When doing collage/decoupage, is a varnish in addition to Mod-Podge needed?

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Original Post

echoart says

Please pardon this very basic question, but I have to ask.

When I've done collage/decoupage stuff in the past, it's been mostly for myself or my friends, and I just used either regular glue or decoupage medium. When creating items to sell, I want to be SURE that they will last! It seems to me that the final coat or two of Mod-Podge would be enough to seal everything, but am I wrong? Do I need to buy some kind of varnish to use as a final coat? If so, then (1) does the type of varnish depend upon the materials below (such as whether I've decoupaged onto a wooden box, or made a collage on canvas, etc.); and (2) can you recommend a good varnish to use?

Thanks in advance for your answers. I hope I'm not asking too many questions in these forums, but I've so far found Etsy people to be very friendlyl! :)

Posted at 2:55pm Jun 23, 2008 EDT


I have done it both ways. ModPodge dries to a fairly hard finish, and it is a very good basic sealer even when you aren't coating everything several times, which I usually do. But I also have varnished over ModPodge, usually with a basic poly acrylic. I like Crystal Glaze for an ultra shiny finish.

As for collages on canvas, stick to a lightweight poly acrylic varnish if you are going to do that. On wood you can pretty much use absolutely anything.

I seriously go to the hardware store and use water cleanup poly acrylic varnishes of whatever brand they have, and it always turns out very nice. I'm sure others have brand names for you.

Good luck! :)

Posted at 3:02pm Jun 23, 2008 EDT

i do alot of collage outside of etsy and cover my work in polyurethane or resin depending on whether i'm using canvas, cardboard or wood
the customers love it!

Posted at 3:03pm Jun 23, 2008 EDT

Mod podge is CRAP IMO. Its not professional. It never loses its sticky feel. You have to use a polymer acrylic varnish over the top. with any acrylic mediums, there is sticy ness, and if the item gets wet, the fish turns milky white. So best to use poycrylic, or poly urethane over the initial coats.

Posted at 3:03pm Jun 23, 2008 EDT

home depot has an environmentally friendly poly with uv protection that we use for mixed media bits that go in the garden. the can is green

Posted at 3:04pm Jun 23, 2008 EDT

you can get polyurethane by the gallon at the hardware store. It's thinner and gets a better dry finsh. I have heard of prim artists using this polyurethane/varnish mix to "age" dolls, and I have used it myself on my pokes.

Posted at 3:06pm Jun 23, 2008 EDT

Pardon my sloppy typos!

"fish turns milky white"

LOL I meant "finish turns milky white!"

Posted at 3:06pm Jun 23, 2008 EDT

You do need to be careful of layering different clear layers. If they are all acrylic/water based it should be fine; just do a test patch first. A cloudy over lay can occur. For my canvas collages I stick to a simple matte finish,translucent, Gesso, for both base and top coats.


Posted at 3:07pm Jun 23, 2008 EDT

I don't know how other people are using ModPodge, but personally I've never had pieces stay sticky. Ever. And I use it all the time.

Posted at 3:07pm Jun 23, 2008 EDT

budanART says

Even if your ModPodge isn't sticky it's a good idea to seal it with a varnish or something similar so that it can be cleaned in the future. Acrylic is kind of porous and can hold dirt over time.

Posted at 3:13pm Jun 23, 2008 EDT