How do you revive Mod Podge?

Mod Podge is a popular brand of decoupage glue that is commonly used for arts and crafts projects. It dries to a matte finish that seals surfaces and adheres paper, fabric, photos and more to various surfaces like wood, metal, glass and ceramics. Over time though, Mod Podge can dry up in the bottle leading many crafters to wonder – is it still usable or does it need to be revived?

What causes Mod Podge to dry up?

There are a few key reasons that Mod Podge dries up in the bottle over time:

  • Exposure to air – Each time the bottle is opened and closed, Mod Podge is exposed to air which can cause it to start to dry up, especially if it’s an older bottle that’s been used a lot.
  • Evaporation – Since Mod Podge is water-based, water can slowly evaporate over time even if the bottle is tightly closed.
  • Old bottle – Mod Podge has a shelf life of around 2 years unopened. Over time, the ingredients start to break down even if the bottle is never opened.
  • Improper storage – Storing Mod Podge anywhere warm or humid can accelerate drying.

So in summary, Mod Podge dries up due to air exposure, evaporation, aging and improper storage. But the good news is that dried up Mod Podge can often be revived with some simple tricks.

Can you reuse dried Mod Podge?

In many cases, yes, dried up Mod Podge can be reused! Depending on how dry it has become, there are a couple revival methods you can try:

If Mod Podge is thick and gloopy

If your Mod Podge still has a glue-like consistency but is very thick and gloopy, it can likely be thinned back out with water:

  • Add water a teaspoon at a time and stir vigorously until the Mod Podge returns to an even, creamy texture. Too much water will make it too thin so add conservatively.
  • Distilled or purified water works best as tap water may contain minerals and chemicals that interact with the acrylic polymer in Mod Podge.
  • Give the revived glue a test on a scrap piece of paper or cardboard first before using it on a project.
  • Stir well each time before using as the water may separate out over time.
  • Store the reopened bottle tightly closed and use within a few months.

If Mod Podge is completely dried out

If the entire contents of the Mod Podge bottle have dried up into a solid lump or film, revival takes a few more steps:

  1. Fill the bottle with very hot water from the tap. Distilled or purified water is ideal if you have it.
  2. Let it sit for 10-15 minutes so the water can soften the dried glue.
  3. Shake the bottle vigorously until the Mod Podge has dissolved again into a liquid and is smooth.
  4. Test the revived Mod Podge on scrap material first before using it on a project.
  5. Add water as needed to thin the glue back into an even consistency.
  6. Make sure to stir well before each use.

This hot water method should be able to liquefy even completely dried out Mod Podge. Be patient as it may take some time and shaking to get it smooth again.

Tips for reviving Mod Podge

Here are some helpful tips when reviving dried up Mod Podge:

  • Use the hottest tap water safe to handle to soften dried glue quickly.
  • Shake or stir vigorously each time you thin with water to disperse it.
  • Add water sparingly for best results.
  • Use distilled or purified water if possible to avoid mineral deposits.
  • Test on scrap material first to ensure proper adhesion.
  • Make sure bottle is tightly sealed when storing revived glue.
  • Use revived Mod Podge within a few months before it can dry out again.
  • Consider storing Mod Podge bottles upside down to minimize air exposure.
  • Always stir or shake Mod Podge before use once it’s been reopened.

What to do if Mod Podge won’t revive

In some cases, dried out Mod Podge may not be able to be revived if it is too far gone. Here are some signs that your Mod Podge is no longer salvageable:

  • It remains caked or clumped after attempting to dissolve with hot water.
  • It feels gritty or powdery rather than smooth.
  • The adhesive properties seem weakened and it doesn’t adhere well to surfaces.
  • It has a sour, unpleasant odor, indicating it has spoiled.
  • The bottle is more than 2-3 years old.

If you determine your dried up Mod Podge cannot be reused, it’s best to dispose of it. Make sure not to pour it down the drain which could lead to clogs. Instead:

  • Allow any remaining product to fully dry out into a solid.
  • Place the solid dried glue in with your regular household trash.
  • Wash the empty bottle and dispose of it with your recyclable plastics.
  • Replace with a fresh bottle of Mod Podge.

How to prevent Mod Podge from drying out

To help prevent Mod Podge from drying out prematurely, follow these storage tips:

  • Store bottles upright and tightly sealed when not in use.
  • Minimize air exposure by keeping it sealed as much as possible.
  • Store away from direct heat or humidity.
  • Consider transferring some Mod Podge to smaller bottles for use if you don’t think you’ll use up a large bottle before it expires.
  • Write the date you opened the bottle on the label so you know if it’s getting old.
  • Close the bottle tightly each time you use it.
  • Store bottles upside down to keep adhesive immersed in any separated water.
  • Replace bottles after 1-2 years if not fully used up.

Following proper storage methods can help maximize the shelf life of your Mod Podge and minimize drying.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can you thin Mod Podge with water?

Yes, you can thin Mod Podge with water if it has become thickened or gloopy. Add distilled or purified water a teaspoon at a time and stir vigorously until it returns to the proper creamy, glue-like consistency. Be careful not to thin it too much with water though.

How long does revived Mod Podge last?

Revived Mod Podge that has been thinned with water should be usable for 1-2 months if stored properly in a tightly sealed bottle. It’s best to use it as soon as possible though, as it may start to re-thicken over time.

Can you use Mod Podge after it has dried on a project?

No, Mod Podge that has fully dried onto a project surface can’t be revived or reactivated. At that point it has permanently bonded the materials together. Reusing dried decoupage glue is only possible if it is dried within an unsealed bottle and able to be reliquified.

What ratio of Mod Podge to water should be used to thin it?

There is no exact recommended ratio, as it depends on how thick the Mod Podge has become. Start with 1 teaspoon of water per 2 ounces of Mod Podge. Add additional teaspoons slowly, stirring constantly, until the right creamy glue consistency is achieved. Too much water will make it too thin and runny.

Can you substitute water for Mod Podge that has dried out?

No, water should not be used as a direct 1:1 substitute for Mod Podge in a craft project if you’ve run out. While it can be used to thin dried glue, water alone does not offer the adhering and sealing properties of an acrylic-based decoupage medium like Mod Podge. Purchase a new bottle or use an alternate craft glue instead.

Tips for Using Revived Mod Podge

Here are some helpful tips for using revived Mod Podge that has been thinned with water:

  • Stir or shake thoroughly before each use as the water may separate out over time.
  • Apply in thin, even layers to avoid over-thinning on the project surface.
  • Allow full dry time between coats which may be lengthened with the water dilution.
  • Consider slightly heavier application for porous surfaces that absorb more moisture.
  • Avoid using revived Mod Podge on delicate surfaces like photos and tissue paper that could wrinkle.
  • Test adhesion on a scrap or inconspicuous area first.
  • Expect a slightly thinner consistency than regular Mod Podge straight from the bottle.
  • Watch for any beading or pooling, especially on non-porous items, and smooth out.

With a little care and patience, you can successfully use revived Mod Podge without issues on your crafts or décor projects.

Alternative Ideas for Leftover Mod Podge

If you have leftover Mod Podge that you won’t use fast enough before it would dry out again, here are some creative ways to use it up:

  • Adhere magnets to containers, tins or frames to make organizers.
  • Decoupage book covers, boxes or trays.
  • Seal envelopes or cards you make by hand.
  • Brush onto candles or lanterns for added decoration.
  • Add collage pieces to vases, bowls or jars for a layered look.
  • Assemble paper beads, flowers or other embellishments.
  • Brush over artwork, photos or prints before framing.
  • Create layered decoupage art on canvas or wood.
  • Add ribbon, lace, fabric or other materials to plain accessories.
  • Seal glitter, confetti or spices into glass bottles or jars.

The possibilities are endless for Mod Podge crafts! Using it up on projects is a great way to avoid waste.


With a little time and effort, dried up or thickened Mod Podge can be revived and put back to use for many crafting projects. Try adding hot water and stirring vigorously to dissolve the dried acrylic adhesive back into a smooth, usable glue. Be sure to closely follow proper storage methods going forward to maximize the shelf life of your Mod Podge and prevent premature drying. Reviving Mod Podge is an economical way to get the most out of your favorite decoupage glue.

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