Cathie and Steve, designers over at Plaid (the makers of Mod Podge), have come up with a new product called Mod Melts. Here is what Cathie has to say about the new product:
With our new sea glass and milk glass Mod Melt Sticks and Molds you can now make your own scrapbooking, mixed media and jewelry making embellishments.
You can customize Mod Melts with a variety of finishes! You can use FolkArt acrylic paints, shimmer mists, alcohol inks, glitter, nail polish, metallic paints, pearl paint and even embossing powders.
I was sent some Mod Melts and supplies to play with.
Mod Melts are extra-long sticks that strongly resemble hot glue. They come in two colors. Milk Glass, which is an opaque white, and Sea Glass, which is more transparent and strongly resembles traditional hot glue. I was sent Sea Glass.
The Melts are paired with Mod Melts molds. These are made of a flexible silicone. Currently there are four molds – Ornaments, Nature, Flowers, and Royal Icons. I was sent the Nature mold to play with. It has molds for making butterflies and birds.
The way that the Mod Melts work is that you put the Mod Melts stick into your high temperature glue gun, then squeeze the melted Mod Melt into the desired mold. Allow the Mod Melts to cool for 5-10 minutes, then pop out the hardened embellishment. The finished embellishment can then be painted, colored, or otherwise finished in a variety of different ways.
When I played with the Mod Melts, I started by inserting the Mod Melts Sea Glass stick into an old high temperature glue gun. It is important that the glue gun be high temperature. Low temperature glue guns will not melt the stick.
Because I had used the glue gun in the past, I squeezed out the glue that was left in the glue gun until all the glue was gone, and all that was left was the Mod Melt.
You can see the color change as the line changes from the yellowed old glue stick to the clear Sea Glass Mod Melt. Other than the color, the consistency of the product between the glue and the Mod Melt stayed the same.
The mold used to create the Mod Melts is a small silicone mold. I put a penny in the photo so that you can get a reference for size. These molds are not large at all.
Using the molds is very easy. Just squirt the Mod Melts into the mold, allow to cool, and pop out.
Getting perfect melts is not easy. Many of my finished embellishments had strings hanging off them, excess melts, and air bubbles. They felt like slightly dressy glue gun blobs.
The excess Mod Melt around the shapes can be trimmed with a craft knife or sharp pointed scissors, and can be avoided by filling the mold a little less generously. The air bubbles are a little more difficult to avoid.
The directions included say to start from the middle, and work your way out as you add glue to the mold. Even using this technique, I still had embellishments with air bubbles. After reading what tricks other users tried, I learned that crafters who bend the mold to fully open up the cavity, filled the tiny crevices, then lay the mold flat for the Mod Melt to harden had success getting all the details without air bubbles. You can read more about bending the mold in this tutorial.
Once you have your finished embellishments, you can paint or finish them in a variety of ways – acrylic paints, alcohol inks, glitter, and nail polish all work. The smooth surfaces of the melts are not perfectly smooth. Instead, the surface has a very gentle texture that allows it to pick up and hold on to the finish that you apply.
I painted my Mod Melts, and was initially frustrated. The embellishments made are very small, but the molds provide a lot of detail. A flat coat of paint does not showcase this detail well. I found that by first painting the embellishment a flat color, and then spouncing over the base color with another color helped highlight the detail.
For these butterflies, the butterfly on top was painted black. I allowed the black to dry, and then painted orange over the black. While the orange was still wet, I wiped it away. This left orange paint in the deeper parts of the embellishment, leaving the black base coat on the raised part. The bottom butterfly was painted orange first. I allowed the orange to dry, then gently spounced black over the top. I liked the result of this second technique much better. I made several of these to hang in my son’s room. You can read the full Mod Melts Butterfly Decor Tutorial.
For this small nest, I painted the nest with a cream color, then dry-brushed a brown over the nest to bring out the detail. I used this technique in my Mod Melts Paperclips Tutorial.
In both of these projects, I inserted something into the Mod Melt before it cooled. I think that this adds to the appeal of making your own embellishments – being able to insert a string, paper clip, bobby pin, or other feature into the embellishment so that it hardens around the feature to become a solid unit. You could add jump rings or a bezel into the back of the Mod Melt as you are making the embellishment to make quick jewelry as well.
I also added one of the little nests to a quick card. A simple way to add a 3D element to an otherwise super-simple card.
If you want to see other ways that you can finish the Mod Melts, you can watch the video that Cathie and Steve created, sharing many, many ways that you can add a custom finish to your embellishments.
Overall, I found the Mod Melts easy to use, but a little fussy to get a perfect result. I don’t think I would pull out the Mod Melts when working on a quick scrapbooking project, but I think they are ideal for making lots of matching embellishments for an event – like a baby or bridal shower. The finished Mod Melts could be added to favors, napkin rings, cards, thank-you notes, and party decor, giving a very professional and cohesive look on a budget.
Mod Melts sticks are sold in packages of 16 and retail for $6.99. Mod Melts molds are sold individually, and retail for $5.99. You can find them at major crafts retailers like JoAnns and Michaels.