Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Mod Podge Decals

Mod Podge hasn't been a part of this studio very long, but it has played many parts in that short period of time. Right away, it became apparent that if left to dry in a palette cup, it is easily peeled out in one little blob. That little blog is tacky. A little light went on. That tacky little blob stuck to the glass of a brush cleaning jar.
It didn't take long for the wheels to spin madly. Where can this go? Truthfully, I can't give you any solid explanation of how this method I developed came to be. Let's just say- it did. And it was maddenly fun while it worked itself out.
To hike this trail you will need:
Mod Podge (I use gloss)
clear, heavy plastic sheets (i.e. report covers)
acrylic paint (your choice of color/colors)
craft knife
a design (with a good outline)

First, place one sheet of the clear plastic over the design you would like to copy and tape down the edges so it won't move around. Spread a smooth coat of Mod Podge over the design, going about 1/8" outside the design. I have found that using Qtips for this method is the easiest way to spread the MP and save your brushes. Let this dry. Sometimes, you can start transferring your design in an hour.
I did not take pictures of the actual process, so you'll have to visualize as I explain. Meanwhile, there'll be pictures to help you 'see' what I'm talking about. Look at each picture carefully (click on it to enlarge) so that you see the problem areas that can arise when applying your final decal, such as on a curved surface.

If you choose to outline your design, do this first. I tend to outline in black, then add in the color. Straight acrylic paint works well, but make sure, no matter what color you are using, to put down a heavy coat. If you're not sure you have, try this: after drying, hold the work up to the light. If there are 'holidays' in your color, apply another coat. If you are making decals for windows, you will see those lighter spots, so make it consistent.
Next, apply your choice of color or colors. I found that metallic paint will usually need 2 or maybe three coats. Glitter depends on how glittery you want it to look. The two butterflies are in metallic (note the wrinkles!), and darker colors need the most attention.

Is it looking the way you wanted? No holidays? Great! The end process is simple: three solid coats of Mod Podge, with drying time in between each application. Here again, Qtip application works wonderfully.

It will get a teensy bit tricky from here on out. Use a dedicated sheet of plastic strictly for cutting around your completed design. Gently peel off your design from the first plastic sheet and place it on the 'cutting' sheet. Use your craft knife to trim around the design. Peel away the excess dried MP. Prep your glass or plastic by cleaning it with isopropyl alcohol, making sure there's no grease on that surface and let it dry.

If your decal is going to be placed on a flat surface, your task is easy. Lift it from the cutting sheet, place it on, starting at the edge and working your way until it all lies flat. Stand back and look. It won't come off that surface unless you take it off. If you plan on keeping it for another time, store it flat on an extra sheet of plastic. Placing wax paper over that should keep anything from sticking to your decal. Don't fold your decal. You'll NEVER get it apart.
If your decal was made for a curved surface, you'll have to be extra careful when applying it. I started in the center and worked my way slowly, in tiny increments, around the globe until it was all down. You can try to reapply it- just be careful. Always try to get it right the first time so you don't have to pull your hair out making it right.  Many decals ended up in a wad before they became halfway presentable.

Your decals can be made from many things, just don't make them large. This decal is made with scrapbook paper, with a little acrylic paint for some splash. Same MP application. It's on my little laptop and hasn't budged since I put it there.

And for another twist, this decal is on my cell phone. It's an embroidered patch, using the same Mod Podge application: the first coat, and then three coats for stability. My cell doesn't get a lot of abuse, but it makes its rounds, merrily sporting its own decal. You can do some amazing, one of a kind decals with this simple little process and of course, Mod Podge!

So ends this journey, but it's really just the beginning. You just never know where Mod Podge will take you.

Have fun. Leave a comment, let me know you stopped by. Tell me about your decals!



  1. I couldn't agree more that you never know where MP will take you :D This is a great tutorial!

  2. Many thanks, Amy! You're probably busier than a long tailed cat in a room full of rockers, but I hope you try this, and let me know what you think. The best of everything to you on your move back home. I've done that myself, and there's no place like home!
    Thanks for stopping by!