Mod Podge, long used for decoupage crafts, has morphed in recent years. Now there's a glue-and-sealer product for virtually every surface, from fabric and wood to glass and metals.
Other decoupage brands exist, as well. And decoupage crafts? Projects run the gamut, including purses, high-heeled shoes, backpacks, scratched furniture, glass vases, dishware, canvases, planters, even bicycles.
Recognizable for its retro label, Mod Podge has been made by Plaid Enterprises Inc., of Norcross, Ga., for more than 40 years. During the product's infancy in the 1960s and '70s, it was popular to decoupage wood furniture, cigar boxes and serving trays with magazine clippings.
"They liked to do a lot of wood items," says Amy Anderson, who blogs full time for Plaid Enterprises at Mod Podge Rocks and has written a similarly titled book by Lark Crafts.
"Now it's a lot different because people will Mod Podge anything to anything: junk mail, fabric scraps."
Anderson has received queries from people wanting to decoupage snakeskin, kitchen appliances and car dashboards. (Her answers: Test the snakeskin on a small project. Decoupage only the fridge or washer/dryer front door, not the entire appliance. And please don't decoupage your car interior. Appliances and car interiors can heat up, melting the Mod Podge. "Your dashboard could get really sticky," warns Anderson.)
Plaid Enterprises now makes nearly two dozen varieties of Mod Podge, according to design director Jackie Wynia, from the original matte and gloss to three-dimensional, dishwasher-safe and glow-in-the-dark formulas. Plaid also manufacturers the Martha Stewart Crafts line of decoupage finishes and accessories.
Other decoupage brands include DecoArt Decoupage Glue and Aleene's Collage Pauge Instant Decoupage.
A perfectly useful decoupage medium also can be made at home, says Bethany Kohoutek, editor of Better Homes & Garden's Do It Yourself magazine.
However, a homemade product, such as a mixture of white glue and water, may be less reliable and could yellow or decay over time. Kohoutek suggests using it only for kids' crafts that aren't meant to be saved.
"Making ornaments with kids that I want to have for posterity? Then I definitely want to buy the product that was made for that finish," says Kohoutek.
Some of her favorite decoupaging ideas in Do It Yourself magazine include a cheap dresser covered in marbled paper; accent walls; lampshades.
Hannah Milman, executive editorial director of crafts and holiday for Martha Stewart Living, suggests decoupaging leather handbags, backpacks, canvas shoes, bangles and other jewelry, phone covers, eyeglass cases, glass tumblers, notebooks, clothing, pencils, furniture knobs and headboards.
From Anderson, the blogger: Mason jars, large and small canvases, small decor items, suitcases and bicycle helmets.
Decoupaging is simple: Cut out items if necessary; glue them to the surface of your choice; cover everything with another coat of decoupage glue; let it dry. Surfaces that can be decoupaged include nearly anything except some plastics.
"It really depends on the plastic," Anderson says. "An industrial plastic, you have to sand it and use a plastics primer to see if it'll work."
Wynia thinks Mod Podge has remained popular because it appeals to all creative levels. "You can work with it as a beginner and be satisfied, and you can take that product with you as you grow as a creative person," she says.
"I think what it touches on are some fine art skills," she says. "That's what we (as artists) want to do - we want to draw and paint and color."
Here's one project from Plaid Enterprises Inc.:
Black and White Mod Podge Shoes
Mod Podge Sparkle, 8 oz.
Pair of women's shoes
½-inch flat brush
Black and white paper napkins, attractively designed with three layers
1. Peel apart each napkin into the three layers. Cut the middle layer into squares, generally about an inch in size. You may need a few smaller and some rectangular pieces to fit your shoes.
2. Working a small section at a time, apply Mod Podge Sparkle to the shoe, and then adhere square napkin pieces one at a time to the wet Mod Podge. After each shoe is covered, allow them to dry.
3. Using other napkins, cut around the printed napkin design (such as a grouping of flowers). Glue these designs to the shoes. Allow to dry completely.
4. Apply Mod Podge Sparkle over each shoe to seal and protect. The more you add, the more sparkle you will get.
Tip: When gluing napkin pieces to the shoes, try picking up each square with your wet brush. This will keep your hands from getting sticky.