RSS Feed

My Secret for Easy, Wrinkle Free Mod Podge Projects

Easy Wrinkle Free Mod PodgeI am not one to pronounce that I have the BEST way of doing anything.

You could call it nice, Midwestern humility or you could (more accurately) call it lack of confidence.

I just feel like the second you say “I have the best way” of doing something the natural next step is for someone to say “there is a better way.”

But despite that,  when Christopher asked me how I avoid wrinkles in my Mod Podge projects I thought to myself “I have the BEST way!”

I didn’t invent this and it’s not really earth-shattering or anything but I don’t see it mentioned very often.  (Also when, long ago, I included it in the steps of a tutorial people kinda freaked on me so I thought perhaps I was just making things more difficult.)  But I’ve been doing this for years and years and it works really well for me every time.

For the purposes of this tutorial I’m just going to make one of my 6×9 patent signs.

Here are the basics of what I usedPerfect Wrinkle Free Mod Podge Technique

  • Wood
  • Matte Mod Podge (in a squeeze bottle – explanation below)
  • Laser Print Out of my graphic
  • Roller tool (totally optional)
  • Foam Brush
  • Paper towels

and what is my big secret!?The secret to wrinkle free Mod Podge projects

a bowl of water.

Yeah, I wish it was a more exciting reveal too but what can I say?  It works!

OK to lay some basics out.

Printing: For this to work you must have a laser (or toner based) print. Ink jet prints wont work. I have a laser printer at home and for larger print jobs I go to Staples or Kinkos.

Paper: For most of my work I use Staples Brand Laser Paper, bright white 28lb. But I have also used just plain copy/print paper and all kinds of commercially printed paper like scrap book paper, wrapping paper etc without any problems.

The only paper that hasn’t worked? Tissue paper (too thin) and cardstock (too thick).

Matte Mod Podge: This is the formula I use to stick things down.  There are a lot of different Mod Podge formulas and I use may of them but I almost always start with Matte

Squeeze Bottle. I do a lot of Mod Podging. I mean A LOT. Every day a lot. So, I find it’s easier to just pour the Mod Podge into a squeeze bottle. It’s quick, simple, neat and I can control how much Mod Podge I use and I waste a lot less. (side note, I lost the cap to the squeeze bottle several years ago and it doesn’t seem to make any difference!)

Water: Soaking the paper in a shallow bowl of water for just a few seconds lets the fibers of the paper relax a bit which makes it much easier to smooth into place.

So, here what I do and the order I do it in for all my Mod Podge Projects.

1) Squeeze out the Mod Podge onto the surface of the woodEasy Wrinkle Free Mod Podge Projects

2) Drop the image into the water.avoid wrinkles in Mod Podge Projects

3) Spread the Mod Podge around in an even layer.Easy way to avoid wrinkles with Mod Podge

4) I pull the paper out of the water and (sorry I couldn’t take a picture of this) holding the paper in my left hand I use my right index and middle finger to gently remove any excess water. Just a couple of swipes.

5) I then lay the paper down on the wood and smooth out with my fingers. There is also plenty of slide-ability at this point so I can move the image around until I get it where I want it.

6) Once the paper is in place I use the roller to get rid of any air pockets.avoiding wrinkles in Mod Podge

The roller is a very recent addition to my arsenal and I only use it for larger items like this. For years I just used my fingers and that’s all I use on things like my coasters.

7) I then use a small section of a paper towel to lightly wipe away any excess water or Mod Podge.

8) Once the whole thing is thoroughly dry I go back in and trim away any excess paper and apply whatever sealing coat I’m using (Hard Coat Mod Podge, Gloss Mod Podge etc).

Soaking Time: I let the paper soak just as long as it takes me to spread the Mod Podge around – so maybe 10-20 seconds depending on the size of what I’m doing.

I’ve seen advice to let the paper soak long enough that it curls up and then uncurls. I find that makes it more prone to tearing – esp if you’re working with basic printer paper.

Sometimes my paper does curl up a bit but it I just smooth it out when I apply it to the wood.

THE ONLY DOWNSIDE

The only downside that I’ve found with this method is that as the paper relaxes it sometimes expands a little bit. That’s only a problem if I’m working on an inner surface (like a tray or the inside bottom of a box) and I have to be super precise.

Aaaaand……. that is my big secret!  Soak the paper in water for a few seconds.  It may take a few trys before you get the method down but I would say it works and works beautifully for me about 99% of the time.

I hope that’s helpful to you when next you Mod Podge.  If you have any questions fire away and I’ll do my best to answer.

 

Wine Bottle Coaster from PVC Cap Tutorial

Wine Bottle Coaster Tutorial Cheltenham RoadOne of the things I admire most about my mom and my sisters is their ability to look at something mundane and see all the possibilities for what that thing could be.

My sister’s annual luncheon is a great example and my mom was always doing crazy inventive things for parties or school projects.

I don’t have quite the same gift – or at least I have it on a much more basic level.  Whereas I tend more toward the “Eureka!  that round thing could be a different round thing!”  they see a round thing and think “three of those round things could be serving platter shaped like a Christmas tree!” So, although I’m not quite in their league I do enjoy prowling around the aisle of Home Depot playing the “what else could that be?” game.

My latest Mod Podge Rocks project comes from the plumbing section of Home Depot and I thought it might be good for upcoming spring/summer parties.PVC Cap becomes a Wine Bottle Coaster Tutorial Cheltenham Road

And while I’m not really under the illusion that anyone really NEEDS wine bottle coasters I thought they might be fun to have on a table. The project is so inexpensive and so simple you could do one just to coordinate with a specific event and not have blown the budget.

I just combined a basic plumbing part ($1.80), some paper and cork to make a simple, decorative one.Cheap DIY Wine Bottle Coaster Tutorial

Head on over to Mod Podge Rocks if this might be up your alley.

It also occurred to me as I made this that you could do the same thing to make cool little dishes to hold keys, coins etc.

DIY Tray Using Scrap Wood and Dollar Store Napkins

DIY Wood Tray

I had a few folks ask for a tutorial on the napkin/mod podge technique I showed in the last post.

Your wish is my command.

It really is very, very easy and when I’m done explaining you will shout:

“Honey!  Come quick!  David has found yet another way to glue stuff to wood!!!!!”

It’s a gift.

The supplies are simple. Here is what I used:DIY Tray with Dollare Store Napkins, Scrap Wood and Mod Podge

 

  • Scrap Wood
  • Napkins from the Dollar Store
  • Matte Mod Podge (the pic shows Furniture Matte but the original MP Matte formula is just fine)
  • Hard Coat Mod Podge
  • Wood Stain

Not Pictured

  • Wood Glue (needed only if you’re making this particular tray)
  • Clamps (see above parenthetical thought)
  • Orbital Sander with 220 grit sandpaper (you could do it by hand if you don’t have the orbital)

First up I just stained the top edges and sides of my scrap wood and, once dry, gave them a light sanding to smooth things out just a bit.  A certain amount of roughness is fine – even preferable – so don’t get too aggressive with the sanding.

While the stain was drying I separated the napkin layers (mine were 2-ply) – you want the thinnest possible version of your napkin.Mod Podge with NapkinsAfter trimming the napkin to fit the width of the board I laid down some Mod Podge and smoothed the napkin into place. Wrinkles are inevitable here and that’s fine – they just add to the final look in my opinion.Dollar Store Napkins and Mod PodgeOnce the Mod Podge had really, thoroughly dried I went back in with my sander set at a fairly low speed.

I went over the edges, using the sander to cut away any overhanging napkinDistressed Trayand then, using very little pressure went over the whole thing sanding until I got the look I liked.

The sanding will take away the edges and sand off a bit of the top of any wrinkle which gives a nice texture.  It also allows just a bit of the wood grain to show through.

For this tray project I then used wood glue and clamps to connect the boards together*DIY simple tray with scrap wood and dollar store napkins

Once the glue had dried I went over the surface with a couple of coats of Hard Coat Mod Podge for durability and with the addition of some handles I was done.DIY Tray Tutorial

*Since there is no structure supporting the boards this is what you would call a “light duty” tray. For a sturdier version I would some kind of support on the bottom – either a backer made out of some thin sheet wood or perhaps just strips of wood screwed in place to give it a bit more strength.

You can see in this close up how a lot of the underlying stain gets sanded away but what remains leaves a cool looking, sorta burned edge where the napkin meets the wood.  You can also see how any wrinkles get sanded down a bit and add to the texture.Mod Podge Napkins onto wood

Further Thoughts:

In looking at the pics I think it might look good to extend the napkins over the sides of the outer edges just for a more completed look.

The only downside of this iteration is that while the wood strips are long and rectangular the napkins are square so there is some overlapping of the graphic.  I either need to make smaller trays or find really huge napkins.

Using tissue paper rather than napkins would be a good work-around for the above issue.

And there you have it!  Stuff!  Glued to Wood!

 

 

 

Continuing to Experiment and a Christmas Gift Update

Thanks so much for the feedback about the HOME sign keyholder . Truly appreciated!  I’ve “gone back to the drawing board” to incorporate some of your ideas and few of my own.  And I think it has real possibilities.

I’m continuing to experiment with new ideas while simultaneously attempting to use all those craft supplies that stack up due to the “Oh this has so many cool possibilities! I must purchase it!” thinking that plagues me.

Sometimes playing around leads to great things. Sometimes it leads nowhere.

Let’s start with nowhere first shall we?

One of my vows for this year is to actually USE the Silhouette machine I bought on impulse a loooooong time ago.

I had also bought (a while ago……OK, to save time you can just fill in the phrase “a while ago” every time I mention purchasing something in this post), bought several little glass milk bottles. I also wanted to try Armor Etch glass etching cream.

In addition I received some Mod Podge Tints that I wanted to experiment with.

Each on it’s own was fine. Together…..I kinda made a mess.

First up using the Etching Cream.

The Silhouette worked perfectly in creating the stencil.Milk Bottle Etch

The Etching Cream worked fine – not quite as dramatic a difference between the etched and non-etched glass.

So I thought why not use the tint! It will make the dark part darker and the clear part different.

Not so much.Cream Bottles Tinted

Not horrible (and it hadn’t completely dried yet) – all the products worked just as advertised – they just didn’t work together very well.

……..also…..blue milk bottles.  IT WAS A PHASE!  I WAS EXPERIMENTING!!!!!

Anyway.

Not really knowing when to let a mediocre idea go I thought I’d try again!

I grabbed a vase and, in a real stroke of creative genius etched the word “VASE” on it.Etched VaseNo more confusing glassware in my house, no sir!

Then I taped off the etched part and tinted the outside of the glass.Etched and Tinted Vase

Interesting.Tinted Etched VaseNot awful. Not great. Interesting.

So.  Things were learned, supplies explored, I didn’t injure myself so….good….I guess.

Up next, and with better results, I tried out a new way of using Mod Podge and paper napkins.

I sanded and stained some scrap wood and grabbed some cheap napkins from the dollar store.Mod Podge with Napkins(I may do a tutorial on this at some point if I decide I like it so forgive a few skipped steps here.)

Basically you pull the napkins apart, Mod Podge them into place and then use an orbital sander so distress them and bring out some texture.

I really like the resultsNapkins and Mod Podge

You can see how the sander lets the wood sorta show through the super thin napkin.  And the wrinkles that are inevitable when working with thin paper just become a part of the look.Distress Board with Napkins and Mod PodgeI really like it!

I’m not totally sure what I want to do with this new-found skill but I like it.

I mean, you could make trays I guess or coat racks but I’m trying to think of something new to do.

Thoughts?

And finally:

A CHRISTMAS GIFT UPDATE

I got together with some friends before going to a movie recently and the occasion allowed me to say what I’ve been longing to say since my father’s Christmas gift arrived:

RELEASE THE CRACKERRACK!!!

Happy to report that although I swapped in some non-compliant edibles the rack performed beautifully and was much admired.The Infamous CrackerRack by ES Cheaney

Also, my mother informed me that it was her idea that I would use the toast rack as a bill sorter. If she says that the proper use of a 300 year old piece of valuable, handmade, silver is to hold my Ikea bill who am I to argue?

Go small

So, last week was all about big and this week is all about smaller.

The good thing about this slightly slower time of year is that I have time to play around and experiment (look for Positive Thinking: The Upside of Making No Money by Cheltenham Road – coming to your local Barnes and Noble store)

The Muse came up with a smart idea (for newer readers “The Muse” is an actual person, not a voice in my head or some imaginary conversation I’m having with Olivia Newton John so don’t be alarmed).

She suggested that perhaps I could make smaller HOME signs that would work as key holders.

I really like the idea because I’m a big fan of making practical stuff.  I mean I’m all about decoration but if it can be useful decoration that’s even better.

So I started playing around.

I made 4.5″ HOME lettersHome Sign Keyholder by Cheltenham Road

Attached them to a base boardWood Sign Key Holder by Cheltenham RoadAdded little hooks (there would be more hooks of course – these were the only two I had on hand).Vintage Los Angeles HOME sign keyholder by cheltenham roadI like it!

Well, I sort of like it.  This is where the playing around comes in.

I think perhaps the base board doesn’t need to be as thick. Maybe two strips of wood rather than a big solid backer wold be better?

Some magnets along with the hooks?

I will re-consult with The Muse.

What do you all think?

Happy Super Bowl Sunday to all!

go BIG

It has been a week of big.

I did (and am still doing, honestly) a big clean out of the garage workshop.

It had gotten bad. Real bad.

It’s much better now. I wouldn’t call it clean or showplace but I can move around freely have places to set things down which is a definite step up.

And I’ve made a vow to NEVER have to do this again. Yes, I know I will have to clean regularly and do tidying and such but I never want to reach the point where I just look at the mess and feel like it’s insurmountable. That was how I was feeling. I’d just look at it and think “but I don’t know what to DO with that pile of things/scraps/pieces that’s why it’s a pile!”

The goal here is to get the factory part of Cheltenham Road running smoothly so I have more time for the creative part – ie the fun part.

And speaking of big and fun.

A customer at the CoOp wanted a subway sign but he wanted a BIG subway sign. 6 feet tall big!

I had to borrow a car to get the lumber.

The slats alone took up my entire dining room table.Super Large Custom Subway Graphic Sign by Cheltenham RoadEach slat is 33″ long.
I’ve made large ones but this was the biggest.Extra Large Custom Subway Art Sign by Cheltenham RoadThe customer was pleased and I learned a lot of stuff along the way.*

And then there was the BIG change of pace.

I hope the following wont’ offend anyone and I do apologize if it does.

I don’t swear a lot myself but I do think well chosen swear words can be very, very funny.

So when an Etsy customer asked if I could make her a custom coaster set and then described what she wanted I had to say yes

Because it made me laugh really hard.Coaster SetA bit “off-brand” I will admit and I’m not totally sure I would put them in my house but I appreciate the directness of the command.

And now it’s on to other big things.

New ideas!

New ideas that I can finally get to because I can FIND stuff!

Oh!  And the timer idea is really working.  It’s keeping me much more focused and really helping me make (much needed) separation between work-time and living-time.  When you work from home those things kind of tend to mush up against each other and I think both suffer for it – I wasn’t working as much as I thought I should nor was I relaxing and enjoying myself as much as I needed to.  I’m still working on it but it it definitely moving in the right direction.

*If you wanted to make your own, similar subway artwork I did a tutorial on it a long time ago over at Mod Podge Rocks.

Vintage Dairy Label Coasters Tutorial

Vintage Dairy Label Coaster Set Tutorial  by Cheltenham RoadI make coasters (it’s possible you already know this).

What I don’t make is round coasters. I’ve tried in the past but never quite got it worked out to where the effort matched the reward.

While poking around the Dollar Store for my Halloween Candle Project I stumbled across a ton of plain, round, plastic coaster blanks.

It seemed like they had possibilities!

I was excited and full of ideas!

I snapped up a set and rushed home!

……And put them in a box and didn’t think about them for months.

It’s how I roll.

But I finally came up with a plan and, because Wylie E Coyote is my spirit animalwylie e coyote business card

I thought “why not show everyone how to make coasters so they don’t have to go to the hassle of buying them from me!”

So, you can check out the full tutorial over on Mod Podge Rocks (and then buy coasters from me. It’s just the right thing to do).

They proved to be pleasantly simple to make using stuff I (mostly) had on hand.DIY Dairy Label Coasters from the Dollar Store TutorialAnd I love that they came out looking sorta like over sized milk bottle caps Easy DIY coasters from the Dollar Store

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,493 other followers

%d bloggers like this: