How to Apply Mod Podge Without Brush Strokes?

Artists that have been in the game for years know that Mod Podge is a versatile and budget-friendly product that can be used as more than just glue. Given its affordability, it can also be used the wrong way during the application process by crafters & artists.

Incorrect application on your crafted/artistic pieces can result in avoidable streaks that appear after the glue has completely dried off. While it might seem that applying mod podge to your paintings is easy, it isn’t as simple as you would think. There is a process to it, and one must learn about it.

So, let us take a quick look at the best ways to apply mod podge without worrying about brush strokes.


There are several ways to prevent brush strokes on your paintings or craftwork when using Mod Podge. However, some of them can be very time-consuming, difficult, and even expensive. So, there is a need to filter out the processes that are easy and do not require you to invest a lot of time.

Mod Podge is a forgiving art material that can be mastered when you follow the rules to the T. Brush strokes can look ugly after drying out and can even affect the way your art turns out.

Now, some artists do love this look as it gives a unique and hand-made effect to the piece made by you. However, most artists hate these unwanted strokes left by the brushes when using these decoupage glues.

So, let us check out some amazing tips to help you create your paintings without any brush marks.

Why Do Mod Podge Leave Streaks?

As is obvious, the brush used for the application of Mod Podge is the prime reason for streaks to appear. These streaks happen as the bristles fail to apply an even Mod Podge layer on the surface of the painting.

Moreover, the process of the Mod Podge application could also be the culprit, even if you are using the right brush. You should also avoid applying the Mod Podge in up-and-down strokes. Follow application in one stroke. If you are applying the Mod Podge on another layer that is semi-dry, the new coat might try to pull the glue away from the base layer. This, in turn, creates streaks.

Another reason for the Mod Podge application process to create streaks is the uneven layering. If certain areas in the painting have a thick layer while other sections don’t at all have the glue or only a thin layer, it could create streaks.

Preparing Your Surface Is Important

If you start applying Mod Podge on an unprepared surface, it would definitely lead to the development of streaks. However, this isn’t the streak most painters are worried about. The streaks that happen due to an unprepared surface can easily be avoided with the help of cleaning.

All you have to do is ensure that the surface on which you plan on applying Mod Podge is clean & free from any grease or dirt. In most cases, Mod Podge is either used on cards or paper.

So, these surfaces usually come clean from the start ensuring a matte finish. On the other hand, if you wish to use non-washable fabric or wood as a surface for the Mod Podge application, make sure you keep it as clean as possible with the help of a clean cloth.

In order to clean the wooden surface, all you need to do is use a clean cloth dipped in warm water and wipe off the surface until it is clean.

Let the surface dry out completely before you apply Mod Podge on the surface. If it is the non-washable fabric that you need to clean, you cannot use water to do so. Simply use a dry cloth and rub off any dirt or dust until the surface is completely clean.

What Should You Use to Apply Mod Podge?

When you apply Mod Podge, the key is to use a wide yet soft brush for the application process. Moreover, you also need to use as few strokes as possible to apply the Mod Podge on the painting’s surface. This can be done with a wide brush to ensure a smooth surface.

Additionally, you can use any type of wide foam brush to apply Mod Podge or make do with a flat paintbrush. Using these tools will help with even application and proper layering. You can also use a bristle brush for the purpose of smoothing out the Mod Podge application.

The best option in your case is a foam brush, as the flat brush bristles can leave possible streaks regardless of how professional you are in terms of the Mod Podge application.

Ways to Apply Mod Podge Without Brush Strokes

Use a Sponge Brush

1. Dry Out the Surface Properly

To ensure that there are no streaks on your painting surface when you apply Mod Podge, you need to ensure that the surface is completely dry. If the surface isn’t completely dry, the Mod Podge will cling to the wet layer and try to pull it during the application process. This can create streaks on the surface that call for a smooth application.

So, you must apply Mod Podge on a surface that is completely dry. If your surface feels wet, keep it in an airy space and let it dry for at least 24 hours, depending on the surface used.

2. Use a Sponge Brush

Switching to good-quality sponge brushes would be a great choice for the Mod Podge application. They are a quick, easy, and cheap method to help you avoid potential issues of streaking. The only downside to using sponge brushes is the fact that they have to be thoroughly cleaned after the application process is complete.

If you fail to do so, it might ruin your sponge brush. Given that sponge brushes are so cheap, you can buy them in bulk with no need to clean up after each application.

3. Applying a Thin Coat Is Necessary

Another way to ensure that the Mod Podge doesn’t create streaks on the surface is to apply the same in thin layers. This makes it easy for the artists to keep the Mod Podge layers even while avoiding streaks.

If you need the painted surface or crafted piece to have a thick Mod Podge layer, the key is to introduce multiple layers of thin Mod Podge coats. You can build up on the layers until it becomes as thick as you need it to be.

4. Let the Coats Dry Properly

When opting for the method explained above, make sure you let each layer dry out completely before applying the next layer. If you fail to let the layers dry out between applications, it can cause the Mod Podge to produce streaks. So, make sure you do this while ensuring a finished surface.

5. Keep the Layers Even

When applying thin layers of Mod Podge on the surface, make sure each layer is evenly applied. No layer should be thicker or thinner than the other. This could cause the layers to dry out late or too fast, causing the next layer to be streaky.

So, apply your Mod Podge in as few strokes as possible to create an even layer. Finally, once all the layers have dried off completely, you can sand the surface with steel wool. Using steel wool is a better option than grit sandpaper as it is gentle on the surface.

How to Fix Streaky Mod Podge?

Once the Mod Podge has dried out with several streaky lines, smoothing it out or reversing it can be a bit difficult. The key to avoiding dried out Mod Podge streaks from a surface is to put on additional layers on top. This will help hide the visible streaks.

However, you might have to apply a minimum of 5 coats to hide the streaks. This would require additional time & effort, but it sure is worth it to ensure a smooth finish.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Can Mod Podge Be Thinned With Water?

Yes, you can thin out Mod Podge glue with water. All you need to do is combine water and Mod Podge in 1:4 ratios. Stir the mixture well & create a thorough mixture.

Q: How Long Should Mod Podge Dry Between Coats?

When applying multiple coats of Mod Podge, the key is to let each layer dry for 30 minutes. Basically, let the base coat dry and then apply the following coat. Doing this is important if you wish to ensure that your surface is free of streaks. Simply put, the time between coats should be 30 minutes.

Q: Can You Apply Mod Podge With a Sponge?

Yes, you can easily apply Mod Podge with the help of a sponge. It is the best way to ensure that the surface is streak-free. But, make sure you clean the sponge brush after use. If you fail to do so, the sponge will harden along with the Mod Podge rendering it unsafe for use.

!Q: How Many Coats Of Mod Podge Should You Use?

Depending on your desired effect, you can use two to three coats of Mod Podge on any surface. On the other hand, if you wish to create a smooth and soft surface using Mod Podge with no particular ridges visible, the key is to apply a minimum of 5-6 coats.

Q: Can You Sand And Polish Mod Podge?

Yes, Mod Podge coated surface can be sanded and polished as required. However, you need to remember that every surface isn’t apt for sanding.

Make sure you use sandpaper with a fine grid to ensure that the Mod Podge coating doesn’t come off. You can later dust it off with the help of a duster or clean cloth to allow the smooth finish to show up on the entire surface.

Q: Do You Need To Seal Mod Podge?

No, Mod Podge itself serves as a sealant. So, you don’t have to seal the Mod Podge applied on any project surface.

Wrap Up

So, it surely is easy to apply streak-free Mod Podge on any surface with ease. You don’t need to purchase any expensive tool to get rid of the streaks.

As cheap as Mod Podge is, the steps to correct these errors should be just as easy. This blog will help you correct the errors, even if you are a beginner or a professional artist.

Loard Eva

Hi there! I’m Eva, artist, designer, photographer and mom of three little gentlemen altogether. When I’m not playing with my kids, you’ll find me researching and writing for ChooseMarker.

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