15 Alternative Mouse Pads – Ideas On What To Use Instead

Alternative For Mouse Pad

If you find yourself in the situation where you need an alternative for a mouse pad, or just don’t want a cluttered messy-looking desk:

There are many common household items you can use instead. Things you might not even have considered before. Hint – this will include some mini up-cycling projects!

So before you go out or online to find yourself a replacement, check out this list first!

Best Material For A Mouse Pad

In general, reflective surfaces like glossy paper and glass don’t work for cheaper optical mouse models. If you have a laser mouse, it doesn’t really matter what you use!

Laser Mouse Does Not Need A Mouse Pad
Laser Mouse Does Not Need A Mouse Pad – Image credits: Skitterphoto (Pexels)

But this post is assuming you have an optical mouse:

Then a suitable material would be one with some traction and that is not reflective in nature. It must be even on the surface (I.e. not have wrinkles or bumps) too.

Materials like:

  • Silicone
  • Rubber
  • Carbon fiber
  • Aluminum
  • Wood
  • Cork
  • Canvas
  • Imitation rubber (PU leather)
  • Foam
  • Cardboard/ paper
  • Some plastics

In fact, commercial mouse pads are usually made of polyester with a rubber base at the bottom for an anti-slip surface.

Store Bought Mouse Pads Are Often Made Of Synthetic Rubber (PU)
Store Bought Mouse Pads Are Often Made Of Synthetic Rubber (PU) – Image credits: Ken Tomita (Pexels)

On the other hand, did you check that your mouse sensor is covered with dirt? That may be why it is not gliding as well as it should!

Alternatives For A Mouse Pad

That aside, here’s what to use instead of a mouse pad for your optical mouse:

1. Felt

Have leftovers from your last DIY project? You may be able to whip out a simple mouse pad out of your remaining felt material!

Easy, and if you cut it nicely, it looks like you bought it from the store!

Make Your Own Felt Mousepad
Make Your Own Felt Mousepad – Image credits: EtsyUK

2. Yoga Mat

And old yoga mat can serve as an alternative for a mouse pad. Whether it’s made of cork, PU, or rubber. Just cut it to a more reasonable size!

However, if your yoga mat is basically disintegrating into flakes, it’s best to try something else on this list!

An Old Yoga Mat Can Be Turned Into A Mouse Pad
An Old Yoga Mat Can Be Turned Into A Mouse Pad – Image credits: Miriam Alonso (Pexels)

3. Wax Paper

Just in case you do have wax paper lying around your house, a small square of it will do for a temporary mouse pad!

Wax Paper As A Mouse Pad Alternative
Wax Paper As A Mouse Pad Alternative – Image credits: eHow

4. Books

The cover of a book – regardless of whether it is a paperback or hardback should do the trick if you need a quick alternative to a mouse pad!

Textbooks are even better since you have more surface area to work with!

You can also try the inside of the book if it can lie open and flat at 180°.

Hardback Books Make Good Alternatives For A Mouse Pad
Hardback Books Make Good Alternatives For A Mouse Pad – Image credits: Skylar Kang (Pexels)

5. Place-mat

Woven place-mats will be awkward to move a mouse around but PU leather table mats or any place-mat with a smooth top surface (that is not too reflective) will work! Very convenient if you’re already working at your dining table or island counter!

A Table Mat In Place Of A Mouse Pad
A Table Mat In Place Of A Mouse Pad

6. Document Holders

Any matte document holder, folder, or file case made of paper or plastic should be able to function as a mouse pad as long as it does not have a glossy surface!

Plus, these are always available at an office! Similarly, the back of an envelope or clipboard might work too!

Plastic Folders May Work As Mouse Pad Alternatives
Plastic Folders May Work As Mouse Pad Alternatives

7. Loose Woven And Flat Fabrics

Take, for instance, a table cloth that is already on the table. Or a pair of pants. So long as the fabric can stay in place flat without bunching up.

Try A Table Cloth As A Mouse Pad
Try A Table Cloth As A Mouse Pad

8. Packaging

Check that you have some packaging in your house from your last online delivery! These can work brilliantly as mouse pad alternatives once you lay them out flat.

If one side is too slippery, try turning it over!

9. Pamphlet

Depending on where you currently are and what your normal occupation is, you might have brochures/ pamphlets or posters lying around.

Granted, these tend to be glossy. But if they’re not, there’s a chance that you can use them as an alternative for a mouse pad!

Don’t forget the “Do Not Disturb” signs that hotels use! Those might work too.

Some Brochures Have The Right Surface Texture To Be Used As A Mouse Pad
Some Brochures Have The Right Surface Texture To Be Used As A Mouse Pad

10. Wooden Surfaces

If you have a wooden desk top, a mouse pad is not necessary!

You Don't Need A Mouse Pad On Wooden Surfaces
You Don’t Need A Mouse Pad On Wooden Surfaces – Image credits: Vojtech Okenka (Pexels)

On that same note, if you have forgotten to bring along your mouse pad, try moving to a wooden table (or a wooden chair or shelf) and using that as a substitute!

Wood Surfaces Can Be Used As A Mouse Pad
Wood Surfaces Can Be Used As A Mouse Pad – Image credits: Andrew Neel (Pexels)

11. Computer Mat

Getting a mat for your gaming or workstation? That will likely double as a mouse pad. So you don’t have to get a separate mat for your mouse!

A Wide Computer Mat Doubles Up As A Mouse Pad
A Wide Computer Mat Doubles Up As A Mouse Pad – Image credits: Chelsey Horne (Pexels)

12. Flooring

If you happen to be working close to the floor:

Stone, vinyl or wood floors can actually be used in place of a mouse pad.

You Can Try Using The Floor As A Mouse Pad
You Can Try Using The Floor As A Mouse Pad – Image credits: Vlada Karpovich (Pexels)

13. Paper

A single sheet of paper won’t cut it. You will need a few sheets of paper to reduce the transparency of this standard stationery item. Especially if you’re working on a glass tabletop.

In a similar fashion, you can just use a notepad!

Notebook Pages Are A Good Mouse Pad Alternative
Notebook Pages Are A Good Mouse Pad Alternative

14. Cutting Mat

Keen DIY enthusiasts should have this item readily available in their home. Provided it’s still fairly unscathed, a cutting mat will be a fine replacement for a mouse pad.

Cutting Mats Can Be Used As Mouse Pads
Cutting Mats Can Be Used As Mouse Pads

15. Yourself

If all else fails, your own skin or clothing can be an alternative for a mouse pad!

Though we would consider this a last resort (besides relying on your laptop’s trackpad) since it does feel kind of weird to use a mouse on your leg or arm!

Conclusion

Which of these alternative mouse pad ideas did you find the most surprising? Or what other unconventional item have you used for a mouse pad?

And if you are going to upgrade your mouse soon, consider a laser mouse so you will no longer need a mouse pad!

Don’t forget to share this post with someone who is always leaving their mouse pad behind!

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