Acrylic paint is a popular medium used by artists and crafters. It dries quickly, is easy to use, flexible and durable. However, unsealed acrylic paint can be vulnerable to damage from moisture, UV light, and wear and tear. Applying a sealant protects the painted surface and helps the art last longer.
Mod Podge is one of the most versatile, easy to use sealants for acrylic paint. It can seal paint on many surfaces – paper, wood, canvas, ceramic, metal, plastic, fabric, glass and more. Mod Podge dries clear, is non-toxic when dry, and cleans up with soap and water.
What is Mod Podge?
Mod Podge is an all-in-one craft glue, sealer and finish made by Plaid Enterprises. It is water-based, non-toxic when dry, dries clear, and comes in matte, glossy and satin.
Mod Podge is decoupage medium, glue and sealer all in one. It can be used for:
- Decoupage – gluing paper or fabric to surfaces for collages and mixed media art
- Adhering embellishments onto crafts and art projects
- Sealing paint, pencil, pastels, and other media
- Finishing and protecting crafts and artwork
Mod Podge comes in different formulas for specific uses:
- Mod Podge Acrylic Sealer – Clear acrylic, waterbase sealer and finish
- Dishwasher-Safe Mod Podge – For glassware, ceramics, plastics
- Outdoor Mod Podge – For outdoor use, waterproof
- Mod Podge Dimensional Magic – Thick, glossy topcoat for dimensional finishes
Using Mod Podge to seal acrylic paint is easy, convenient and budget-friendly. It provides a protective finish that is non-yellowing and flexible.
Advantages of Using Mod Podge to Seal Acrylics
Sealing acrylic paint with Mod Podge offers many benefits:
Protection – It protects acrylic paint from moisture, handling, scratches and UV damage. The sealed surface can be gently cleaned.
Versatile – Mod Podge can be used on porous and non-porous surfaces – paper, wood, glass, plastic, metal, ceramics, fabric, etc.
Non-toxic – Mod Podge is non-toxic and safe for children’s art projects when dry. It has no fumes or odors.
Dries clear – It dries to a clear, glossy finish to make the colors and brushwork visible.
Enhances vibrancy – Sealing helps enhance and saturate the original vibrancy of the acrylic paint.
Easy to apply – Mod Podge is easy to apply with a brush, roller or sponge. It has a smooth, medium viscosity.
Budget-friendly – It is very affordable and available at most craft stores.
Cleanup – Any uncured Mod Podge can be cleaned with soap and water. No need for turpentine or harsh thinners.
Versatile finishes – Mod Podge comes in matte, glossy and satin finishes.
How to Seal Acrylic Paint with Mod Podge
Sealing acrylic paint using Mod Podge is a simple process. Here are the steps:
1. Let acrylic paint dry fully
Acrylic paint dries fast, within 30 minutes to 1 hour. But allow the acrylic painting to dry for at least 24-48 hours before sealing it with Mod Podge. This prevents bubbling or cracking of the sealant over uncured paint.
2. Prepare and clean the surface
Ensure the painting surface is free of dust, debris or grease residues. Clean the surface with a lint-free cloth dampened with water. Allow it to fully dry before sealing.
For surfaces like glass, plastic or metal, wipe with isopropyl alcohol to remove any oils or grease. This helps the Mod Podge adhere well.
3. Apply 1-3 thin coats
Use a foam brush, soft cloth or sponge brush to apply a thin, even layer of Mod Podge over the dry acrylic paint.
Too much Mod Podge may cause yellowing or prevent thorough drying. Thin coats work better than thick globs.
Let each coat dry 2-3 hours before adding the next coat. Apply up to 3 coats for best protection.
4. Let dry fully
It takes Mod Podge about 2-3 hours to dry thoroughly. Allow the final coat to cure overnight before use.
Over uncured layers can disturb the finish and cause clouding or whitish residues.
5. (Optional) Spray with acrylic sealer
For added protection and durability, spray the Mod Podge sealed surface with an acrylic sealer like Krylon UV-Resistant Clear Coating.
This prevents yellowing, resists dirt buildup and provides extra protection for outdoor use.
Tips for Using Mod Podge to Seal Paint
Follow these tips when using Mod Podge as a sealer for best results:
- Apply in a dust-free area to prevent debris getting trapped
- Work in thin coats – 2-3 thin coats are better than 1 thick coat
- Let dry 2-3 hours between coats
- Use soft, lint-free cloth or foam brushes to avoid brush strokes
- For fabric, apply to the backside first to avoid bleeding
- Shake the Mod Podge bottle well before use
- Store with lid tightly closed to prevent drying out
- Seal outdoor projects with Outdoor Mod Podge for waterproofing
- Clean brushes with warm soapy water after use
- Use acrylic sealer spray for added protection
Mod Podge for Specific Surfaces
Mod Podge works well on many different surfaces including:
Sealing Acrylic Paint on Wood
Wood surfaces work very well with Mod Podge. Follow these tips:
- Sand and wipe wood to remove dust before painting
- Apply primer before painting if wood is raw or untreated
- Let acrylic paint cure fully before sealing, at least 48-72 hours
- Use Matte or Satin Mod Podge for a natural wood look
Sealing Acrylic Paint on Canvas
- Stretch and prime canvas before painting for best adhesion
- Let acrylic paint cure at least 48 hours before sealing
- Apply Mod Podge in thin coats, letting dry between layers
- Can use Matte or Gloss Mod Podge
Sealing Acrylic Paint on Paper
Paper needs a little more care when sealing:
- Use thicker paper like cardboard or mixed media paper
- Avoid using too much liquid or oversaturating paper
- Let paint dry fully before sealing, overnight is best
- Handle gently while sealing and drying
- Use Matte or Satin Mod Podge for paper
Sealing Acrylic Paint on Glass
When sealing paint on smooth, non-porous surfaces like glass:
- Clean surface well with isopropyl alcohol before painting
- Use a primer made for glass painting first
- Let paint cure 48-72 hours before applying Mod Podge
- Use a foam brush and thin, even coats
- Dishwasher-safe Mod Podge can be used
Sealing Acrylic Paint on Ceramic
For ceramic bisque:
- Lightly sand smooth glazed ceramics before painting
- Allow paint to cure then seal with Mod Podge
- Dishwasher-safe Mod Podge formulated for ceramics
- Avoid soaking; handwash recommended
Sealing Acrylic Paint on Fabric
Sealing fabric requires some extra care:
- Use fabrics that don’t stretch or bleed easily
- Apply light misting coats of Mod Podge to the back first
- Let dry fully before painting the front
- Seal front with light, thin coats of Mod Podge
- Test first on a fabric scrap before working on actual project
Sealing Acrylic Paint on Shoes
Customizing shoes with acrylic paint has become a popular craft. Here are some tips:
- Clean shoes first and roughen surface slightly with sandpaper
- Use a primer or base coat suitable for the shoe material
- Let paint fully cure before sealing, 72 hours is ideal
- Apply thin coats of Mod Podge and let fully dry between coats
- Spray with acrylic sealer for added protection
- Stuff shoes with paper to hold shape while drying
Sealing Acrylic Paint Outdoors
For outdoor use, make sure to:
- Use exterior acrylic paints formulated for outdoor use
- Allow paint to fully cure before applying Outdoor Mod Podge
- Apply 2-3 coats of Outdoor Mod Podge for waterproof, protective seal
- Reseal every 1-2 years for best results
Longevity of Mod Podge Seal
How long the Mod Podge seal lasts depends on several factors:
- Surface – More porous surfaces may require more frequent sealing
- Exposure – Outdoor pieces will need resealing more often
- Layers – Additional coats creates a more durable seal
- Use and handling – Gentle use prolongs the seal vs rough treatment
On average, Mod Podge can last 1-5 years on well-prepped surfaces indoors. Outdoor pieces may need resealing every 1-2 years. Check pieces periodically and reseal if you notice wear, scratches or fading.
Alternatives to Mod Podge for Sealing Paint
While Mod Podge works beautifully to seal and protect acrylic paint, Here are some alternative sealers to consider:
Using acrylic mediums meant for acrylic painting is another option. These are formulated to be compatible with acrylics:
- Golden GAC 800 – Gloss or satin finish, non-yellowing
- Liquitex Professional Gloss Medium & Varnish – Thin layers provide UV protection
- Winsor & Newton Galeria Acrylic Gloss Varnish – Clear, non-yellowing finish
Apply thin layers with a brush and allow to dry between coats fully. 2-3 coats is ideal for protection.
Acrylic Spray Sealers
Spray sealers give a quick, even coating:
- Krylon UV-Resistant Clear Coating – Gloss finish protects against UV damage
- Rust-Oleum Clear Matte Finish Spray – Matte, non-yellowing protection
- Testors Spray Lacquer – Layer for a glossy, durable finish
Spray paint in a ventilated area. Apply multiple light coats for best results.
For a thick, glassy finish on paintings and artwork, 2-part epoxy resin can be used:
- Provides a durable, plastic-like coating
- Self-levels to a smooth finish
- Enhances depth and vibrancy of colors
Epoxy resin requires precise mixing and skill to apply without drips. It can yellow over time.
Polyurethane is commonly used to seal acrylic paint on wood. Oil-based polyurethane provides a warm gloss:
- Apply over fully cured acrylic paint
- Use thin coats – 2-3 coats for protection
- Allow proper drying time between coats
Water-based polyurethane is also available. It dries faster than oil-based.
As a natural resin-based sealer, shellac can be used over acrylic:
- Provides a light protective coat
- Available as a spray or liquid form
- Very sensitive to alcohol – can be dissolved by alcohol-based products
Shellac is not as durable or flexible as other options for sealing acrylics.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I seal acrylic paint?
Yes, it is recommended to seal acrylic paint, especially if used on surfaces prone to wear like furniture or outdoor art pieces. Sealing protects the paint and can make cleaning easier.
How long should I let acrylic paint dry before sealing?
Acrylics dry quickly, but may take 48-72 hours to cure fully. Wait at least this long before applying a sealer to prevent cracking or bubbling.
What finish of Mod Podge should I use?
It depends on the surface and your preference. Matte has a natural, non-shiny look. Gloss provides vivid colors with a wet-look shine. Satin is midway between matte and glossy.
Can I use Mod Podge over old acrylic paint?
You can seal old, already dried acrylic paint using Mod Podge. Ensure the surface is clean and the paint is fully cured before applying the sealer.
How do I get a smooth finish with Mod Podge?
Apply thin, even coats with a foam brush and allow proper drying time between coats to prevent brush strokes. Sand lightly between coats for a perfectly smooth finish.
Can I use Mod Podge on fabric?
Yes, Mod Podge can be used to seal acrylic paint on fabric. Take extra care to prevent bleeding and test on a fabric scrap first. Apply light misting coats to the back of the fabric before painting the front.
Sealing your acrylic-painted masterpieces with Mod Podge is an easy way to protect them and make them last. Mod Podge goes on easily, dries clear, and provides a smooth, protective seal on porous and non-porous surfaces. Follow the application tips, and your acrylic paint artwork will stay vibrant and protected for many years.