Whether you work from home or in an office, a mousepad is a must. And in my opinion, the bigger, the better. If you want something large 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 mousepads, the kind so big it will fit underneath your keyboard and mouse. They help keep my desk clean, feel soft on my wrists, and make the overall space look better. The main problem with desk pads is that they are often costly, ugly, or both. Even when I find one that fits my aesthetics and budget, it’s usually an awkward size that doesn’t fit my desk well.
That’s when I saw a felt desk pad you can buy in multiple sizes. It’s beautiful, big enough to sit under my keyboard and mouse without taking up too much space, and it’s… way too expensive still, at $70 plus shipping. Getting that trifecta is hard. So it finally occurred to me: make your own. The desk felt pad we’ve featured is just felt applied to a cork board. I thought it couldn’t be too difficult. And good news, I was right!
The Materials You Will Need
To make your felt pad, you’ll want a few items. While you theoretically could just lay felt down on your desk and call it a day, it won’t be an enjoyable experience. Felt on its own isn’t stable enough to hold in place well while you move a mouse around and bang away at 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 large your felt pad is going to be and order something bigger than that. It will also help a great deal down the road if you purchase a cork piece with adhesive backing. Otherwise, you’ll have to mess around with other methods of attaching your felt to the cork. Thankfully adhesive-backed cork board isn’t 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 flatten it back out. For extra stability, aim for cork that’s 1/4 inch thick (much thicker than the Etsy listings sell).
Cork Board Roll 1/4 Thick
Although technically made for hanging on the wall as a push pin backer, this cork board works perfectly for a DIY desk pad.
Naturally, you need felt. Not just any felt will do, however. If you opt for cheap acrylic felt, you’ll regret that decision. Acrylic felt tends to pill up (little fabric balls) from abrasive movements, like dragging a mouse over it. It also stains easily. Instead, you’ll want a wool blend felt fabric, which won’t pill up and avoid stains. You can order large wool felt pieces from Amazon, as seen below, but it’s better to head to a local craft store and buy something a little larger than you need. That way, you can pick the color you like best in person, and you’ll probably save a little money by avoiding buying something far too large or small.
100% Wool Felt, 36 x 36-inch Piece
This piece is probably far larger than a desk pad calls for, but it is 100% wool felt, so it likely won't pill up.
You’ll also need some cutting implements. You’ll want a box cutter with a fresh sharp blade to get through the bulk of the cork board. While it’s tempting to use scissors on hand, I suggest a fabric cutter for the felt. It will cut through the material much more effortlessly and come in handy for rounding the corners of the pad. Using scissors will likely leave you with a ragged result instead.
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 the task.
You’ll also want a long straight edge ruler and possibly a plastic cup on hand to help round the corners of your pad. You may also consider Scotch Guard to protect the desk pad from stains. It’s optional, but extra protection won’t hurt. Just test it on a scrap of the felt before using it to ensure 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 out at a near-infinite size, just about any device in the line will do as you most likely won’t create a design that will cover all the felt. Along with the machine, you’ll need vinyl and a design you like.
Cricut Maker 3
If you have a design in mind, you can probably create it with a Cricut Maker 3. The Maker series can even cut other materials besides vinyl.
If you don’t already own a Cricut and buying one is understandably out of the question, you could buy a pre-cut design from a shop like Etsy.
Making 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 make a few, you’ll get better with each try. The first step is measuring your space and determining how big you want to make your felt pad.
From there, you’ll want to use the yardstick and box cutter (with a fresh sharp blade) to cut the length of the cork you want. You’re looking for an exact measurement, and the cork board you bought will likely be oversized in at least one dimension. It helps to cut with the adhesive side down. Once you have the basic rectangle cut, grab your cup (I used a plastic solo cup) and draw some curves at the corners with a marker.
Box cutters don’t cut curves well, so use the fabric cutter for this section instead. If you have a sharp blade in the fabric cutter, it will probably do the job well. But even if you don’t, it shouldn’t be too hard to work through the small bits of corners you’re cutting off. Rounding the corners is optional but does make for a better-looking final product.
After you’ve cut the cork, turn it adhesive side up and drape the felt across it. Don’t peel the adhesive backer just yet; use this as an opportunity to test different positions of the felt and find the best layout. You may like a particular section of the fabric better. Once you are happy, flip the whole set over so the felt is on the bottom and the cork is on top. Then remove the adhesive backer and press the felt in place.
With the felt firmly attached to the cork, grab the rotary fabric cutter and trim around the edges of the cork board. It’s a lot like cutting a pizza, only don’t eat the final product in this case. Once you have the felt cut to fit with 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 out on the Cricut. Then apply it to your desk pad. In my case, I went with something a little different. I have a split keyboard that leaves the middle of my desk pad open. I often keep a Bullet Journal there, but sometimes it’s just an empty space. So that’s where my latest Vinyl design went. In the past, I’ve also placed the Review Geek name in the corners of my pad, 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 stuff you probably already own (like the box cutter), it probably cost way less than buying one on Etsy, and it’s arguably nicer. Just cut me in on the profits when you list yours for sale.