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The situation: a bottle of Antique Matte color tinted Mod Podge sat unused for years. By the time I opened it again, it had separated. There was a layer of oily stuff on the top, and the Podge had hardened into a rubbery chunk underneath.
I wanted to know if I could somehow rescue this bottle of hardened Mod Podge, and so I took to Google to search for an answer.
Surprisingly, there was very little information about what to do if your Mod Podge has separated within the bottle! Neither was there any info about what to do if your Mod Podge has hardened in the bottle. Maybe because everybody either uses their bottles before they dry, or they just throw them away when it happens.
Well, we don’t just throw stuff away in THIS household! Not without trying to fix it, or figure out a second use for it.
Fixing separated Mod Podge
First, I took a plastic knife and started to gently mix up the hardened plug of Podge. It actually wasn’t 100% hard– small pieces started breaking off, and the oil spread around into the cracks. It felt very rubbery, but since it was breaking up easily I thought it was a good sign.
Second, I set the Mod Podge bottle inside a slightly bigger container. Then I filled THAT container with HOT HOT HOT water– nearly boiling. My idea was maybe the heat would soften the Podge rubber and I’d be able to mix it together.
After about 10 minutes, the hardened Podge plug had started to soften and recombine! Good idea, me! There was still a pretty hard plug right in the middle of the Podge, though, so I stirred it around the best I could and then let it sit some more.
I let it sit in the hot water until the water went cold, checking in on it every 10 minutes or so.
Everything seemed to be going right…
Big fat failure
But it FAILED.
Despite being soft and almost the right texture when it was in the hot water container, after the water cooled the Podge went back to its formerly chunky state. The oil stuff had blended back into the rest of the Podge, but it was totally the wrong consistency and not usable at all.
But I didn’t give up! I decided to try again. I scraped out some Mod Podge and put it in a separate container.
You can see how chunky and gross it is.
Then I added some hot water and stirred for about 10 minutes, trying to blend the chunks out. I could see the softest/most watery part of the Mod Podge blending, and the chunks DID get smaller…
But they didn’t disappear completely. Look at all these chunks!
Maybe if I had a blender I’d be able to really get them out, but just hand-mixing was no bueno. Fail.
After all that time spent heating and mixing, I wanted to see if I could just use it anyway. I tested the non-chunky part on a small piece of paper…and it kinda worked! Kinda, but not really. It took forever to dry, and it wasn’t really sticking. I wouldn’t be comfortable using it as a glue or seal, honestly.
Also, the stuff leftover in the container chunked right back up again when I let it sit, despite the extra water I’d added to it.
Such a bummer!
Rethinking the problem
Potential solutions that I did NOT try because I don’t have the supplies needed: adding rubbing alcohol in instead of water. Adding Elmer’s glue? Heating in a microwave? Blender?
What I learned:
- Mod Podge, once separated, can’t be fixed.
- To keep your Mod Podge from separating, make sure it’s in an airtight container.
- And– just because you can’t fix something, doesn’t mean your time was wasted. Now I have an answer to my question, and I can help other people who might have the same question.
Have you ever tried to fix a bottle of Mod Podge that went all weird? What was your experience? Drop a comment below!