So many of us have a love-hate relationship with mod podge. It can be messy and a bottle's not all that cheap, but man it can do some cool stuff! There have been pins floating around for homemade mod podge recipes. I hadn't looked at them yet, but after receiving this excellent Pinstrosity from Julie, I decided to take a closer look.
The Original Pin
Julie says, "I was intrigued by this pin for homemade mod podge. As I had amassed a handful of other pins that required mod podge, I figured rather than spend ten dollars on a jar of real mod podge I'd make my own out of a two dollar bottle of glue. Hey, that's like an 80% savings, right? Wrong. I made the 50/50 mix of glue and water just as the pin instructed and proceeded to use it to try out the fabric covered switch plate (found here http://pinterest.com/pin/
198791771021709869/) I had pinned earlier."
"The faux mod podge was WAY too runny and even when I had the fabric totally saturated it wouldn't adhere to the plastic switch plate like it did in the pin. At this point I was unsure if the problem was the mod podge or just trying to adhere fabric to plastic in general. Resolved to figure out what the real issue was, I bought a jar of real mod podge, went back to my switch plate project, where (surprise, surprise) the fabric finally adhered to the plastic."
"So, now I have a ten dollar bottle of mod podge and a seemingly useless jar of watered down school glue. Perhaps this fake mod podge would be better suited for applications of paper on paper, but why not just use undiluted glue for that? After my disaster, I'd rather not find out what happens to paper when this stuff is applied to it (I'll leave that for someone else)."
What Went Wrong:
Julie didn't have a photo of her Pinstrosity, and this all piqued my curiosity, so I decided to see what I could figure out. Pretty much all the mod podge recipes were the same, an equal ratio of glue to water. After reading all those I ask the same question as Julie...why not just use undiluted glue at that point? But I decided to try it out anyway. I found a plastic bottle I has stuck in my "Trash to Crafts" box, and then pulled out a fabric scrap and a paper scrap to test this on. Here's my experience:
- First off, the concoction was definitely way too runny. It ran all over the bottle and didn't stay where I wanted it to, which made it difficult to apply a good coat.
- It wasn't hardly sticky enough. Neither the fabric nor the paper wanted to stick to the plastic bottle. They finally did, but not well.
- As it dried, pieces of the fabric and paper un-stuck to the bottle leaving bubbles and wrinkles, which might have a been combination of the goop just not being sticky enough and because...
- ...It took FOR-E-VER to dry. Way longer than Mod Podge does.
I can't say FOR-E-VER without The Sandlot going through my head.
- When it was all dry, the corners had become unstuck. I was curious how strong the bond was now that the goop was dry. I very gently pulled at the corner (no joke, I asserted the same force as if I were picking up a piece of paper off the table), and it peeled off quick and easy. I've tried peeling off things stuck with mod podge before...what happens with mod podge, stays with mod podge. There's no peeling it off, unless you want pieces and shreds.
This photo doesn't show it very well, but you can still see some of the bubbles in both the paper and the fabric that formed while drying in the left photo. You can also see the thread from the edge of the fabric that had come loose (which I made sure to goop down to the bottle). Then in the photo on the right...that fabric and paper is not stiff at all...it's still very bendable, foldable, movable, and very not-stuck to the plastic bottle.
Why Doesn't This Work?
An article entitled "Why you shouldn't make your own Mod Podge" by Mod Podge Rocks* states that "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." Mod Podge is just made with different stuff than craft or school glue, and most the time that other "stuff" is stronger and more superior (and higher quality means higher price). The article continues on, explaining why homemade Mod Podge just doesn't cut it:
"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. 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."
So...Long Story Short (or I should say long post short), just buy the real thing. It's worth it.
*Anderson, A. (2011, November 19). Why you shouldn't make your own Mod Podge. Retrieved 03 04, 2012, from Mod Podge Rocks: http://www.modpodgerocksblog.com/2011/11/why-you-shouldnt-make-your-own-mod.html