Why You Can’t Make Mod Podge

I’m writing this post because I predict that when I release my first (free) mask plan, some people are going to be cheap about the materials and then moan that their mask didn’t turn out right.
The main thing that I want to head off is the idea that you can make your own Mod Podge from PVA / Elmers Glue / White Glue. It’s nonsense that I have seen in many places, like THIS and this video

Make no mistake, using PVA where I tell you to use Mod Podge will leave your mask a distorted mess, rather than the crisp, sharp polygon mask I am teaching you to make.
As we are talking about being cheap, I will use some budget printer paper to demonstrate. I’m not even going to the extent of diluting the PVA, (as those links above say you should) because that makes it even worse.
I took three 10cm squares of paper, and coated each one evenly with a similar amount of three types of goo. Then I added a 5cm square of the same paper.

  1. was dry enough to handle in twenty minutes.
  2. took more than 2 houtrs before it was handleable
  3. was dry enough to handle in twenty minutes.
    You can't make Mod Podge

    A     is    Mod    Podge                B     is     PVA           C    is   Polyfacets   Goo

    This photograph was taken after about 20 hours.

    1. The Mod Podge coated piece has returned to being quite flat. It has a little curve but no ripples.
    2. The paper coated with PVA distorts worst of all. It’s curved and rippled, even where the extra square is stuck on.
    3. Polyfacet’s Goo – a slight curve but no ripples. The stuck-on square is flat.

    Put very simply, PVA is like a liquid plastic. It dries by evapouration and it shrinks as it does, which is why it distorts paper. It takes ages to dry, leaving your work saturated for ages as it distorts.
    Mod Podge is, I’m guessing, an acrylic polymer with suspended solids. To test out my guess, I mixed cheap hardware store acrylic varnish with talcum powder. This combination of a fast drying acrylic medium with added solids is MUCH more like Mod Podge. It adds weight and body and it dries rapidly without distorting your work. Gentle curves can be corrected as the mask is assembled. I’ll do a tutorial on how to make Polyfacets Goo if anyone needs it.
    Watered down PVA might work fine for some craft projects but it makes inferior masks.