! So looking forward to deciding which one is best !!