Asked on Jul 14, 2013

Modge Podge vs White Glue

I'm pretty cheap (and don't have a craft store handy). Can I use watered down white glue in place of Modge Podge? I'm revamping a table by adding a larger plywood top, and am going to cover it with old hymn book pages.
Finally got the perfect sized table for my small trailer dining room. Now want to cover the top.
  37 answers
  • Diana Gashwiler Diana Gashwiler on Jul 14, 2013
    I have read that using watered down Elmer's glue will yellow over time, never tried it myself!
  • Nancy Spencer Carlson Nancy Spencer Carlson on Jul 14, 2013
    Thanks Diana. That would be an acceptable risk, since it would add to the 'old book' look.
  • KathrynElizabeth Etier KathrynElizabeth Etier on Jul 14, 2013
    I've used the watered down glue method and it came out fine. I did use ModPodge for the top coats, though.
  • Nancy Spencer Carlson Nancy Spencer Carlson on Jul 14, 2013
    KathrynE, how 'watered down' would you recommend?
  • It can also peel & crack - better to go with modge-podge. If you want to yellow them you can always try the lemon juice & oven trick (if memory serves me correctly), just be careful on how long & how hot it is as burning down the place isn't a good option
  • Tanya Peterson Felsheim Tanya Peterson Felsheim on Jul 14, 2013
    @Nancy Spencer Carlson I heard the same thing about homemade modpodge discolors a friend of mine wrote a book called mod podge rocks (sent me a signed copy so sweet!) anyway this is her article
  • Nancy Spencer Carlson Nancy Spencer Carlson on Jul 15, 2013
    Tanya! Thanks! That's some great info. I especially like the part about 'get a 40% off coupon'. I tend to forget about those. That makes it pretty inexpensive, really.
  • Accentuations! Accentuations! on Jul 15, 2013
    Sorry to say that the Elmer's Glue (altho a good sub) will, indeed yellow over time. And not in a nice way. It also cracks and peels. You might fare better if you use the glue mixture to afix the pages to the table and then use a non-yellowing polyurethane on top. Two coats should do it. You could also order product on line thru Hobby Lobby or Michael's and have it shipped directly to you. If you would like to age the paper first you can brush it with "tea water"...brew a very strong cup of tea (3 bags to a cup) and gently brush it onto your pages. When it is dry you can glue it to the table. This gives the paper and aged look without much fuss-and you get to enjoy the rest of the tea! LOL! Good luck!
  • KathrynElizabeth Etier KathrynElizabeth Etier on Jul 15, 2013
    With a good glue, I go fifty-fifty. I order ModPodge on-line from Amazon but getting the forty percent off deal at Michael's is a better buy.
  • Cheryl stanley Cheryl stanley on Jul 16, 2013
    i covered a dining table with paper and mod podge. we eat on it, the kids do crafts on it and I gets a lot of abuse from a very active family, that was 5 yrs ago and it hasn't yellowed, cracked or pealed. it cleans up great with water. I used 5 coats because I knew it would be used a lot.
  • Cheryl stanley Cheryl stanley on Jul 16, 2013
    also you need to take into account that you will be putting water on to bare wood that will be absorbed into the wood raising the grain. it will take much longer for the glue and water to dry. mod podge dries really quickly and doesn't change the wood at all.
  • Jessica Hill Jessica Hill on Jul 16, 2013
    Any kind of plain glue will yellow, and most kinds of Mod Podge can be damaged with water. I would suggest using Outdoor Mod Podge to glue and seal the paper and then coating the whole thing with a coat of clear sealant. Otherwise you are going to have areas of paper disintegrating and ripping off over time. Love to see what it looks like when you are done!
  • Lesa Lesa on Jul 16, 2013
    Have used glue several times, several coats for larger projects, but always finish off with ModgeP or have used water based clear coat ( object must be DRY and set good). Furniture works better for durability with clear coat.
  • Valerie Valerie on Jul 16, 2013
    There was a post about this - see under 'Sea Glass Jar DIY' - she uses glue and water, and in her post she gives instructions on the ratios etc. Good luck with your project, and don't forget to post some 'after' shots!
  • Gail Gail on Jul 16, 2013
    It also matters with the humidity level in your home, I used watered down glue; but then poly-eurathaned over that and it is still holding and not yellowing.
  • Nancy Spencer Carlson Nancy Spencer Carlson on Jul 16, 2013
    You guys are the greatest! I'm working on a book right now, but will take some time to prime the wood and glue the paper down. Maybe tonight. Gail, I'll turn on the dehumidifier when I'm waiting for the glue to dry well. Thanks for the thought. My plan is to prime, glue, let dry for a few days, then use several coats of quick-dry poly. Thing is, I'm using the table for the laptop! So, it's either wait to do the project, or find another table. Right now, I'm opting for finding another table, because I want to get started on the project!
  • June June on Jul 16, 2013
    Has anyone ever had a problem with ModPodge being sticky? I covered an old wooden chair with sheet music and music themed pictures and it's a bit sticky.
    • CAS CAS on Nov 13, 2016
      Adding for future readers since this is an old post. If after the cure time on the formula of Mod Podge you are using, you can then a couple coats of polyacrylic over it.
  • Judy Judy on Jul 16, 2013
    I agree with most of the posts, I use glue/water mix about 50/50, but always let cure well and coat with a sealer, and it does tend to yellow over time. I find that even ModPodge tends to degrade when using for something like a coaster, or where moisture is a problem. Make sure you use a good acrylic sealer or poly to ensure that moisture won't be a factor. Can't wait to see what it looks like when you're finished!
  • Linda Linda on Jul 16, 2013
    I also used glue and water. I just saw one project that was done about 30 plus years ago, the plaque looked the same. I used old pictures and at that time you couldn't copy the pictures, because I didn't have the money or know anyone who could do the coping.
  • Bonnie Lewenza Bonnie Lewenza on Jul 16, 2013
    The problem with that is it is not protected, with the podge it has a sealer in it and is very durable.
  • Nancy Spencer Carlson Nancy Spencer Carlson on Jul 16, 2013
    June, I've not covered anything with MP, but I did paint a dresser last summer. It was a few months before it didn't feel tacky. Maybe it just needs a bit of time to 'cure'?
  • Ruth LaMarr Ruth LaMarr on Jul 16, 2013
    You can purchase Mod Podge in the craft section of most department stores.
  • Sia@South 47th Sia@South 47th on Jul 16, 2013
    Most of the time for large projects I use 50/50 glue to water ratio, because I'm cheap LOL. Then Poly it with 3 coats. Haven't had the 'yellowing' problem. ;)
  • Trashy Treasures Trashy Treasures on Jul 16, 2013
    I have used elmers glue in place of mod podge with no problems
  • Ranelle Ranelle on Jul 17, 2013
    Yes June, I have had the problem with mod podge projects being "sticky" and have ruined many surfaces because something has stuck to them. But, as many others have suggested...clear your table with a clear urethane after the mod podge and it will take care of the problem, makes the surface durable and washable!
  • June June on Jul 17, 2013
    Thanks so much for the suggestions. I think I can still seal it with the urethane even tho it was done several years ago. Much appreciated.
  • Linda Linda on Jul 17, 2013
    You know if you use glue and water or Modge Podge, you can varnish over the top. I have done that.
  • Lora (Howard) Cotton Lora (Howard) Cotton on Jul 17, 2013
    Nancy, who says you need a craft store? WalMart carries ModPodge too!
  • Nancy Spencer Carlson Nancy Spencer Carlson on Jul 17, 2013
    Car not available this week, and to get to WallyWorld I'd definitely need one. Besides, I try to avoid that place. ;-)
  • Judy Judy on Jul 18, 2013
    Nancy, I tend to avoid WalMart, too (due to my own views on the company), but sometimes it's necessary. If you are a member of Amazon Prime, you can get free shipping on lots of stuff, including ModPodge in the Gallon size. I find lots of crafty stuff, along with other necessities, so the yearly fee is worth it for me. :)
  • Nancy Spencer Carlson Nancy Spencer Carlson on Jul 18, 2013
    Amazon Prime is something I really should do, because not only would it save on shipping, it would also save on the actual cost of products, in my experience. Just another thing to do... ;-)
  • Maggie Hugie Maggie Hugie on Jan 27, 2015
    I use a mixture of about 2/3rds white glue (like Elmers) and 1/3 water. I always use a water based polyurethane sealer over the top. On a table I would probably use 5 or 6 coats of the sealer just to make sure everything is waterproof and it makes clean up easy since you can wipe the table down with a damp sponge. You can also wax over the polyurethane to give it a nice polished finish. P.S. I grew up in Bedford Mass.
  • Nancy Spencer Carlson Nancy Spencer Carlson on Jan 27, 2015
    I never did get this table made. Turns out I we inherited my mil's mcm gray formica table. And then we moved! Now that I think of it, this table base is now covered with a 24x46" piece of plywood, primed for another project that didn't happen, and covered with a table cloth until I get the bug to cover the top with something more permanent. One can never tell about me!
  • Jessie Jessie on Jan 27, 2015
    What is mod podge? I'm from UK ☺️
    • Nancy Spencer Carlson Nancy Spencer Carlson on Jan 27, 2015
      @Jessie it's basically thin white glue. It is used to attach and seal paper products to something else. It was all the rage back in the 70's for decoupage, if you are familiar with that. It's back again. Follow the recipes on here to make your own!
  • Maggie Hugie Maggie Hugie on Jan 27, 2015
    I lived at 107 Springs Road Nancy, it was one of the farmhouses built before the Revolutionary War. Bedford was a wonderful sleepy little town when I was there. I am sure its changed but I hope you enjoy it.
    • See 1 previous
    • Nancy Spencer Carlson Nancy Spencer Carlson on Nov 16, 2016
      yay!! I found you! I took pictures of your old house. Now to see if I can find them again!
  • Maggie Hugie Maggie Hugie on Jan 29, 2015
    Thanks Nancy, please wave at the old place the next time you pass by. I have lots of projects going too.
  • AflacMan13 AflacMan13 on Sep 10, 2019

    Get a small tub of Mod Podge, get a bottle of white school glue, and a small can of latex paint.

    Sniff each one and observe what you smell.

    You may notice that the Mod Podge smells a little bit like a mixture of the school glue and the latex paint. I'd bet that Mod Podge uses water AND a latex paint emulsifier to make Mod Podge into Mod Podge. And THAT may be ONE reason the school glue and water thing does not work well hardly at all, ever.