Introduction: Water & Glue... Who Knew?

Picture of Water & Glue... Who Knew?

Cool and Unusual Uses for Two very Ordinary Things.
This Instructable will save you money AND change the way you look at ordinary things around your house.

Step 1: Two Ordinary Items

Picture of Two Ordinary Items

Mixing just two everyday ingredients, glue and water, you can make unlimited projects.
Start with equal parts glue to water...
*You can add a little more water if you need a thiner consistency for some projects

Step 2: The Mix

Picture of The Mix

Combine the glue and water in a container.
I used an old, clean peanut butter jar.
*Try and find a container that closes tightly and has a wide enough mouth to dip your sponge brush in .
Then shake, shake, shake, until the two ingredients are combined well.

Step 3: What Will You Transform?

Picture of What Will You Transform?

I chose this table I got for free and painted.
It looked a little plain plus I plan on using it as a computer desk so wanted additional durability.
You can use "The Mix" on so many projects -
Tables, lampshades, dressers, boxes, cans, frames, etc....

Step 4: Cut...

Picture of Cut...

I am using gold wrapping paper but you can use paper, fabric, wallpaper, napkins, tissue paper....

Cut or rip to size.
Don't be afraid to leave a little overhang on tables, I will show you the BEST trick to take care of that later.

Step 5: Apply "The Mix"

Picture of Apply "The Mix"

Apply "The Mix" to the object THEN to the BACKSIDE of whatever you are attaching.
It doesn't need to be perfect, it only needs to be completely covered.

Step 6: The 2 Go Together With Another Application

Picture of The 2 Go Together With Another Application

This part can be a little tricky but don't let it scare you.
Lay the paper on the table with the "wet" side against the surface you are attaching it to.
Try and smooth out any bubbles and keep the wrinkles to a minimum.
Then apply another thin layer of "The Mix"
*You can see mine is very wrinkled and there are some bubbles. I have another trick to take care of those pesky little things

Step 7: Trick #1

Picture of Trick #1

Use a hair dryer on warm or hot setting to remove bubbles and wrinkles.
*Don't burn the paper or yourself.

You can also put your project out in the sun on a warm sunny day to eliminate most problems.
*If you have a few problem areas after working with the blow dryer simply apply a thin layer of "The Mix" to the problem areas and use the dryer again.

Step 8: Trick #2

Picture of Trick #2

Notice how all the wrinkles and bubbles have disappeared after using the hairdryer?

For trick #2 you should wait until dry then instead of cutting the paper to the exact size, sand the edges to take off the extra.
This trick gives the most natural looking edge.
Any ragged spots just go over with sand paper again until they come off.
*I usually go around the piece once to remove the majority, then again to clean it up.

Step 9: Choose the Finish

Picture of Choose the Finish

Lots of options here...
You can add additional coats of "The Mix"
You can top coat it with Polyurethane
I have even waxed with clear and dark wax

I decided the gold paper needed a little something so I brushed on a gel stain, waited a few minutes, then wiped off.

Step 10: TaDa.... an Unusual Use for Two Ordinary Things

Picture of TaDa.... an Unusual Use for Two Ordinary Things

The finish looks so much better in person!

Using this "Mix" you save $$ as it's counterpart cost roughly $8 and I made this for $1 AND there is plenty leftover to recreate a few more things.

Step 11: "The Mix" Vs Mod Podge Plus My New Instructable :)

Picture of "The Mix" Vs Mod Podge Plus My New Instructable :)

Mod Podge is Vinyl Acetate
The glue I use is PVA or Poly Vinyl Acetate

Mod Podge purests say there are additional sealers and such in Mod Podge therefore it is better
I am no scientist but I looked up the MSDS for both products and I can tell you I would need a scientist to figure out the difference :)

Check out my other Instructable if you would like to create treasures from discarded or unused pictures and frames -


bhernandez107 (author)2017-11-13

I thought that you were going to make slime ?????????

nancyjaneyoung (author)2017-10-26

Great project! Thanks for sharing how to make "Artsy Fartsy glue. A question, please. Could you put the bonding on the table top and then place the foil on top?

DanaS14 (author)2017-01-07


TracyM89 (author)2016-08-19

I'm a bit confused as "Mod Podge" seems to have several different ... ah... formulas? Each for a different purpose. The one I chose, out of 3 types on the store shelf, I thought was intended specifically for fabric. I was covering heavy card stock with squares of fabric, then a label. The stuff "never" dried! It was tacky for weeks. Needed to be waterproof as was for outdoor garden stakes. Sent it to Mom anyway, eventually. Her hanging garden in a fabric pocketed shoe rack vertical garden deteriorated by the end of 2 years. The "Mod Podge" was still tacky, not in the least bit waterproof, and the so called "permanent" ink just washed away after the first "watering". Such a waste. I hope that setting a hot cup of coffee on you table does not ruin that pretty surface. How could one possibly make the "Mix" waterproof? Best Wishes,

shelbeeray (author)TracyM892016-12-15

It needed to be sealed with an acrylic varnish or polyurethane "varnish". ModPodge is water soluble.

shelbeeray (author)2016-12-15

PVA and water are fine as a sealant. You will still need a varnish or polyurethane coating to protect from water. ModPodge actually contains a form of water soluble varnish. In the waterproof version, they add a waterproof varnish. You can of course, spray a varnish over the top.

Here are a couple of diff recipes:

Is wikihow a competitor? Anyway, the first recipe is a good one. Depending on the surface (don't use on styrofoam or polymer clay without sealing first with white glue or a brand specific sealant.)

I have used several ModPodge variants. Depending on the surface, sometimes the podge will get and remain sticky. A friend who was a chemist tried explaining the interaction to me...soooooooooooooo, regular mod podge has a water soluble varnish in it. It will resist (though is not impervious to oils, etc. but water will make it sticky and leave marks. It always needs to be sealed with an acrylic varnish. Some versions have a different varnish and are water resistant.

PVA is different than VA - talk to a chemist to get an explanation about molecules, chains...(not my field so I gave up trying to figure it out.

wingnutzster (author)2016-06-30

Nice, hobbyists like myself have used cold glue and water as a coating for model aircraft for years, add this mix to brown paper or newspaper and you have a not half bad fiberglass alternative. Here's a question though, would modge podge or this concoction be suitable as an eggshell/protective coating on polystyrene, styrofoam etc?

RichardO1 (author)wingnutzster2016-07-21

Hi wingnuster - I haven't used modge podge or this mix styrofoam before, but I have used undiluted PVA over styrofoam objects before painting them with acrylic or enamel spray cans or nail polish, with no eating away from the solvent. I used 2 coats of PVA to be sure I'd covered everywhere. Modge podge or this version would probably work, but you might need to use more coats to be safe. Hope this helps.

JanetB84 (author)2016-07-02

Great looking desk! Love the hair dryer and sand paper tips. It seemed as soon as I thought, how is that going to work...bam! There was your solution. Did the stain have water proof sealer? If not, would that work with mod podge like mixture? Thank you for this instructables.

DonnaR81 (author)2016-06-30

That is a really nice table project and I had no idea that mod podge was only glue and water..but I would never buy it for the price. Now I don't have to! THANKS!!

stoobers (author)DonnaR812016-06-30

Mod Podge is water proof (ish) when it dries (it dries clear), but school glue will quickly dissolve if it gets wet. If you use titebond 2 instead of white glue, you will have a food and water safe bond (though a little yellow). modpodge is the one to use if you need a clear drying and water resistant glue.

OmarJ3 (author)stoobers2016-07-01

If you make a mistake with Modpodge and need to "unglue" it, I found that liberal applications of methyl hydrate (with an eyedropper or syringe) and some patience will loosen it up safely, .assuming that your working materials are not affected. I used this trick to separate a vinyl covering from a car roof liner that I was restoring but got the initial fit wrong.

amtrudell (author)stoobers2016-06-30

Weldbond is another water-cleanup glue you could use for this. It dries crystal clear and is weatherproof. Made in Canada, but available in US and Australia; check their website ( for store listings.

poppyseedz (author)stoobers2016-06-30

Good tip and info! Thanks for posting.

Alywolf (author)2016-07-01

I bet it smells better too! I personally use Clear acrylic medium from Golden because I cant stand the smell of Mod Podge. This sounds interesting I think I will try it where I use my acrylic medium.

DmitryP2 (author)2016-07-01

It's amazing !

expressionz (author)2016-06-30

Love this!

TeresaM7 (author)2016-06-30

This looks very good, but I have one concern - Elmers school glue is water soluble, even after it dries. What's to prevent serious damage to that beautiful surface if it gets wet? Am I missing something?

ZiggyN (author)2016-06-30

Very cool, thank you, especially from someone who lives in Europe and can't afford UK prices for same! On a side note, I have also used mixes of water and MOSAIC grade glue (the kind that allows adjusting up to 15 mins!) along with other 'stuff' to give some great textures to projects!

davidhalfpenny (author)2016-06-30

Because you've chosen a PVA glue designed to be water soluble (to get it out of School clothes, naturally) your table is now LESS durable than when you started. For durability, a bare wood top can be scrubbed and bleached, getting more beautiful all the time.

nbellosi (author)2016-06-30

LOVE IT!! thank for the information! :)

TheAssemblagist made it! (author)2016-06-30

Great instructions. nice table work, too, including the how to get rid of bubbles info -- some people will really need that, the air bubbles can confound us all. I tried my heat gun instead of a hair dryer and it was not a good fit (toxic fumes and more bubbles) but the effect made for an interesting painting ... thanks for posting. I won first place in juried art competition with an assemblage, the walls of box were done using this glue/modpodge homemade method!!

notimeoff (author)2015-07-05

This is a wonderful Instructable I have studied "glue" for close to 30 years. it's nice "hands on" like this. good on yah.

Artsy Fartsy (author)notimeoff2015-08-10

That is so nice of you to say

Tell me how you study glue?

notimeoff (author)Artsy Fartsy2015-08-11

Well I started with a friend of my uncle who restored staraverys and that got me started on glue and I help with preservation and restoration at the Coney Island USA museum. I'm the shop manager, we build and repair everything in the building and museum.

Artsy Fartsy (author)notimeoff2015-10-03

That sounds amazing to me
I would love to work, repair, build for a living.
Next time I am in NY I will make a trip to see the museum as I never have.

buck2217 (author)2015-06-29

I have used a pva/water nix for years as a plaster sealer you then use far less paint or if tiling it slows the tile cemebt drying too quickly and the tiles falling off

Artsy Fartsy (author)buck22172015-06-30

I have never used it for that but will in the future.
Thank you I hope you liked the Instructable

MikB (author)Artsy Fartsy2015-07-04

PVA and water (The Mix) is also used when gluing up wood. End-grain on a piece of wood is like a sponge. You try and glue that to another piece of wood, and the PVA (white) glue is sucked into the wood and leaves a weak joint.

Enter the mix. Soak the end of the wood with a brush, and let it dry. The water helps it get right into the end and seal it up. Now when you apply PVA glue to the join, it doesn't get sucked up!

Artsy Fartsy (author)MikB2015-08-10

Thanks for the info!
I have learned so many cool new things from everyone here

buck2217 (author)buck22172015-06-29

*mix ...........

buck2217 (author)buck22172015-06-29

oh and cement

jonikam (author)2015-07-05

The Mix can also be used to make plastic surfaces"paintable" without having to resort to aerosol paints. When my son was little he wanted to be Link for Halloween. I bought a kids plastic shield, coated it with white glue and a little water mix and then painted the Hyrule design with ordinary acrylic craft paint.It held up to "swordplay", for a while anyway.The glue mix gives the paint something to hold onto.

Like your desk and the poor man's gold leaf effect,too.

Artsy Fartsy (author)jonikam2015-08-10

Oh great info, I will try it out!

schabanow (author)2015-07-05

Thank you for "wrapping paper + wax" as a decorative texture. The idea looks really powerful. "Cheap'n'vicious" as russians say. )) A lot of ways to vary the texture to fit your exact taste. As you've noticed. Good luck and thanks again!

Artsy Fartsy (author)schabanow2015-08-10

Why thank you sir!

magifarm (author)2015-07-05

When I was growing up in the 70s, we decoupaged all sorts of stuff using the Elmer's glue and water mix. We very carefully cut pictures from wrapping paper and bags to decoupage, with Holly Hobbie being a favorite. We were upcycling before anyone knew what that was :-). Thanks for this fun instructable that brought back lots of memories!

Artsy Fartsy (author)magifarm2015-08-10

Thank you so much for the comment
So many things we did "long ago" are more fun and very useful

discgolftrainnut (author)2015-07-05

I've been using the glue/water mix for puzzles for 30 years. Puzzle glue, my butt.

Haha, like me I always must find and use the least expensive option

jlyvers743 (author)2015-08-10

I love the table idea! I'm not sure I understand how to use the hair dryer or sunlight to get out wrinkles. Does the heat just make the mix shrink and pull out the wrinkles? Do you think adding some glycerin to the mix would safely (without damaging paper) extend the working time to help get out wrinkles and bubbles? Thank you for posting this tutorial with such great photos and instructions.

Artsy Fartsy (author)jlyvers7432015-08-10

I would not add glycerin
The heat from the hair dryer really does magically take out all the wrinkles and bubbles! (I am sure it is by shrinking)
Thank you

eka1 (author)2015-07-05

You are brilliant!! Thank you for your in depth tutorial and your side by side comparisons

Artsy Fartsy (author)eka12015-08-10

You are too kind!
Thank you

Itnotizzy (author)2015-07-31

So basically it's modge podge with ideas

Artsy Fartsy (author)Itnotizzy2015-08-02

Pretty much
A few tips that I have learned along the way too :)

Cowboycarnival (author)2015-07-17


Not sure I can help as I am not sure what you are talking about

you need a chill pill

JulieD8 (author)2015-07-22

What an excellent idea and so easy to do!!

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Bio: We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give. We make an Instructable to share .... :)
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