Mod Podge, Maps, and Milk Paint

Mod Podge, Maps, and Milk Paint.

Mod Podge, Maps, and Milk Paint…do not be fooled by this friendly title. In fact, a more appropriate title could have been My Mod Podge Misadventure or How Not To Mod Podge.

Yes, it’s like that this week.

Let me explain.  I have so many things to share with you about this project that I am almost at a loss as to where to begin. Let me start by saying I promise  will try to keep it under 1400 words this time. If you read my last post you know what I mean. 🙂

So let me give you just a bit of background. I’m part of an amazing blog group and each month we choose a different theme to create a project around. Our assignment this time if we chose to accept it was to use a map in a creative way. Mission accepted!

I started to gather ideas from Pinterest and I started a Maps and Globes inspiration board. There are a plethora of creative ways to use maps but I decided I needed to stay in part with what I know best which is painting furniture.

I made a trip to the Antique Company Mall and found these vintage travel maps. Yes, friends, there was a time when people actually had to use these types of maps to navigate around the country.

Mod Podge, Maps, and Milk Paint

Let me introduce my victim.

I chose this, Ethan Allen, side table. It was part of a set, but my silent partner re-purposed one for some sweet friends as a media cabinet. I will be the first to admit this piece has seen better days, but this is why I decided it was the perfect candidate for this project.

This Ethan Allen bedside table has seen better days so I decided to transform it with mod podge, maps, and milk paint. You can read more at

The Plan.

My plan was to apply a map to the top using mod podge, then paint the cabinet with milk paint. If you read this post you know I have a Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint color bucket list. Artissimo is near the top of this list. It’s a rich navy blue color that has a masculine look to it. I was excited to get started on this project since it has been a few weeks since I have painted anything.


Now, friends, I need to disclose to you that I have never used mod podge before. This may shock you but I wasn’t really concerned. How hard can it be to use? I felt so certain this was going to turn out so ridiculously good, that I wrote this tutorial before I had even brushed the first stroke on.  I watched this video and read this tutorial by Refunk My Junk. I was prepped and ready to achieve mod podge brilliance.

I do not consider myself to be “crafty” by any stretch of the imagination. There is a reason my tagline reads “creating furniture you will love, one brush stroke at a time.”  Small projects involving cutting, sewing, or gluing really aren’t my forte’. You are about to find out just how true this is.

Here’s a list of the supplies I gathered.

Mod Podge, Maps, and Milk Paint.

The following list contains affiliate links. This simply means that when you order these products with the link provided, I will receive a small compensation at no extra cost to you.

Mod Podge matte finish

Artissimo by Miss Mustard Seed’s Milk Paint

Hemp Oil

2 inch paint brush

Chip brushes


Foam cabinet roller (if you don’t have a brayer)

Sanding sponges

The Prep.

The top of my cabinet had previously been sanded so all I needed to do was lightly sand with an 180 grit sanding sponge. I wiped it down with a mixture of water and vinegar, then let it dry for about 30 minutes.

I brushed on two coats of Artissimo, then proceeded with finish sanding and distressing. I immediately fell in love with this piece. It looked exactly as I had imagined. Yes!!!!

At this point, I felt like I was about to hit a home run!!!

Sadly, this is where my mod podge tale goes wrong.

Enter Mod Podge Misadventure.

As I mentioned earlier, I felt adequately prepared after watching a video AND reading a tutorial.

I quickly gathered my supplies. I highlighted this word for a reason. The rest of this project went downhill very quickly. In fact, the rest of these steps went so quickly that there was only one photo captured of my process.

I pulled up Refunk My Junk’s tutorial on my laptop so I could reference it if need be.

Step One– I positioned my map on the cabinet top then cut it to fit leaving about 1″ border.

Step Two- Using a chip brush I applied a layer of mod podge.

Step Three- I brushed the back of my map with mod podge, then carefully positioned it on top.

Step Four- The video I watched recommended using a “brayer” to smooth out all the bubbles and wrinkles. I didn’t have one so I used a foam cabinet roller. I rolled my map out and had it looking pretty darn smooth. This is the only process photo of this mod podge debacle.

Mod Podge, Maps, and Milk Paint.

Step Five- THIS IS IT!!!!! This is the crucial step I missed.  I was supposed to allow my map to dry for 20 to 30 minutes BEFORE brushing on the top coat of mod podge. I applied my top coat using a foam craft brush immediately after I smoothed the map out.  I started to notice some lumps and bumps when it hit me…I was supposed to wait! Oh, woe is me!!!!  Insert great wailing and gnashing of teeth here.

Could this project be salvaged?

This was the question I was asking myself.  The only thing I could do at this point was to wait for the top coat to dry to assess the damage.

Damage control.

I made the decision to try sanding the top to minimize the imperfections. I had to sand the edges anyway to get excess border off, so this seemed like my only option.


Mod Podge Maps, and Milk Paint.

I wound up sanding the entire thing with an 80 grit sanding sponge. Removing the shine did make many of the lumps less noticeable but you can still see them if you look at it just right.

Mod Podge, Maps, and Milk Paint.

This is probably the best angle to look at it from. 🙂

Mod Podge, Maps, and Milk Paint.

Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint in Artissimo sealed with hemp oil.

Let’s forget about the mod podge mess and talk about this paint, shall we?

Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint in Artissimo

As I was creating this piece I could just see it fitting perfectly in a boy’s bedroom or game room possibly. The map and the color I chose have a masculine feel to them.

Originally, I was planning to offer this piece for sale.  Instead, my #2 son is getting a new bedside table for his room.  The staging I chose is an ode to him. He turns 13 this October and needs a room makeover anyway.

Mod Podge, Maps, and Milk Paint.

My first Mod Podge project did not go exactly how I envisioned but I am embracing the imperfectness of it.



Closing Thoughts.

At the end of the day, I decided to embrace this mistake. Mod podge messes are really pretty trivial in the grand scheme of things.

Your mod podge challenged sister in paint,


Friends, don’t let your friends make the same mistake I did.

Pin this to warn others!

I learned the hard way how easy it is to mess up Mod Podge by skipping one very important step. Don't let this happen to you!






  1. 1915house says:

    Despite the mod podge mishap, I still think this turned out so beautifully!! That blue is gorgeous and thank you for sharing your “keepin’ it real” struggles with the project. And as always, your sense of humor keeps us coming back for more… 😉😍

  2. Kim says:

    😂😂 “quickly”
    Lisa, this color & the distressing are just gorgeous! What a handsome night stand, and I think the map looks great!!

    • says:

      See??? Haste really does make waste as they say. #2 son is thrilled about “finally” having something to put his things in. 🙂

  3. Toni | Small Home Soul says:

    Aha, that’s why my map bubbled a little! I’ve used it before on a small project and I had my sassy pants on and didn’t watch a video at all. You recovered beautifully my friend and your table looks great as always! Your son is lucky to get that for his room.

    • says:

      Thank you, Toni. My downfall was letting myself get rushed. The word on the street is mod podge is tricky. 🙂

  4. Debrashoppeno5 says:

    I think the table turned out great. Yes, Mod Podge is tricky but you did a good job. I love the paint color you chose. All in all a great project and your son is lucky you decided to put it in his room.

  5. tonyaredmond says:

    So funny!!! I have used modpodge many times and I don’t think I have ever waited 30 minutes for it to dry…. Opps… Oh well I guess I got lucky and it just worked out. I do however have a brayer that was made by Martha Stewart and it is a handy tool to have for us crafty types. Love how your project turned out!!!

    • says:

      Thank you, Tonya! You should write a tutorial or maybe you already have for all us mod podge challenged girls. 🙂

  6. Melony says:

    Lisa, it looks so good in the photos that if you wouldn’t have told on yourself, no one would know!! Ive used mod podge before but I brushed it onto a jigsaw puzzle to preserve it and then framed it- not quite as delicate as your map!

    • says:

      Melony, my husband said the same thing. He didn’t really understand why I had to draw attention to it. It just didn’t feel right not disclosing it’s bumpy nature. 🙂 It reminds me of a globe my grandfather used to have, the kind with raised areas for the mountains and such. LOL

  7. Debbie says:

    So glad you posted your mistake…which is lovely! I remember using modge podge loads in high school. I took magazine pictures I liked and cut them out and covered shoe boxes and kept things in them….I still have one in my attic, well…maybe I just recently tossed it out because it was filled with a highschooler’s love letters 🙂 and I didn’t marry him nearly 40 years ago

    • says:

      That’s so funny Debbie. I may have used mod podge in school but I think everyone just called it decoupage then.

    • says:

      Well, thank you. It is just not the smooth project I was hoping for. Maybe my expectations for my first time were a little lofty.


  8. Studio Paint Design says:

    So Pretty Lisa!
    I just love everything to do with Maps and Globes!! This is no exception.
    Thanks for sharing on Wonderful Wednesday’s Link Party this past week …. I will be featuring your post on next weeks edition!!

  9. Brooke of Passport Couture says:

    Your misadventure with Mod Podge reminds me of a mishap I first encountered when I used it. Like you, I thought, “This should be fairly straightforward and simple.” It was much more complicated than I thought and requires lots of patience. I’m glad you found a way for your project to work even though you had some missteps!

  10. Pili Gomez says:

    Sorry, I giggled a bit while reading your post, ModPodge is really tricky! But you did a wonderful job with this cabinet, the color is pretty and the map on top is a great addition!
    Thanks for sharing with us at Sweet Inspiration party, enjoy your week!

  11. KreativK says:

    It looks amazing, and I never succeed at mod podge and gave up for now… The cabinet looks so nice and what a lovely idea to have the map on the top!

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