Will Mod Podge Seal Air Dry Clay?

Introducing Mod Podge and Air Dry Clay

Mod Podge is a popular mult-purpose craft glue and sealer made by Plaid Enterprises. It comes in matte, glossy, and satin finishes and is water-based and non-toxic when dry.

Mod Podge is commonly used for decoupage, collages, and adhering paper craft elements. It can be brushed or sponged onto surfaces and dries clear, giving items a finished look. Mod Podge is an easy to use adhesive, sealer, and finish.

Air dry clay, also called modeling clay, is an art material made of minerals, oils, and water. Brands like Crayola’s Model Magic do not require baking or firing to harden, allowing the clay to air dry. This makes air dry clay popular for crafts, DIY projects, prototypes, and more.

Air dry clay is lightweight and easy to work with. It’s often hand molded to create sculptures, jewelry, decorative items, kids’ crafts, and other artistic pieces. Finished clay items can be painted once fully hardened and dried.

Can Mod Podge Be Used To Seal Air Dry Clay?

Yes, Mod Podge can be used to seal and waterproof sculptures made from air dry clay. When applied to the clay’s surface, Mod Podge forms a protective coating that prevents the sculpture from becoming damaged or deteriorated over time. The acrylic sealer helps lock in the clay’s form and preserves the details of the sculpture.

Mod Podge is an ideal sealer for air dry clay pieces for several reasons. It dries transparent, allowing the original surface colors and textures of the clay to show through. It provides a durable yet flexible finish that resists chipping or cracking as the clay naturally expands and contracts a bit over time. Mod Podge is also water-resistant, so sealed clay sculptures can be displayed outdoors or in areas of high humidity.

There are a few limitations to be aware of when sealing air dry clay with Mod Podge. It’s important to avoid putting on coats that are too thick, as this can create a gummy surface or take a very long time to fully cure. Light, even layers are recommended. Mod Podge also has a shiny finish, so a matte sealer may be preferred for sculpture with a more flat or natural look. Testing sealers on clay scraps is advised to ensure the desired result is achieved.

How to Seal Air Dry Clay with Mod Podge

Sealing air dry clay with Mod Podge is a simple process that helps protect your finished pieces. Here are step-by-step instructions for getting the best results:

Recommended Types of Mod Podge

Mod Podge comes in several finishes, including matte, glossy, and satin. Any of these will work to seal air dry clay. Matte provides a smooth, flat finish while glossy has a shiny, wet look. Satin is somewhere in between with a soft glow. Choose the finish that matches the look you want for your project.

Make sure to use an acrylic sealer formulated by Mod Podge rather than a generic acrylic medium. The Mod Podge formulas are optimized for sealing and getting maximum adhesion on surfaces like clay.

How to Apply

1. Ensure your air dry clay sculpture is fully cured, dried, and hardened before sealing. This usually takes 24-48 hours.

2. Clean the surface of your sculpture to remove any dust or debris. You can gently wipe it with a damp cloth.

3. Apply a generous layer of Mod Podge over the entire surface using a soft bristle brush. Make sure to cover all sides and crevices.

4. Let the Mod Podge dry completely, about 15-20 minutes. Then apply a second coat and let dry again.

5. Optional – For very porous clay or a high-gloss look, apply a third sealing coat. Let fully dry.

6. Your air dry clay sculpture is now protected with a durable, water-resistant seal!

Drying Time

It’s important to let each coat of Mod Podge dry fully before adding another layer. Drying takes 15-20 minutes for thin coats. Thick layers may require up to 1 hour drying time between coats. Avoid handling the piece too much while the Mod Podge is drying.

Once the final coat is dry, the seal will be fully cured within 24 hours. Allow your finished, sealed sculpture to cure for at least 24 hours before displaying or using it.

Benefits of Sealing with Mod Podge

Sealing air dry clay sculptures with Mod Podge offers several benefits that enhance the finished piece:

Makes Piece More Durable

Applying a coat of Mod Podge seals the porous clay and makes the sculpture much more durable and resilient. It protects the sculpture from chipping, cracks, and other damage from regular handling and use.

Waterproofs Sculpture

Mod Podge creates a protective seal that makes the clay sculpture water-resistant. This prevents any water damage if the piece gets wet.

Provides Protective Finish

The Mod Podge finish shields the clay from dust, dirt, and other environmental factors that could degrade the sculpture over time. This maintains the pristine look of the piece.

Enhances Colors

Applying a glossy coat of Mod Podge helps make the colors of the clay sculpture pop with vibrancy. It brings out the depth and richness of the colors.

Potential Drawbacks

While sealing air dry clay with Mod Podge offers some benefits, there are a few potential drawbacks to be aware of as well. The main issue is that applying a sealer can alter the look and feel of your clay sculpture.

Mod Podge has a glossy finish when dry, so sealing with multiple coats can make your clay piece look more glossy or shiny. This may be desirable if you want a glossy look, but problematic if you prefer a matte surface. The texture can also change and become slightly smoother after sealing.

Additionally, too many layers of sealer can lead to brittleness and fragility. Air dry clay is inherently quite delicate. Sealing with just 1-2 thin coats of Mod Podge is usually sufficient. Applying too many thick layers can leave the clay prone to cracking, chipping or breaking more easily.

So it’s best to use restraint and do some tests first when sealing with Mod Podge. Try to achieve the desired protective sealing, sheen and texture while avoiding oversaturating the clay. Find the right balance based on the results you want.

Tips for Best Results

When sealing air dry clay projects with Mod Podge, following some best practices will help ensure you get the best possible results:

Let pieces fully cure before sealing – Air dry clay needs ample time to fully dry and cure before applying any sealer. Sealing too soon can lead to cracking or other issues. Give your clay project several days to cure completely.

Apply thin, even coats – Thick, gloopy coats of Mod Podge can create a gummy, sticky finish. Instead, use a soft brush or sponge to apply multiple thin, even layers. This helps the sealer fully penetrate the clay for best protection.

Avoid over-brushing – Brushing too vigorously on soft clay can disturb the surface. Use light, gentle strokes when sealing to maintain a smooth finish.

Alternative Sealants

While Mod Podge is a popular choice for sealing air dry clay, there are other options you can consider as well. Some alternative sealants to Mod Podge include:


Varnish is often used to seal paintings or wood surfaces. It provides a glossy, durable protective finish. Polyurethane varnish or polyacrylic varnish are good options for sealing clay. Make sure to choose a water-based varnish, not oil-based, for use with air dry clay. Apply multiple thin coats of varnish to allow it to fully cure and harden.


Two-part epoxy resin can provide an extremely shiny, glass-like finish for clay sculptures or pieces. Resin tends to be more expensive than other options but gives a high-gloss protective coating. Let clay fully cure before applying resin. Be aware resin can yellow or discolor over time when exposed to sunlight.

Acrylic Spray Sealant

Acrylic spray sealants, like those used for arts and crafts, can also work to seal porous air dry clay. Look for an acrylic spray that is designed for sealing craft projects. Acrylic provides a durable, water-resistant finish similar to Mod Podge. Be sure to apply in a ventilated area. Acrylic spray sealants tend to have less brush stroke texture compared to brushed on Mod Podge.

When choosing an alternative sealant, consider factors like the desired finish, hardness, application method, cost, and durability for your particular project. Test products first to ensure compatibility with the clay and that the desired results are achieved.

Frequently Asked Questions

Sealing air dry clay projects with Mod Podge often leads to some common questions. Here are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the process:

Does Mod Podge Work on All Kinds of Air Dry Clay?

Yes, Mod Podge can be used to seal all types of air dry clay including clay brands like Sculpey, Makit, Activa, etc. The porous nature of air dry clay allows the Mod Podge to soak in and seal effectively.

How Many Coats of Mod Podge Do I Need?

Typically 2-3 thin coats of Mod Podge provides sufficient sealing for an air dry clay piece. Allow each coat to fully dry before adding the next. Too many thick coats may lead to cracking.

Can I Use Glitter Mod Podge?

Yes, glitter and other specialty Mod Podges can provide a fun, decorative seal for air dry clay. Make sure to do thin coats and allow proper drying time between coats.

What If I See Cracking After Sealing?

If cracking occurs, the clay likely wasn’t allowed to fully cure and dry before sealing. Gently sand any cracks and re-seal with thin coats of Mod Podge.

How Long Does it Take to Seal and Dry?

Allow 24-48 hours for air dry clay to fully cure before sealing. Each coat of Mod Podge takes about 1-2 hours to dry. Allow the sealed piece to cure for 24 hours before use.

Final Takeaways

When it comes to sealing air dry clay sculptures and projects, Mod Podge is an excellent choice. As we’ve discussed, Mod Podge forms a protective seal to lock in the clay’s color and sheen while providing resistance to chipping, fading, and other damage. It’s easy to apply in thin, even coats and dries clear and flexible for a smooth finish.

Sealing with Mod Podge helps strengthen delicate air dry clay pieces and makes them more durable for play and display. It can be used on clay projects of all shapes and sizes. Mod Podge sealing also prepares the surface for decorating with paints, markers, and other mediums.

Overall, Mod Podge is a versatile, non-toxic, and budget-friendly sealer for air dry clay. It’s simple to use even for beginners and delivers great results. If you want an accessible way to seal, protect, and finish your clay sculptures, Mod Podge is highly recommended.

Additional Resources

Still have questions about sealing air dry clay with Mod Podge? Check out these helpful additional resources:

Checking out these resources can provide more helpful details if you need additional guidance on getting the best results sealing air dry clay creations with Mod Podge.

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