Sealing Schleichs with Modge Podge

Earlier this week a member of the bakercustoms Yahoo group posted about using modge podge to seal Schleichs (and similar plastic ponies like Safari and Papo brands) in order to prevent the “tacky” surface that can happen with these customs. I just finished painting a Safari Lipizzaner, so I decided to try this technique and see how it went.

Modge podge is basically watery glue sold under a brand name for crafting. I have heard that you can create it by just mixing Elmer’s white glue with water until you get the right consistency, but I can’t guarantee that would work with models the way the branded stuff does. You can buy modge podge at most craft or hobby stores. It’s great for sticking paper to plastic, glass, metal, etc. to create cool collages on bottles, boxes, or furniture.

I've used modge podge many times before, for example to decorate my old laptop. I also have an awesome modge podged side table. It's a great craft product for all sorts of fun projects.

Happily, I have modge podge in my craft box from all these past projects, so I was all prepped with what I needed to coat a model. The one thing about modge podge to watch out for is that it can kill your brushes, so don’t use an expensive brush or one that you love. What you want is a decently large (you want to thoroughly coat the whole model), pretty soft paint brush. I had one handy that probably came with a cheap water color set. Just use whatever you’ve got around, but wash it very thoroughly when you’re done.

The tools: mod(ge) podge, brush, fully painted horse.

You don’t need much modge podge to coat a horse, so you don’t need to buy a big vat like I do- I just love modge podge so I buy in quantity. My model has been fully painted and sealed with Dull Cote. He does not yet have glossed eyes, since the nail polish can turn milky if it has fixitive over it.

There is really only one step to this activity: just cover the horse in modge podge! Make sure you coat the whole horse every which way. Spread the modge podge on as evenly as possible and minimize brush strokes. Watch out for brush bristles in the coat and pick them out immediately. I did two layers of modge podge over the body (just to make sure I got everywhere) and then two more over the tail, which was my handle when I painted the body

Here he is with one layer of modge podge, looking very shiny.

This (blurry) photo sort of shows the "milky" color that modge podge turns the horse before it dries- notice the light grey on the muzzle, which is in truth closer to black (compare below).

Make sure you let the modge podge dry thoroughly between coats. I left it overnight just to be safe. When it is dry the horse has a interesting new feeling, sort of smooth and soft. He definitely feels very sealed, and I can believe that this prevents tackiness! After the modge podge layers were dry, I sealed him in two coats of matte spray. Although the modge podge bottle says “matte,” it really makes your models semi-glossy. Some customizers may like that but I prefer a flatter color, so I sealed him again.

Painted, modge podged, and fixatived. He is done except for the glossed eyes. This picture is a little dark, but the color on his eyes and muzzle is closer to the real thing than in the above picture showing the milky coating of wet modge podge.

I’m very pleased with how he turned out, and confident that he won’t have an seepage problems like some Schleich and Safari horses. What I didn’t learn from this experiment is if sealing with modge podge can change the color or depth of a more colorful coat. This model happened to be a white-grey, but that means that it’s harder to tell if the modge podge turned him a lighter color or retained any of it’s milkyness. In my experience with modge podge you can see the colors of the material very well, but this is  new use of it so you never know. Has anyone else done this? Results? I look forward to trying it with my bay Safari foal once he’s done.

5 responses to “Sealing Schleichs with Modge Podge

  1. Hmm, interesting option. I buy Mod Podge by the “gallon” too for art projects but never thought to use it on a horse.

  2. I don’t think Modge Podge will change the color of the horse, and if it does it wouldn’t be by much. I’ve literally glopped thick layers of the stuff onto projects before and the colors looked fine to me.

    Would this also work with the Breyer Mini Whinnies? Krylon doesn’t really agree with them, so I’m looking for a new finish.

    • I don’t know about the Mini Whinnies- I’ve customized a few micros but I think they were all Creata micros. I used Krylon and Dullcote on them just fine. But since modge podge works so well for the Schleichs, I would think it would work on anyone else. You would just want to go really light on it so the layer is super thin.

  3. It will be interesting to see what happens in a few years. None of my acrylic painted and sealed rubbery plastic models got tacky until they were 3 years old. Come back in several years and report on whether or not there is any tackiness. Then I’ll believe it.

    • I sure hope it lasts! My previous modge podge projects (not models) are bordering on three years and have not gotten tacky. My models seemed to get tacky almost immediately, although it varied slightly from horse to horse. I wonder if that is because of a difference in painting or fixatives, or if it’s something even more difficult to control like temperature, air quality, etc.

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