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DIY: My Mod Podge Love Affair

My love of Mod Podge – which sounds a bit more like a custard based dessert than a DIY project - first started with a green armoire I wanted to jazz up years ago. I painted the trim white and then decoupaged it with Graham and Brown wallpaper (in this pattern ).

The result -- I know, it's a terrible picture but I only have the one -- is below. I promise that in-person it looked great and the application made it look like I had actually painted the pattern on the wood.

Mod Podge is very similar in consistency to Elmer's School Glue, and when applied (both under and over wet paper) it retextures the surface so the graphic or design on the paper appears to have been painted on, while also bonding it to the backing. When I finally ended up selling the armoire on Craigslist the year Bill and I moved to Brooklyn, it was bought by a set designer for Blue Bloods -- she told me it was perfect for a young prostitute's room. I’m assuming a well-paid one….?

More recently, I’ve used Mod Podge in two new ways: first, with a wallpaper sample on canvas and second, an oversized Franz Kline poster on thin plywood. The wallpaper, which is a black and white hands print, turned out great. I've actually used it for staging listings numerous times, as in the photo below:

The Kline was more challenging. The paper, which was thick matte art paper, did not like getting wet, so some of the top print layer came off. Also, the size of the plywood, and the fact that it wasn't wrapped made it much harder to get the Mod Podge on the full surface. Because of these factors, one edge where the paper has lifted slightly from the plywood, but overall it still looks great, and was a much more affordable way to display the print than framing a 30x60 piece. (excuse the laundry on our sofa in the picture below!)

The basics of using Mod Podge are fairly simple:

1. Apply Mod Podge on surface of whatever item you’ve chosen for the backing (canvas, armoire door, etc.

2. Wet the paper to be applied (either immerse in water or spray but don't soak).

3. Place paper on the backing (this sounds easy, but the trick is that it has to be perfectly smooth).

4. Cover the paper with Mod Podge (you can use a sponge brush or roller).

5. Re-apply additional layers of Mod Podge every 10-15 minutes until desired effect is reached (you'll know, and there's no such thing as too many layers).

For more info about Mod Podge, or to watch video tutorials, check out this blog – ModPodgeRocks – which has everything you might need to know about Mod Podge (and probably way, way more).

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