If you are looking for some good makeshift mouse pad alternatives – and basically wondering what can I use as a mousepad– you’re in the right spot.
The fastest solution: is to use your lap.
But If you are looking for something more semi-permanent – take a look at some of the ideas below.
Any long-term solution I think should really include a mouse pad of some kind – just for the sake of ergonomics, preservation of the mouse, and overall ‘click type experience’.
When you so get caught short on a mouse pad though there are plenty of alternatives that you could turn to – and that’s exactly what we are going t get into (and also what to try and avoid).
Here’s What I Would Do
I’d recommend jumping to option 1, 4, 12, 13 and 20 – they are probably the most practical quick solution that you probably have to hand right now – that you can use on what I am guessing is going to be a glass table you’re on.
I think a magazine is probably your best bet for a quick and easy solution. They track a mouse well – and they are flexible so they can make uneven surfaces relatively flat as well.
Plus, they are always generally kicking around somewhere. Whether you’re at home or in public – you can pop into a local gas station – and they will tend to have at least some magazines on offer (pick up the cheapest one – and use that – although it might be worth actually getting a magazine you like too).
Another great option for a makeshift mouse pad is just a book to use. The larger and thinner the book the better.
Textbooks work great for this, they are often the larger side but they do tend to be quite thick in nature but can be shallower than smaller books. Having on around the house – you can just lay it out on the table – ideally it doesn’t have a reflective plastic coat protecting it or a shine.
Then you should be able to easily get to work with your computer and mouse and it should be tracking nicely.
Since we now have maps pretty much emended in our smartphones – the actual need for maps is pretty redundant these days.
So an old map that is no longer in use is a great way to act as a temporary mouse pad alternative and looks pretty cool too.
Plus, they tend to be quite large, so when spread over a table or your workspace – there should be plenty to go when your mouse is in operation.
Plate & Dinner Mat
Since you’re probably at a table – it might even be the dining table – and there should be some serving mats close by.
These would work great as a mouse pad – especially if they are matted and not shiny in nature – the mouse should get the necessary feedback it needs to give you a good pinpoint on your main computer.
Just make sure to give the serving mat a clean down beforehand though.
If you have a foam mat of any kind, especially on the darker side, whether it is a yoga mat or even just an off cut – this should work well to actually give you some stability with regards to actually getting your mat to function as a means to essentially be a mouse pad substitute.
The issue tends to be is that foam mats don’t often have a super smooth surface – but it should work as a temporary solution – and from there you can build up what you need to do – you can even do a bit of DIY with an off cut to make your own mouse pad.
Just a typical piece of cork board would work great as well as one of the things to use as a mousepad. I’m not sure it if it just me, but I actually kind of dig the look of cork boards too.
Typically they are used to pin stuff up on but if you have one that you’re not really using – you can swap it out -lay it out on a table or a desk and use that as your mouse pad anyway.
Sketch pads work great as they tend to be on the larger side (A3 and A2) so there is plenty of room for you to navigate with your mouse.
And with the matted pager as well there is no worry about the reflective aspect not quite working out.
So if you’re an Art student then that’s a great way to go about it – or if you have some sort of passion for Art on a side – this is a pretty good excuse to pick one up.
Off Cut Piece of Wood
If you don’t have a wooden table already – most just a wooden table outright (although you can risk damaging it) – you can use an offset piece of wood.
Ideally you smooth it out and also want it to be on the thinner side and this would work as a perfect way to use your mousepad.
If you get creative enough then can pretty much replace a mousepad altogether – something like the above can definitely give a more natural look to your workspace or even gaming room.
Re-Use an Old Calendar
I think this is a great thing to replace a mousepad – or at least pick one up if you’re missing it – again like maps, calendars are starting to go by the way side.
As we just use our phones, but it also gives you a good excuse to use an old one -that’s of course given that you haven’t chucked it away.
Cover a Cutting Board with Contact Paper
If you want to get a bit creative and you’re really low on options – a last resort could be this – where you pick up a chopping board.
Then cover it in some form of contact paper – this then acts as your mouse pad – probably not the most elegant solution on the list.
However, it should definitely get the job done for you.
Add a Fabric Patch to Your Laptop Case
If you can pick up a piece of loose fabric and get it tight – you could attach that to your laptop bag and then use it as a portable mousepad as well as a laptop case.
A little similar to the sketchpad but it might not quite work out as well – especially on A4 and plain paper. Sometimes it can be a bit reflective and so the mouse doesn’t quite work well.
I’ve found that it does work better on lined paper though and if you can get a sort of matted texture to your notebook.
Old Cereal Cardboard Box
I recall doing this once as a student – as I was just worried that my mouse was scratching my desk at the time.
Rip open a cereal box and then use the inside cardboard side as your mouse pad – worked a treat as a short term solution.
Card Game Mat
If you play cards regularly – then chances are you have a dedicated card mat – that is used to keep the cards in place.
Using this as an alternative mouse pad would work great as well as the fabric will allow the optical mouse to connect properly.
A mouse pad is literally just a lined piece of a foam pad generally, so if you have a foam pad you’re already practically there.
You can use that as the mouse pad – just getting a spare piece can be difficult though.
Paper Pocket Folder
Do you have a filing cabinet? If so, you might have these pocket folders that are used as dividers and separators.
Or you might just have a paper folder that you can use as the mouse pad, they tend to be thicker than just standard paper so it should provide a more precise feedback.
Similarly, with your next bout of post – you might receive a larger than usual envelope – this again with a slight grain for feedback purposes could work great as something to replace a mouse pad with.
Off Cut Flat Rug
If you have a bit of off cut carpet or rug that has a really low pile count – and that you can smooth out to almost a fabric like piece – that could work well as a something that is a bit different to a mouse pad.
Piece of Fabric
Alternatively, you might just happen to have a bit of fabric that you can use. You’re going to want to stretch it out and have something that can hold it in place.
Otherwise, you’re going to be dragging the mouse around with you and the fabric itself.
Shoe Box Lid
Another great alternative – and a bit like the cereal box suggestion – is to just break open a shoe box – cut the lid off and fold down the edges. There you have a nice bit of cardboard that you can use as a mouse pad.
Newspaper works well if you stretch it out and manage to hold it in place. Especially, if you fold it up. It’s just these days, does anyone actually get the newspaper anymore? Could always pop down the local shops to see if you can pick one up. Pretty useful if you are wanting a particular large mousepad substitute for whatever reason. It’s more of a desk mat replacement in truth.
What You Should Be Avoiding?
Generally, the only real thing you want to try and avoid is reflective surfaces for optical mice – you will soon realise the problem.
They just don’t track well, whether is on a glass table or a piece of plastic – not only are you potentially risking damage to your table and your mouse – they just don’t work out great.
Hopefully, some of the suggestions above can help you out – otherwise, I’d just try and pick up a large mouse pad – they are pretty cheap these days.
Any Other Suggestions of Makeshift Mousepad Alternatives?
If you have any other unique suggestions on what you have personally used as a makeshift mouse pad alternative, we’d love to hear it. We’ve heard a few already – everything from old takeaway boxes to Steno pads – pretty creative – when you’re on a budget and need some mouse traction.
A gaming enthusiast who started their gaming venture all the way back on a Gameboy Advanced (Purple) on Pokemon Yellow.