***Disclosure – This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I may receive a commission.*** The full title of this post should be… “How to Remove Mod Podge from the Projects You Messed Up Because You Didn’t Read a Tutorial about How to Mod Podge before You Started Mod Podging“. Remember this:
Yes, I have had some Mod Podge woes, but, like the true Taurus I am, I’m not going to give up. My bull headedness will not allow it. I wanted to try fixing the mirror first because it’s a more significant piece of decor than the tray.
As I thought about this project, I stalled on working on it again because I had recurring flashbacks of removing wallpaper every time I thought about scraping off the podged on paper. I have quite a bit of experience with removing wallpaper. If you don’t believe me, check out my House Tour before and after pictures. 8 rooms of wallpaper, people. It’s not something I’m interested in reliving.
By the way, in the interest of saving some other wallpaper remover some time and energy, the best method I found was water, time and a scraper. Spray down the walls with water, a pretty good soaking. Let it sink in. This part is key. Impatience is not your friend here. When the water has had a chance to penetrate the paper and glue, go to work with the scraper. As much as I hated taking down wallpaper, there are few things in life that are more satisfying than scraping off a huge chunk of wallpaper.
Back to the Mod Podge removal. I ran a little kitchen experiment to see what might be the best way to remove the paper and glue.
Here are the contenders:
Vinegar and Water
Water and Dish Detergent
Nail Polish Remover
The plain water did an ok job. It definitely loosened up the glue and paper and I could peel pieces off:
Next I tried a vinegar and water mixture. This had a slightly better result with larger pieces of paper coming off in one tug.
The next player in my mod podge game was a can of window glass cleaner I picked up on a whim at Home Depot. It’s not a particularly good window glass cleaner, so I didn’t mind using a fair amount of it in this experiment. I got still bigger chunks of paper to come off with the glass cleaner and now I was starting to have fun.
On to the Dish Soap and Water. This was probably about equal to the Glass Cleaner. Definitely somewhat satisfying to pull nice long pieces of paper off in one swoop. This did seem to leave behind more of the Mod Podge residue than either the vinegar or the glass cleaner, however.
The clear winner when it comes to sheer size of pieces of paper and gunk removed was the nail polish remover. I was nearly giddy as I ripped off large, long chunks of paper. It took a good bit of the residue up as well. The only downfall to this one is the stinky nail polish remover smell. I should also note that I was not working on a wood surface. I would not recommend this for anything that has wood under whatever you Mod Podged.
My overall choice, however, would be the dish soap and water combo. 1. It is safe on almost any material. 2. It doesn’t smell yucky 2. It’s something you can find in pretty much every sink area in North America.
Once I had removed those large pieces, I went in with an exacto scraper and picked off pieces of paper that were left behind. I then went back and wiped it down a few times with the glass cleaner. The glass cleaner is a foam consistency and stuck to the sides of the frame while I cleaned.
I am now left with a nearly back to normal, giant 1980’s frame. Yes, my plan is to try the whole thing again, this time with INSTRUCTIONS and different paper. Can’t wait to share the after, good or bad!