Whether you work from home or in an office, a mouse pad is a must. And in my opinion, the bigger the better. If you want something big and made of fine materials, it can get expensive quickly. But why buy a fancy felt desk pad when you can make your own?
I’ve always preferred oversized mouse pads, the kind big enough to fit under the keyboard and mouse. They help keep my desk clean, feel soft on my wrists, and make the space in general look better. The main problem with desk pads is that they are often expensive, ugly, or both. Even when I find one that fits my aesthetic and budget, it’s usually an awkward size that doesn’t sit well on my desk.
That’s when I saw a felt desk pad that you can buy in various sizes. It’s beautiful, big enough to fit under my keyboard and mouse without taking up too much space, and it’s…still too expensive at $70 plus shipping. Getting that trifecta is hard. So it finally occurred to me: make your own. The felt desk pad we have featured is simply applied to a cork board. I thought it couldn’t be too difficult. And good news, he was right!
The materials you will need
To make your felt pad, you’ll want a few items. While in theory you could just lie back on your desk and call it a day, it won’t be a pleasant experience. The felt alone isn’t stable enough to stay well in place as you move your mouse and hit your keyboard.
So the first thing you’ll want to buy is a cork backing. To make the process easier, you’ll want to get an idea of how big your felt pad will be and order something larger than that. It will also help a lot in the future if you buy a piece of cork with an adhesive backing. Otherwise, you’ll have to play around with other methods of attaching the felt to the cork. Fortunately, adhesive-backed cork board is not hard to find. It will usually arrive rolled up, so be prepared to unroll it and place a heavy object on it for some time to re-flatten it. For stability, aim for a cork that is 1/4 inch thick (much thicker than what Etsy listings sell).
Easy to cut and apply.
Cork Board Roll 1/4 Thickness
Although it’s technically made to hang on the wall as a thumbtack holder, this cork board works perfectly as a DIY desk pad.
Naturally, you need felt. However, not just any felt will do. If you opt for cheap acrylic felt, you will regret that decision. Acrylic felt tends to pill (little fabric balls) with abrasive movements, such as mousing over it. It also stains easily. Instead, you’ll want a wool-blend felt fabric, which won’t bunch up and prevents stains. You can order large pieces of wool felt on Amazon, as seen below, but it’s best to head to a local craft store and buy something a little larger than you need. That way, you can choose the color you like best in person, and you’ll probably save a bit of money by avoiding buying something too big or too small.
High quality felt.
You will also need some cutting implements. You’ll want a box cutter with a new, sharp blade to get through most of the corkboard. While it’s tempting to use scissors by hand, I suggest a fabric cutter for felt. It will cut through the material much more easily and will be useful for rounding off the corners of the pad. Using scissors will likely leave you with an uneven result.
round and sharp
rotary style fabric cutter
Box cutters and scissors don’t cut thick felt very well. But this rotary-style fabric cutter will make short work of it.
You’ll also want a long straight edge ruler and possibly a Styrofoam cup on hand to help round the corners of your notebook. You may also consider Scotch Guard to protect your desk pad from stains. It’s optional, but the extra protection won’t hurt. Just test it on a piece of felt before use to make sure it doesn’t discolor the fabric.
And optionally, if you want to give your felt mousepad some character, you might consider cutting vinyl with a Cricut or similar craft cutting machine. While the Cricut 3 series can cut materials to nearly infinite size, just about any device in the line will work since it most likely won’t create a design that covers the entire felt. Along with the machine, you will need vinyl and a design that you like.
for cutting everything
If you don’t already own a Cricut and purchasing one is understandably impossible, you can purchase a pre-cut design from a store like Etsy.
Make the felt pad
You have your materials; now it’s time to make the pad. The process is relatively easy, though you’ll find that if you do a few, you’ll get better with each try. The first step is to measure your space and determine how big you want to make your felt pad.
From there, you’ll want to use your yardstick and utility knife (with a new, sharp blade) to cut the length of cork you want. You are looking for an exact measurement and it is likely that the corkboard you purchased is too large in at least one dimension. Helps to cut with the sticky side down. Once you’ve cut out the basic rectangle, take your cup (I used an individual plastic cup) and draw some curves on the corners with a marker.
Box cutters don’t cut curves well, so use the fabric cutter for this section. If you have a sharp blade on the fabric cutter, it will probably work just fine. But even if you don’t, it shouldn’t be too hard to work in the little corners you’re cutting. Rounding the corners is optional, but it makes the final product look better.
After cutting the cork, turn it over with the sticky side up and cover with the felt. Don’t peel the backing off the adhesive yet; use this as an opportunity to try out different positions of the felt and find the best design. You may like a particular section of the fabric better. Once you’re satisfied, turn the entire set over so the felt is on the bottom and the cork is on top. Then remove the adhesive backing and press the felt into place.
With the felt firmly attached to the cork, take the rotary fabric cutter and trim around the edges of the cork board. It’s a lot like cutting a pizza, only in this case you don’t eat the final product. Once you’ve cut the felt to fit the cork board, you’re technically done. Everything from here is optional. But I suggest you consider applying Scotch Guard to the fabric at this stage for extra protection.
From here, all that’s left to do is create a vinyl design and cut it in Cricut. Then apply it to your desk pad. In my case, I opted for something a little different. I have a split keyboard that leaves half my desktop open. I often keep a bullet journal in there, but sometimes it’s just an empty space. So that’s where my last vinyl design went. In the past, I have also placed the name Review Geek in the corners of my notebook, which you may have seen in some of my reviews.
But that’s all there is to it. Now you have your own fancy felt pad, and not counting the optional items and things you probably already have (like the box cutter), it probably costs a lot less than buying one on Etsy, and arguably better. Just let me share in the profits when you put yours up for sale.