Mod Podge Alternatives

Mod Podge Alternatives? (Read This First!)

Watered-down PVA glue is the best alternative to Mod Podge. It works in urgent situations, but do remember that it will turn yellow eventually. If you wanna Decoupage a craft paper/magazine page/art prints/product labels/poster, your best bet is Mod Podge.

Mod Podge was first made to be used in kids’ craft projects. The famous Decoupage medium is quite versatile in that it’s in every craftsman’s toolbox.

Mod Podge is now used by almost everyone who’s into crafts and rightly so. It has not one but many desirable properties.

What if there’s no Mod Podge in your home? Let’s see if you can use any other substance instead of Mod Podge.

Can you use Glue instead of Mod Podge?

Yes, PVA glue can be used to seal off objects onto a surface instead of Mod Podge. PVA glue is the best alternative to Mod Podge in my opinion. Don’t use white glue/regular glue!

PVA glue is the closest alternative to Mod Podge if the use-case is sealing objects. It might not look as glossy as the Mod Podge finish.

PVA glue will come in handy if you can’t find Mod Podge near you. Water down the PVA glue to use it as a sealer.

Add 1/3 cup of water to a cup of PVA glue and make a fine mixture. Adding more water makes the glue weaker, it wouldn’t hold objects well.

I advise you to do a smear test before applying PVA glue to your project. Apply the same amount you’d apply on your project and let it cure well.

Take a look at the object after it is cured. Did the glue leave smears behind? If yes, don’t use the mixture.

Can I use clear Nail Polish instead of Mod Podge?

No, don’t use clear Nail Polish to seal/glue objects onto a surface. This product doesn’t work like Mod Podge. It’ll only ruin your projects.

Nail Polish has properties that are quite different from Decoupage medium. Nail Polish solvent expands/shrinks vigorously based on external conditions.

A Decoupage medium shouldn’t exhibit such properties. A clear Nail Polish might dry waterproof on surfaces but it doesn’t have the desired characteristics.

I’ve seen people use it on their craft projects only to realize later that it was a bad idea. Don’t use this on your precious projects!

Is Mod Podge the same as White Glue?

No, Mod Podge isn’t the same as White Glue/PVA Glue. Mod Podge not only glues together various objects but helps seal them together(like puzzle pieces).

Mod Podge isn’t just glue, the Decoupage medium has sealing and varnishing properties. These properties along with the specific consistency make it the most famous Decoupage medium in the market.

The bonding properties of Mod Podge are way stronger than any other craft glues/school glues. The ingredients of Mod Podge are not the same as craft glue.

This is the reason why it’s priced higher than the common craft glue. White glue/PVA glue can be applied on surfaces if you dilute it properly(1:3).

Mod Podge can even be applied on ink-jet printed surfaces. But if you apply glue on such surfaces the ink gets smeared/distorted.

Can I use Elmer’s Glue instead of Mod Podge?

Yes, Elmer’s is a brand that sells PVA glue. If you dilute it down precisely, it can be used to decoupage things.

I’ve used Elmer’s Glue-All many times and I can say it could work well to decoupage stuff. This recipe is called watered-down glue in the DIY community.

Elmer’s glue dries out duller than Mod Podge. Elmer’s glue layer won’t have the glossy look once it cures properly.

How do you use Elmer’s glue like Mod Podge?

Perform a smear test on some other object before applying Elmer’s glue mixture to your craft project. Use it only if it doesn’t leave smears.

I advise people to mix Elmer’s glue in water in a 1:3 ratio. In my experience and for my purposes this mixture works well. Use only distilled water.

Can you decoupage with PVA glue?

Yes, you can cover objects using watered-down PVA glue. Do remember that the object might soon go to waste after a couple of years.

The surface might yellow, flake, or peel off over the years. Using PVA glue is also an absolute ‘No’ when it comes to decoupaging Ink-jet printed surfaces.

PVA glue shouldn’t be used on print, posters, magazine pages, art prints, product labels, and craft paper.

Does Elmer’s glue yellow over time?

Yes, Elmer’s glue does yellow after a couple of years. Yellowing, flaking, and peeling off is seen if you use PVA glue on surfaces.

It might look good in the short term but it’ll fade in long term. Also, using this mixture on pictures is a bad idea as the picture gets wrinkled.

Do I water down PVA for decoupage?

Yes, add 3 cups of water to a cup of PVA glue. Make a fine mixture out of it to make Decoupage in urgent cases.

I only use distilled water for this purpose.

What do you use to seal Decoupage?

One can seal off the cured Decoupage layer using Polyurethane for longevity. A spray of clear lacquer also helps protect the Decoupage medium.

Sealing Decoupage helps it stay intact for more years. Sealing the Decoupage layer using Polyurethane/Varnish also makes it water-resistant.

With the help of Polyurethane/Varnish, you can decoupage practically anything. It makes the Decoupage layer sturdy.

Before applying Polyurethane gently scrub the Decoupage surface using steel wool and clean with a damp cloth. Apply once it dries off.


Mod Podge might look costly but there are a lot of variants for you to choose from. I am sure you can find other Decoupage medium brands too if you look around.

Only use the alternatives if there’s just an urgency. I advise you to get some real Decoupage medium if you’re serious about the craft piece you just created.

Using the alternatives or the ‘DIY’ ones might look good but the objects go to waste over the years. So, craft wisely!

Happy Crafting 🙂