What Can I Use to Make Paper Stiff? – Will Mod Podge Work?

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There are a lot of reasons that you would want to make paper stiff or even rigid. Maybe you want to seal your finished project or you need stiff paper for your next crafts project. Either way, there are a lot of different ways, that you can make paper stiff. After reading this article you will know exactly which way to stiffen your paper is the right way for your project.

So what can I use to make paper stiff? The short answer is, there are a lot of different ways to make paper stiff but you need to choose the right way for your project. If you want to make your finished project stiff then you can use spray varnish, glutinous wheat paste or Mod Podge. If you want to make paper stiff before working with it I would suggest using Mod Podge. And if you want to make your paper very stiff almost rigid, then I would suggest using multiple coats of spray varnish, gesso or liquid resin.

Can I Use Mod Podge to Make Paper Stiff?

Mod Podge is used for sealing and gluing paper so if you want to seal your paper or papercraft (like Paper Mache) then regular Mod Podge is the perfect solution for you.

But if you want to make your paper stiff, then I would not use regular Mod Podge. You can, however, use Mod Podge Hard coat.

Mod Podge Hard Coat is a variant of Mod Podge, that will dry harder than regular Mod Podge. But this will not make your paper rigid or especially stiff.

Even after you apply multiple coats Mod Podge Hard Coat will only make it a little stiffer.

So you can use Mod Podge if you want to seal your papercrafts or before you use your paper for crafting. For example, if you want to make an Origami figure, then you can use Mod Podge Hard Coat to make the paper a little bit more stiff and more robust before folding it.

How Can I Make My Finished Paper Project Stiff?

If you have a finished paper project, that you want to seal and make stiff, so that it is more robust then you can use either Spray Varnish, Gesso or liquid Resin, depending on your Project.

Spray Varnish

Varnish is usually used for sealing wood or other hard surfaces that are absorbant but you can asl house it for paper.

Varnish will usually dry transparent and hard and it will make the surface shiny after it has dry. So it may not be the best solution for every project.

But it will also dry quite hard and thus it will make the paper stiff. I would suggest using a spray-on varnish instead of brushing it on your paper project because you may see the brush marks in the dried varnish or you may damage your papercraft when you want to apply it with a brush.

Spray on varnish will also set in every tiny crack and fold easily.

You can get Spray Varnish in your local hardware store or here on Amazon.


Gesso is usually used as a ground for acrylic paints. You use it to prepare a surface for painting it with acrylic paints.

Gesso will dry quite hard, so you can use it to stiffen your paper.

One thing to keep in mind though is that gesso is white and it is opaque, so it will colour your paper in white.

I would suggest using Gesso for papercrafts, that are a little more simple in form. So it is ideal for sealing simple forms and Paper Mache projects.

Liquid Resin

Liquid resin is amazing if you want to make your paper crafts really stiff almost rigid.

Depending on the kind of resin, that you use it drys either slightly yellowish or clear. For most projects I would recommend getting resin, that drys clear and does not yellow in the sun.

It is kind of hard to come by liquid resin because most crafts and hardware stores don´t have it but luckily you can get it right here on Amazon if you want to.

You should use resin only in well-ventilated areas!

Resin drys very hard and it is perfect if you want to make your paper crafts hold for a very long time. It will seal and harden very well.

If you want to make your paper crafts very stiff then liquid resin is the way to go!

Glutenous Wheat Paste

This Paste will make your paper project quite stiff but it won´t be sealing it very well.

The great thing about this paste is the ease of making it. You can make it with everyday items and for that, it works really well for making paper stiff.

You can find a full guide on how to create this paster on ehow.com.

How Can I Make My Paper Stiff And Still Be Able To Work With It Afterwards?

If you want to make your paper stiff but still be able to work with it then I would recommend Mod Podge Hard Coat.

You can apply it to your paper in thin layers (let each layer dry for 20 to 30 minutes). Just add layer after layer until it is stiff enough for your project.

Keep in mind, that Mod Podge is sealing your paper so you cant paint it with every kind of paint anymore after you applied Mod Podge to your paper.

And Mod Podge Hard Coat will dry slightly glossy. So be careful about what kind of project, you want to use it for.

You can also use white wood glue to achieve a very similar effect as you would with Mod Podge and wood glue is cheaper than Mod Podge. Wood Glue, however, will dull the color of your paper underneath, so keep that in mind before using it!

Other than that Mod Podge or white wood glue is your best bet for making paper stiff.

It’s like I said, It really depends on the kind of project and how stiff you want to make it. So after reading this article, you are now able to pick the right solution for your project. If you still have any questions however then feel free to ask them in the comments below and I will answer them as soon as possible!

Hi, I am a passionate maker and professional prop maker for the entertainment industry. I use my woodworking, programming, electronics, and illustration know-how to create interactive props and puzzles for Escape Games and marketing agencies. And I share my knowledge and my experience on this blog with you so that you can become a maker yourself.

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