Recent Posts

DIY Mod Podge: An Experiment

I'm about to get a little personal now:

I am a Mod Podge virgin. 

(waiting for you to recover)

There should be a reality show for that. A twenty something diy'er who hasn't tried her hand at Mod Podge, as in ever?? I smell a contract in the works.

What Time Is It?
It's Pinterest Challenge time! Summer Edition, that is. And what better time to get a little more friendly with Mod Podge than now?

Once a quarter some fabulous bloggin' ladies put on this challenge for Pinterest lovers of all kinds!
The ladies behind the awesomeness: Kate from Centsational Girl, Michelle from Ten June, Sherri from Young House Love, and Katie from Bower Power. Thank you, thank you, thank you ladies! *blowing kisses*

What's the Challenge?
The rules are simple: pick something you've pinned on Pinterest, it can be anything, and vow to get off that computer, roll up your sleeves, and MAKE it happen! Then pat yourself on the back for being extremely productive and share it with the world.

Fun much? oh yes.

Challenge: Accepted
For this challenge, I decided it was high time I rolled up my sleeves and educated myself on the universe of Mod Podge. There is all this talk claiming this miracle product can work it's magic on everything from jewelry to furniture, leaving pure awesomeness in it's wake.

It was time to see what it's all about for myself.

This is a double whammy challenge: 
Phase 1: Make my own Mod Podge 
Phase 2: Do something fun with it

Phase 1: DIY Mod Podge
If there's one thing I love more than discovering new craft mediums, it's saving a buck. This recipe for homemade Mod Podge was one of those things I pinned on my Me Do It board awhile back, making mental note to investigate later.

I did a little investigating. All the blogs I visited had the exact same recipe for diy Mod Podge.

DIY Mod Podge Recipe:
1/2 Water
1/2 White School Glue
Empty Bottle

Sounds simple enough. I bought a 4oz bottle of glue from the 99 Cent store. After some math related stress and vivid word problem flashbacks, I can safely report: 

1/2 Cup of water = 4 oz

Thankfully this information was printed on the reverse side of my measuring cup. Measuring cup, pound it.

I added 1/2 C. glue to 1/2 C. water. You can be cool like me and use an empty fish oil supplement bottle left over from when I was pregnant with Andrew. 

Then it was all about shaking it like a polariod picture!

This is me shaking it.

Now that I had my spiffy homemade Mod Podge mix, it was time to get creating.

Phase 2: Making Something Awesome With It
I'm giving our Master Bedroom a much needed face lift (more on that fun stuff here :) and the makeover is spilling over into our Master Bath.

I'm sticking to the same color scheme in there as for the bedroom: seafoam, gray, yellow, and white. I decided to make some art that would bring in my style and a pop of color!
My Pinspirations: top left: Always Swell, top right: Summer Road's etsy shop
bottom left: The Craftberry Busybottom right: Addicted 2 Decorating

Why Seashells are Like a Plate of Cupcakes
Ahhh, shells. They have such a cool graphic look while bringing in a natural texture that draws you in for a closer look. 

I have to be careful. I love me a beach theme. It's like a closet cupcake eating addiction. Just. one. bite. But before you know it, I've eaten the whole plate and am licking the crumbs off my shirt.

From age 10-15 my bedroom was a virtual explosion of all things shell, beachy, and dolphin related. It was impressive. If I'm not careful, I would easily turn my house into a nautical oasis. I must restrain myself, and enjoy my beachyness in moderation. 

So for this project I rummaged around my old collection and came out with this clam shell and sand dollar.

First I sprayed them with a clear coat to seal the porous surfaces. Then I gave them an antique treatment with Rust-Oleum Metallic Gold spray, a paper towel, brown paint, and then white paint.

This was what I ended up with. Mostly white with a glint of gold here and there, and deep brown showing off the details.

I grabbed a few old wall plaques from my picture frame bin and cut a piece of scrapbook paper to fit.

Time to Bust out the Podge!
The moment had arrived.

In the name of science I bought my own bottle of real Mod Podge. Sort of as a back up in case my diy version was a total wash, and as a control group to compare my diy bottle to the real thing.

For an even comparison, I did one plaque entirely with the real Podge, and one with my homemade version.

I brushed a light coat of Mod Podge on the back of the piece of scrap book paper and affixed it to the plaque.

Are you a Clever Nest follower? 
What, no? Don't miss any of my shenanigans! 
Let's be friends : D

I did the same to the other plaque with my diy mixture, and let them both dry.

I noticed some bubbling during the drying process to both Podges (real stuff in back, mine in front). The fake stuff bubbled a little more than the other one. But once they were both dry, no more bubbles! The water evaporated, leaving both papers perfectly flat again.

Then it was time to varnish the top. Here's a comparison shot of the two Podges in the "wet" phase.
The real Mod Podge on the left was much thicker and had more body to it, where as my diy version on the right was thinner and more watery, but still glue like.

Will the Real Podge Please Stand Up
When the top coats was dry, I could now definitely see a difference between the Podges! The real stuff was much glossier and had a thicker body to it (you can even see brush strokes), compared to my diy version which was pretty much invisible. No sheen or texture to speak of.

Both pieces of paper were firmly affixed to the plaques, however. And the diy Podge seemed like it would have worked just fine for a project like this. I personally liked the look of the real Podge, seeing the brush strokes reminds me of a painted canvas. And it made the paper seem more like a part of the plaque.

Let There Be Shells
I busted out my hot glue gun to secure my shells to both plaques.

I love the final product!

How could I not, they're shells??

Especially loving how the antiquing enhanced the shells' natural textures.

The Verdict on the Podge
I was surprised there was such a visible difference between the Podges. I could definitely tell the real stuff from the diy version. 

More body
Visible brush strokes
Soft glossy sheen
Paper looks like it's part of the object it's applied to

Thin (though I suppose you could play with the recipe and thicken it up)
No body, or brush strokes
Invisible, no sheen
Paper looks like it's on top of the object

I personally liked the thickness and sheen of the real Podge, and since I don't use very much of it in general, I'll probably stick to the real deal for future projects. I've still got a whole bottle left to experiment with!

How about the cost?
It was .50 cents for a 8oz bottle of diy Mod Podge compared to $2.40 ($4.99 minus a 40% off coupon) for the same size bottle of the real stuff. 

Total DIY Savings = 
$1.90 per bottle

If I had a massive project or used it all the time, I'd definitely consider using the diy version. As an infrequent user (never up til now) it's not worth my while to make my own for only $2 cheaper than I can get the real stuff. Not quite enough savings to tempt me there.

I'm glad I tried it though! Off to hang my new shell art. My bathroom just got more awesome.

Want more?

And keep up with me during the week!

UPDATE: Thank you Gail at My Repurposed Life for featuring this post!


  1. Those look really great! I have never used mod podge and have been extremely curious about making it myself. Thanks for your post. I am your newest follower. :o)
    - Hope @

    1. Thanks Hope, nice to meet you! :) I visited your blog, and I have to get me a gardening pad for bath time. That's such a great idea.
      <3 Alyssa

  2. I've wondered if there was a difference between store bought & diy mod podge. Thanks for testing it out for me! ... and I just recently used the podge for the first time too - & I'm in my thirties ... sshhh. Visiting from Do Something Crafty - Have a wonderful weekend.

    1. haha, Nicole, it's nice to know there are others of our kind out there :D

  3. I think I have to try the DIY podge because I can't find some in France... May be I should try in UK. I'm following you via Pinterest ;) (piece o' cake linky)

    1. I didn't know they didn't have any in France. (is that ironic that "decopodge" is a french word? ;)

  4. I too have used both, but not at the same time as a comparison. I'm happy you linked this post up to catch as catch can. I enjoyed reading your experience with Mod Podge and DIY Podge. :)

    Your project turned out great...nice touch antiquing the shells.


  5. Your shell project turned out wonderful! Thanks for sharing this at The Open House Project.

  6. I'm honored that my sea-inspired gallery wall was one of your inspirations! I absolutely LOVE the way you painted the shell with the hint of gold showing through!! You've made me want to go paint some shells!

  7. Good comparison! Thanks for this helpful information.

  8. I really liked how you did this experiment and showed us the difference in pictures. What a major help and really helped me to decide it's one of those things that aren't really worth doing yourself. Some things just have to be the real thing to work best. We'd love to have you link it up at our "Home is Where the Heart is" Link Party!

  9. Hi Alyssa! Would have loved to feature this tonight, but there's no listing of my party :( Booooo! Maybe next time. Love the comparison. Cheers! -Kelly

    1. Thanks for the kind words Kelly! Oh my, it's true! I just fixed that, ahem, now I'm officially listing Live Laugh Rowe's linky on Thursdays! :)

  10. I have never used mod podge (and I'm in my 50's!!!) I have read other comparisons though and they, like you, said they preferred the "real stuff". I like how your project turned out!

  11. Thank you so much for investigating this! I can't buy mod podge around here and for some reason it's super expensive at Micheal's in Canada. I think I will still go with the DIY route but it's great to know the difference!

  12. hi! my receipe calls for 3/4 c glue to 1/4 c water...not sure if that makes a dif. i did discover that even after waxing, if anything wet is set on the diy, it gets sticky & needs to dry again. i don't know if the same thing happens w/the real stuff. i did some big projects & do like the diy stuff. Esther

    1. Hi Esther! That ratio sounds better, like it'd be much thicker and more like the real stuff. I wondered about the water issue, especially since these are going in the bath, where humidity is a factor... Thanks for the info! (I popped over for a visit, and your blog has the prettiest pics :)

  13. New follower! It's eerily like reading my own thoughts. :)
    ~Dori @

    1. Nice to meet you, Dori! Glad to have you along for my adventures.

  14. oh my !!! thank you so much for showing the difference between the diy and the "real stuff " as a fairly new crafter ive been interested in the " amazing things mod podge can do " and have been itching to try it!! i myself in my 20s have never used it and was alittle iffy about it & heard you can make it yourself so after seeing your experiment i will def have to go get the real thing thanks for the head ache saver :)

    1. Hi, glad this was helpful! You are a 20 something Mod Podge virgin too?? lol pound it :)

  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. I'm a 20 something Mod Podge virgin too haha xD I love it when you say pound it hahaha it cracks me up! Thanks for testing it out too! I really wanted to see if the diy version actually works.

  17. There is no "mod podge" in France. But there are plenty of decoupage glues and combo glue/varnish out there. 8-| They are just as good a Mod Podge.

    This DIY recipe that is all over the blog-sphere is wrong. It should be 2 parts glue to 1 part water, at the most. We just decoupage with straight white glue dipping the brush in water to make it easier to apply when necessary.

    PS, it's decoupage, not decopodge. ;-)

    1. I agree, the half and half ratio seemed way too thin to mimic the real podge. Thanks for the advice!

  18. Ha, I'm a 42 year old (mod podge) virgin!!! Googling like a mad woman this morning trying to decide if I should make my own! My project is just tin cans for storage in my new craft I think homemade will be the way to go!! Love your Blog, thanks for the detailed project comparing both!

  19. Just sayin', but that's a scallop shell -- not a clam. ;)

  20. I just want to say that your measuring cup is wrong and is lying to you. Coincidentally water has a weight of 4 oz, but a volume of 4 fl. oz as well. Measuring cups measure fl. oz, not oz. If you needed 6 oz of honey and you measured it out as 6 fl. oz in your measuring cup you would end up with almost 9 oz of honey.

  21. My question is how to make other versions of mod podge like glow-in-the dark, antique finsh, or sparkle? I have a basic idea but would like others opinion.

  22. Wow, this pіece of ωriting is nice, my younger sister
    іs analyzing such things, so I am going too inform her.

    Also visit my web blkg El Tesoro

  23. Thank you for the comparison! I haven't used 'real' Mod Podge yet, but I have made my own. Last year we used old soup cans to make painted and decorated holders for Christmas presents. My recipe for the diy kind is 2 parts white glue and 1 part water. It's much thicker and does have a texture when dry. I'm ordering some Mod Podge from amazon because I want to do a comparison of it and my diy recipe :) Thanks again!


I love getting your feedback, and chatting about all things DIY!
<3 Alyssa

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...