Mod Podge is a fun and inexpensive art tool that can be used in a multitude of ways, especially as glue and a sealer. It’s even dishwasher-safe and available in different colors and finishes!
Because it is highly versatile, it’s natural to wonder if it is food-safe and whether you can use it to seal things that will touch your food, like a plate or a mug.
So, is Mod Podge food safe? Unfortunately, Mod Podge is not approved by the FDA to be used on surfaces that are likely to come into contact with food. That means using Mod Podge to seal things like plates and mugs is definitely out of the question.
That’s not the end of the world, however, since Mod Podge is still a highly functional and versatile material to use in your crafting room. If you are looking for some safe Mod Podge usage or hoping to find some food-safe alternatives for Mod Podge, read more to find the answers!
What Is Mod Podge?
Mod Podge has been very popular among the arts and crafts community in recent years, but did you know that it was invented nearly 60 years ago?
Jan Wetstone invented the product in 1967. It can be used to glue together various materials such as fabric paper and can even be used to seal non-porous surfaces like plastic, glass, or ceramics. Some artists even use it to transfer ink into wood.
Mod Podge is a type of resin that’s made from polyvinyl acetate (PVA). It’s commonly used as an ingredient in paints and glues.
If you have used this stuff before, you’ll know that it looks exactly like the type of clear glue that’s usually used in school. It’s white and has some viscosity that makes it quite easy to apply.
Compared to other types of glue that are commonly used in crafts (like PVA glue or epoxy glue), Mod Podge is also non-toxic and doesn’t have a strong smell.
As a result, it works great as an adhesive for porous materials like paper or fabric. Because Mod Podge dries clear, it can also work as a sealant for non-porous surfaces to protect them.
You should know that Mod Podge is a brand that is synonymous with the product. The brand Mod Podge actually came out with quite a few Mod Podge products, which include the classic adhesive/sealant, but also dishwasher-safe Mod Podge, Outdoor Mod Podge (which is extra durable and waterproof for outdoor use), and hard coat Mod Podge.
You can find the classic Mod Podge in a matte, satin, or glossy finish. Because of this, you can also use Mod Podge as a finish to add a layer of gloss (or matte) finish to your creation.
As you can tell, this product is a jack-of-all-trades that can be plenty useful in your craft corner, especially if you want something that is convenient, accessible, and non-toxic for everyday use.
Mod Podge is an excellent multi-purpose sealer, glue, and finish that can be used on a variety of different surfaces. Once dry, it forms a protective finish over your project.
The most popular uses of Mod Podge are:
- Sealing oven-bake clay items to give them a protective finish. A glossy coat of Mod Podge will make these DIY items look like they were kiln-glazed.
- Sealing small wooden items like jewelry trays or coasters to enhance their durability and waterproof ability
- Sealing mason jars and other glass items
- Gluing decorations on paper and cardstock in your scrapbook
If you’ve got some extra time (and Mod Podge) on your hands, you might want to take a look at this awesome video from the JOANN Fabric and Craft Stores channel on YouTube explaining 5 fun ways to use this versatile material.
Is Mod Podge Food-Safe?
Because Mod Podge is non-toxic and safe to use, many crafters often wonder if they can use Mod Podge to seal things that will touch their food regularly, such as bowls and plates.
Although it’s considered non-toxic, it is definitely not safe to consume. This is because Mod Podge has not been approved by the FDA to be food-safe, which means that you cannot use Mod Podge on DYI bowls and plates, things that will need to touch your food regularly.
It’s not recommended to eat off plates that have been sealed with Mod Podge on the ‘food side.’ The sealant will surely crack and peel, and tiny particles of Mod Podge can get into the food that you eat, which can be damaging to your health.
If you use dishwasher-safe Mod Podge on a DIY bowl or plate, it’s best to keep it on the outside of the bowl (the side that doesn’t touch your food). As long as your food (or your mouth) won’t be touching the Mod-Podge-sealed side directly, you’ll be good to go.
With things that will touch your food, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. So, if you are sure that you are making an item that will need to handle your food or drinks, you should opt for some of the food-safe alternatives we’ll talk about later in this article.
Is Mod Podge Dishwasher-Safe?
Because Mod Podge cures to become a clear, water-resistant film around a surface, most people assume that it is dishwasher-safe.
However, the answer is not that simple. This is because, to be able to withstand the dishwasher, the sealant needs to withstand both heat and water.
Your dishwasher uses heat to be able to disinfect the dishes effectively. If the sealant cannot withstand heat, your dishes will be ruined after going through a dishwashing cycle.
So, is Mod Podge dishwasher-safe? Yes, but only some types of Mod Podge are dishwasher-safe. There are formulas of Mod Podge that are created for this exact purpose – to be able to withstand the heat of the dishwasher.
So, if you are hoping to use Mod Podge on a dishwasher-safe item, you can opt for the dishwasher-safe Mod Podge formula.
Food-Safe Alternatives to Mod Podge
If you love the versatility of Mod Podge and want to find a food-safe alternative to use with your dishwares, you’ll be glad to find that there are plenty of food-safe alternatives to Mod Podge on the market.
Since Mod Podge can be used as a sealant or as an adhesive, let’s take a look at a food-safe alternative for each use below.
Alternative For Sealing
A durable, waterproof, and food-safe alternative to Mod Podge is simply epoxy.
Now, you may think that epoxy cannot be all that safe because it has a strong chemical smell after mixing, and that’s mainly because epoxy emits a lot of VOCs.
While that is very true – epoxy is definitely not safe to consume while it is still in its liquid form – cured epoxy is considered food-safe.
In fact, most epoxy, when it is cured, is considered food-safe. However, if you want to be safe, you can find epoxy that is approved by the FDA to be food-safe to use in your projects.
Epoxy is a powerful sealant that is waterproof and very durable when it is completely cured. It has been very popular in recent years because of its versatility and dependable result.
However, epoxy can be a bit time-consuming to mix, and as mentioned, it does emit VOCs when it is still in its liquid form. These factors make it a less preferable option when it comes to a quick craft project.
In addition, epoxy is not considered dishwasher safe, even if it is completely cured. This is because the epoxy will melt when it meets a temperature higher than 120°F, which means that it won’t survive the hot water used during a dishwashing cycle.
Because of this characteristic, although cured epoxy is food safe, it won’t be able to handle hot drinks and food without the epoxy being melted into your food and drinks.
However, if you are sealing things like kitchen counters, coasters, or salad bowls, epoxy would be a perfect choice.
Alternative For Gluing
If you are looking for a food-safe adhesive, then look no further than PVA glue.
Polyvinyl acetate (PVA glue) is a type of glue that is commonly used for various applications, including woodworking or bookbinding. It creates a very strong bond while remaining flexible after it is completely cured.
Now, we should preface by saying that not every type of PVA glue is food-safe, and if you are unsure if the PVA glue that you have is food-safe, then it most likely isn’t food-safe.
However, there are some food-safe PVA glue options that are on the market. If you are looking specifically for a food-safe option, you can surely find food-safe PVA glue for your particular project.
Similar to Mod Podge, PVA glue dries clear to create a very strong adhesive for things like wood, paper, or plastic. That means if you are making a wooden salad bowl or cutting board, you can safely use food-safe PVA glue in your project.
How To Use Mod Podge
Despite not being food-safe, Mod Podge is still a well-loved product that can be used in many different craft projects on a variety of surfaces.
If you are using Mod Podge as an adhesive, it’s really no different than using any other adhesives. However, if you are using Mod Podge as a clear sealant, there are a few things you should consider.
Let’s discuss how to use Mod Podge correctly so that it will be perfect for your project.
1. Prepare Your Material
Mod Podge is often used as a sealant for hard surfaces such as oven-baked ceramics, tiles, or plastic.
Before sealing your surface, the first step is to clean the surface thoroughly to make sure that there is no dirt, grease, or anything that will affect the performance of the Mod Podge.
2. Prepare The Mod Podge
If you have a Mod Podge container that has been sitting around on your shelves for a while, you will need to mix it a bit to make sure that it is not separated.
The best way to prepare the Mod Podge before using it would be to roll the container around a few times while the cap is still on. Doing so will make sure that the solution is well-mixed before you use it.
Some people also shake the Mod Podge container before using it. While shaking can also mix the Mod Podge effectively, it also generates a lot of bubbles, which can be trapped in your application when you try to apply the Mod Podge.
Use a brush to apply thin, even layers on Mod Podge to your surface.
You will need to apply two to four coats of Mod Podge to obtain a good layer of protection for your surface. If you want to put your item through the dishwasher, it is recommended to apply at least four coats of Mod Podge to obtain maximum protection.
If you want to apply more than one layer, it is good to wait for the first layer to dry completely (which takes about an hour) before going in with the next one. This can help you evaluate the appearance of the sealant and allow the Mod Podge to settle, which can prevent bubbles as well.
Here’s where most people have a lot of issues with Mod Podge. If you apply very thick layers, or if you go in with a second layer before the first one is completely dry, the result may be very off from what you expect. The Mod Podge will look cloudy, patchy, or uneven.
To avoid these issues, it’s best to work slowly and in thin, even layers. Then, wait for at least 30 minutes to an hour before going in with the next layer.
To make sure that the sealant works correctly, you should allow the Mod Podge layer to cure completely, which takes about 72 hours before using your product or putting it in the dishwasher.
The curing process allows the Mod Podge to harden completely and gain its strength, so if you try to wash the product before the Mod Podge is cured completely, the sealant can be washed off or won’t work very well.
How To Dry Mod Podge Faster
Mod Podge’s dry time depends on the conditions of the area you are using it. Generally, Mod Podge should be dried to the touch in about 15-20 minutes at room temperature. However, if the room is colder or more humid, it will take longer to dry, or it may even dry to become white instead of clear.
Keep in mind that drying is different from curing. Mod Podge can feel dry to the touch, but the sealant still needs some time to actually harden and obtain its strength, which is called the curing process. Mod Podge can take up to 72 hours to cure.
Before the Mod Podge layer is completely cured, you should not use it or put it in the dishwasher – the sealant will still be quite fragile and will not be able to survive the harsh dishwashing cycle.
If you are in a hurry and want to speed up the curing process, you can try placing it in a dryer room with a slightly warmer temperature.
Most crafters strongly recommend against drying Mod Podge with a hairdryer or placing it around a heater because there’s a high chance that the Mod Podge won’t dry evenly and can become patchy.
Instead, the best way to ensure that Mod Podge dries (and cures) quickly and properly is to apply thin, even layers and wait for each layer to dry before applying the next one.