Calling All Mod Podge Experts: Help Me!

by Kimba on April 7, 2009

in Do it yourself

This is only the second time I’ve attempted a project using Mod Podge. And it’s the second time that I’ve been disappointed with the results. What am I doing wrong?

I put a coat of Mod Podge on my eggs. Then I covered the eggs with bits of colored tissue paper. Then a top coat of Mod Podge.

I’m a Mod Podge knucklehead. Both times my project turned out all lumpy, bumpy, messy and even gloppy. See?

So, all of you Mod Podgers, give me your best Mod Podge advice and maybe I’ll try again.

In the meantime, here are some other people’s Mod Podge projects that turned out beautifully.

A glass vase: How About Orange
Bulletin boards, storage containers, giant paper clips and eggs: Tatertots and Jello
Adorable learning magnets: Pretty Partridge
Ikea table: Cathie Filian and Steve Piacenza
Dahlia table: Juicy Bits
A deer head (Not kidding!): Just Something I Made
A little birdie dresser makeover:Sugarswirl Esme
Barn star: PAJAMAMA

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1 angie April 7, 2009 at 6:43 am

I just covered a cigar box in paper using Mod Podge last night. The trick for me is to use a foam brush. And don’t mess with any air bubbles while it is still wet.

2 marty39 April 7, 2009 at 6:51 am

I use to do a lot of things with mod podge, and I agree with Angie, I always used a foam brusha and also cut the paper or fabric in the shape of what I was covering as much as possible. Hope this helps. Hugs, Marty

3 Michelle April 7, 2009 at 6:53 am

I’m no Mod Podge expert either…but I agree with the previous comment. Try a foam brush. And I think that tissue paper is pretty delicate paper, and that might be why things got a little lumpy bumpy on you.

Personally, I think they look great!!!

4 Dawn-Hydrangea Home April 7, 2009 at 6:54 am

What’s wrong with a little texture? I think they look great!

5 Christi April 7, 2009 at 6:56 am

I am Mod-Podge challenged, too. I've done several projects & it seems like I can never get it to dry all the way. So, I just stick to Elmer's glue and water.

6 Jennifer April 7, 2009 at 7:04 am

I usually thin out the Mod Podge when I am working with something deicate like tissue paper. Then I lay the paper down, then with a clean soft brush and gentle tapping start to slowly wrok from a central point till I have it as smoth as I can. Tissue Paper when wet is still going to give an unsmoth effect, but I found that using a dry brush gently onto does seem to help! I got a peice of tissue paper almost all the way smoth that way on a piece of Canvas board before!
I hope I was helpful!

7 Kirsty April 7, 2009 at 7:16 am

Am I the only one who doesn’t think your eggs were a failure? I think they are very cool, I like a little texture 😉 They are so pretty.

8 Cathe Holden April 7, 2009 at 7:40 am

Thanks for the link to my deer head!!

You should email Amy from the link on her blog, she knows everything Mod Podge! But I think your eggs are darn pretty!

Here is Amy’s blog:

9 Kimba April 7, 2009 at 7:45 am

Ok. Sponge brush. I’ll try that. I used a regular paint brush both times.

I’ll try thinning the Mod Podge if I’m using tissue paper.

@angie So what do you do about the air bubbles then?

10 Darla April 7, 2009 at 7:49 am

My girls and I love to mod podge. You have to start at the center of the paper and work out to get rid of the air bubbles sometimes smaller pieces of paper work better and yes a foam brush. Your eggs are darling though!

11 Darlene - Our Creative Life April 7, 2009 at 8:01 am

I don't use modge podge, instead I just use elmer's glue & thin it out with a tiny bit of water. I also use foam brushes.

12 Rachel April 7, 2009 at 8:37 am

The eggs look great to me!

13 ~nanashouse~ April 7, 2009 at 9:03 am

Umm…What is the problem that you see? I think they are absolutely gorgeous!! Was this a project you did with your little ones? Try not to let your disappointment show. It is the process that matters, especially when we work alongside our littles. Projects are supposed to be fun 🙂

14 jenjen April 7, 2009 at 9:07 am

Hi Kimba!
Thanks for the shout out. I agree with the previous posters about using a foam brush. Also, try smoothing the tissue paper in one direction. That way it smooths down the folds in the tissue paper. If you smooth it in different direction it could get all lumpy and weird. And at the end, when you put the top coat over the entire egg, try not to touch it too much. That way the surface stays smooth.

Good luck! I think tissue paper might be the hardest thing to mod podge. Don’t give up!


15 frillsfluffandtrucks April 7, 2009 at 9:13 am

I did this project yesterday. My eggs that I covered with bits of plain tissue paper looked horrendous. Maybe the tissue was too thin? Anyhow, the ones I used bits of rose printed tissue (which was thicker) looked GREAT!

So, I think it isn’t your skill level with Mod Podge, but rather the thickness of the tissue paper that makes a difference.

~ Sarah

16 mishebe April 7, 2009 at 9:13 am

I tried the egg thing too. did not work for me. But your eggs look great! I like the texture look. i mean can u really get a smooth look with decoupage? Still practicing. mishelle

17 Cathe Holden April 7, 2009 at 9:13 am

So, for some reason I can’t stop trying to solve your egg issue.

I would suggest that you water down the ModPodge a bit into a bowl and dip the strips into the mixture, wring the paper out by sliding between two fingers letting the extra goo run off,then lay the strips around the eggs. I think that with the paper crinkling, not all the paper is getting glue on it and it won’t stick well to itself and that is creating the texture you’re not liking. If every single bit of the paper is soaked, it will stick to itself and lay much flatter.

Hope that helps!

18 That Girl April 7, 2009 at 9:40 am

I am a modge podge failure. I tried to do the notebook and clipboard covered with scrapbook paper. yeah, didnt work so well. There was bubbles and wrinkles AND the paper is starting to come off after using the items. I used a foam brush. I just look in envy when I see everyone’s projects. lol

19 Teresa April 7, 2009 at 9:44 am

I have a mod podge question. What product do you use on water-soluble surfaces? I found out the hard way that I can’t mod podge on something I’ve printed on my computer printer; it just smears the ink.

20 Just me~ Bobbie Jo April 7, 2009 at 9:51 am

I agree with what was already written. 🙂

Love the ideas that I am going to steal-oops I mean borrow. The only thing I have done has been clipboards.

21 Pajama Mama April 7, 2009 at 9:53 am

hey Kimba!
Thanks for the link!
I think your eggs came out great! I actually tried to do the same project a few weeks ago, but used scrapbook paper-which was WAAAY too thick to work. My daughter suggested fabric, but tissue paper seems to be an even better idea! The “bumps” only add dimension and whimsy!

22 Pajama Mama April 7, 2009 at 9:56 am

oh, for the air bubbles, I used my Pampered Chef stone scraper-i’m sure you have one, too!

23 Holly April 7, 2009 at 10:17 am

lol I wish I could help but I am pretty sure mine would have looked worse!

24 Lisa C April 7, 2009 at 10:33 am

I love modge podge, but I use spray glue first to get the paper where I want, then coat it with modge podge over the top with a foam brush. Works pretty good for me!

25 Ele at abitofpinkheaven April 7, 2009 at 10:40 am

I struggle with modge podge also. Love the grass jar in the post bleow.

26 Kimm at Reinvented April 7, 2009 at 10:48 am

Kimba, thanks for asking this question, not because I have the answer, but because I NEEDED to ask it too! LOTS of great advice here.

27 Handmade Housewife... April 7, 2009 at 10:52 am

Girl I would just add some glitter to those babies and call it a day! They look cute the way they are…and you know what Nester would say 🙂 But seriously if you do try it again let us know what works for you.


28 sarah April 7, 2009 at 10:54 am

foam brush, coat surface and the paper before applying and smooth while you go, use a popsicle stick to help get out air bubbles, go slowly and be patient (the last one is hard for me to do!)

29 Kyla April 7, 2009 at 11:30 am

I’m not an expert either, and I think these look fab, just the way they are . . . but here is what I can tell you from my experiences with Mod Podge . . .I agree with the foam brush. This works MUCH better. Also, after you put your first coat on, and adhere the paper. AFTER it has has a few moments to start drying/setting up, try to work the air bubbles out with your fingers (if you have a flat surface a round pencil or ink pen works wonderfully).(Otherwise you’ll rip your paper.) Let it dry completely before you put the top coat(s) on, and let it dry completely between coats. I don’t know if that will help or not, but it seems to work for me. ; )

P.S. You’ve been tagged over at my blog, and you also have an award, if you choose to accept.

God Bless and have a wonderful week!

30 Mom in High Heels April 7, 2009 at 12:06 pm

Foam brush, foam brush, foam brush! I always thin mine out a little too when working with thin tissue. If you’re working with a flat surface use a brayer to get the air bubbles out before putting on the top coat. If you’re working with a curved surface, make sure you cut a few slits in the sides of the paper to help it lay flat.
I think they’re lovely as is though.

31 Nikki April 7, 2009 at 12:16 pm

I’m hit an miss with Mod Podge. Great links today, love the vase.

32 Mel April 7, 2009 at 12:32 pm

Wow, I’m staring at a bottle of Mod Podge, that’s been sitting on my desk for a couple of weeks now, with wonder. I didn’t know you could do so many cool things with it….I am truly inspired now!

33 Lady Dorothy April 7, 2009 at 12:57 pm

Wow, if you wouldn’t have said you were disappointed, I would have thought the eggs were just great!

I’m not a Mod Podge expert, so I don’t have advice, but I think adding glitter would hide a multitude of lumps!

34 Jen@Balancing Beauty and Bedlam April 7, 2009 at 1:29 pm

oh, so glad you posted before I joined you in the modge podge failure attempt tomorrow. This exact thing was on my plan to do but I was going to use fabric instead. 🙂

35 Michelle@Fromhousetohome April 7, 2009 at 1:47 pm

Is Mod Podge the same as decoupage? I use the jars of decoupage from the craft store and usually don’t have issues with it. I always use a foam brush and you have to be careful not to overbrush it. It is kind of like painting, if you keep going over it again and again it will start to get icky. The imperfections will settle down so for the most part I leave them alone and don’t attempt to work them out.

36 Karen at Nittany Inspirations April 7, 2009 at 1:55 pm

I hate to tell you this, but I did the tissue on the blown egg with a pre-school daycare class. Only we used thinned Elmers glue. Cut your piecies pretty small. I think we only used our fingers or perhaps artists brushes.

37 ann April 7, 2009 at 2:09 pm

well looks like you’ve gotten alot of help.i agree with one of the ladies.i used elmers or off brand elmers and it does just as good a job as the expensive mod-podge…Ann

38 Quoizel April 7, 2009 at 4:42 pm

Those are some trippy looking eggs. Cute little blog.

39 It' an Evolution April 7, 2009 at 4:51 pm

I think you may have enough advise at this point…but the dry brush over the top of the still dry tissue paper works for me…then I put on a coat of cover. I don’t use modge podge, I use Arleenes, matte finish…love it.

40 Kelleigh April 7, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Your eggs look fab!!

As for MP, try letting it set up just a bit (about a min.) before applying the paper. Since the eggs are curved, they are a bit more complicated!

For flat projects: Through trial and error, I have discovered that if you put a thin coat on your paper, and a thin coat on the item you are adhering it to (i.e., chipboard), then let them set for a couple of minutes, you can then squash the two items together, smooth out the bubbles and be left with a wonderful, permanent bond . . . with no warping.

41 debianne April 7, 2009 at 5:39 pm

I have used Mod Podge in the past and now prefer to use Gel Medium (found in the paint section of Michael’s or Hobby Lobby.) It seems to work better. Foam brush is also a biggie. I also like to just use my fingers to apply it and smooth things down. It’s messy, but I keep baby wipes handy for clean up.
I noticed Teresa’s comment about her paper smearing (she’s printing off her home printer.) If you’ll take your pictures to Kinko’s (or some place similar) and have them copied on a color printer (either in color or black and white) it adheres the picture to the paper (heat set) and they will not smear when you are collaging or decoupaging. You can also then wet your picture (misting with water) and then use your gluing agent to adhere the damp picture (mod podge/gel medium on back of picture and on item your decoupaging.)They lay down beautifully and looks good.

42 Teresa April 8, 2009 at 6:43 am

Thanks, Debianne!

43 Jessica April 8, 2009 at 9:53 am

I think they look pretty darn good! I must confess though, I’m not very good at modge podge either…I’m pretty good on a flat surface, but give me curves and …well, that’s where things get a little hinky. I think you did just fine!

44 Sarah @ Thrifty Decor Chick April 8, 2009 at 2:12 pm

I love the bunny! I always have issues with flat surfaces and bubbles, but was told by a friend to try the brayer. I got a huge pan scraper like thing instead, I’ll let you know how it works. 😉

45 Kelly April 8, 2009 at 6:58 pm

For air bubbles, you can always use a pin to put a tiny hole in the paper and let the air out. This is a last resort, if you can’t smooth it to the edge of the paper.

46 Anonymous May 12, 2009 at 5:03 pm

I do the mod podge stuff, and have done it before… the trick is to do a small area and place it one piece at a time.

Put glue on the object, place a single piece of tissue paper and cover it carfully moving from the center outwards to the edges. This will keep it smooth, then move on to the next piece always making sure to go from center-outward.


That’s all there is to it.

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