Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Little Hybrid Tip: Gel Medium

Good Saturday morning! Nikki here, bright (or rather, dark!) and early! I hope you're getting to sleep late this morning and enjoy a relaxing day--my husband's so-called "smart" phone woke me up buzzing when he got an email at 6 a.m., so... I thought I'd pop over here and share a little tip with all you wonderful hybrid crafters! :)

It may be just me but after years of doing decoupage projects, I have a borderline-obsessive dislike of Mod Podge. I know it is often the go-to tool of hybrid/altered-art crafters, but I always ALWAYS had the most aggravating problems with it causing paper to bubble and then dry wrinkled. I spent ages brayering, and even using stick pins and craft knife blades to "pop" the air bubbles to I could squish the air out of them. But the day I learned about a little tub of goodness called Gel Medium, it was as if the skies parted and the birds started tweeting The Hallelujah Chorus. (Okay... maybe I need more sleep this morning. I know.)

Admittedly, it's a bit more expensive than Mod Podge (so be sure to shop with a coupon!) but for sanity's sake, I think it's worth every penny, especially if you are making projects that you expect will get some wear and tear, or items you want to be long-term keepsakes. Gel Medium is found in the "art" aisle at the craft store, along with artist-quality oil and acrylic paints, gesso, etc. It comes in different weights and finishes (glossy, semi-gloss, matte), and you'll see it made by several different companies. I've tried both Golden and Liquitex brands and had good results with both.

What makes Gel Medium very different from Mod Podge is that it does NOT have the high water content that makes Mod Podge runny (and makes it soak and then buckle papers). Cue birds singing!

Gel Medium CAN work the way you'd use Mod Podge, to give a "lacquered" finish over glued-down papers, as in decoupage. It dries somewhat slowly (overnight, for a good solid dry) but it dries non-sticky. You can use it over printed digi papers (with no ink smudging!). You can paint over it. You can also wipe it with a damp cloth or paper towel; try brushing a little paint over cute printed patterned papers, then wiping some of the paint off with a damp paper towel to let the patterns peek through! *love*

But wait! There's more! ;)

Gel Medium also works wonders as a strong adhesive! Yes, use it to adhere papers, and then give them a top coat for decoupage... but then use little blobs of it to stick on buttons, ribbons, dimensional flowers, frames, charms, anything you can think of! Once dry, it will stay seriously stuck--perfect for holiday decorations that get packed away, and you cross your fingers in hopes that all your cute embellies are still stuck on when you get your projects back out a year later. I even used it on a project to adhere two little twisted bundles of metal wire--and they are still firmly stuck to my project after being packed and unpacked in two cross-country moves! Woo-hoo!

I hope you're planning lots of awesome crafty goodness for your home and for your friends and family this coming holiday season... and that maybe this little intro to Gel Medium will help you make some fabulous decor and gifts with (of course!) your WM[squared] stash! Be sure to show us what you create!

Happy hybrid crafting!


Ami said...

Great Tip Nikki! Now just to convince hubby to go find some.....

Shirley said...

thank you. I am an artist not a I have all different art materials at home. Good to know I don't need to buy new stuff. Thanks.

daddybearroch said...

It's 3 years after your post, but... I'm new to decoupage and found LOTS of Mod Podge "zombies" on the 'net recommending it for decoupage projects, so I tried it. I went through hell using it, just awful! Changed to what you recommended (bought Liquitex), and I'm in decoupage heaven. Thanks!