I did trade shows and taught "make it/take it" projects for years all over the U.S. To my way of thinking nothing beats the Plaid products for decoupage -- and yes, they can get a little pricey if you indulge in that art often. I would suggest that many decoupage artists use way too much glue and finishing coat on their projects so use only the amount necessary and no more. I've not tried it but truthfully, I can't imagine the make-it-yourself product being even somewhat comparable. Decoupage is an art that requires a more-than-average permanent finish and one that is suitable to the project. Personally, as decoupage is time consuming and precise -- I wouldn't risk all my work to a "maybe so/maybe not" finish. Congratulations to you for pursueing such an old and unique art form -- and it is an art form!