17 Best Makeshift Mousepads And Alternatives (2022 Update)

If you are looking for a replacement for a mouse pad you are in a good place. In this article, I’ll go through 17 alternatives that have worked for me in the past.

These mousepad alternatives are super easy to make and they won’t take you long to prepare.

They work just as well as regular ones and will help you get back on track very easily.

Whether you want to ditch your old mousepad for good or you are just waiting for your new mouse pad to be delivered, these homemade ones will do the trick!

Let’s dive in!

17 Things To Use As a Mouse Pad Alternative

The following mouse pad alternatives provide a fantastic gaming experience and are heavy-duty. You can use your mouse anywhere and use these things as a makeshift mousepad.

#1: Magazine

Magazine is the best DIY mouse substitute ever

A household magazine might be the best mouse pad alternative. All you have to do now is remove any sticky pages and choose the appropriate size for use as a standard mousepad.

When choosing a magazine to use as a mouse pad, you must decide which type of magazine will work best. The surface of the magazine should be smooth enough to allow the mouse to move easily. A firm, solid and flat magazine will make a great makeshift mouse pad.

#2: Cardboard

Cardboard is an excellent material to use if you’re looking for affordability and convenience. You can easily cut it to any size you need, making it a great temporary or makeshift solution for when you don’t have a mousepad nearby.

While thick cardboard isn’t as smooth as regular mousepads, it’s still better than nothing and will work relatively well in a pinch.

I personally used leftovers after an Amazon delivery and it worked out great for me.

#3: Duct Tape

This is a great DIY replacement for a mouse pad, and it is also inexpensive. It is easy to use as it sticks to literally anything, and you can replace the duct tape anytime it gets dirty and loses its adhesiveness. You can cut it to any size that suits you, and it is great for your mouse sensor.

#4: Hard Cover Book

Hard book covers are ideal for functioning as a mousepad because they have a slightly rough surface. You can use an entire book or just the cover, whichever you prefer.

#5: Wooden Desk

Hard surfaces provide smooth mouse movement, making it the perfect alternative for those moments when you need it most. You can use your desk, a table, or any other hard surface in your home or office.

Just be sure the area is clean before you start using it as your mousepad to prevent any dirt or debris from clogging up your mouse sensor.

#6: Wax Paper

Although it may appear to be an odd choice for a mouse pad, it can serve good as a last resort option.

It has various surfaces ranging from smooth to tissue-like in order to make it a suitable substitute for a mousepad while also assisting the movement of your mouse.

#7: Bedsheet

You can also use your bed sheet as a mousepad. The fabrics are somewhat hard, which is suitable for any modern mouse. Though it is not great for laser mice or mice with a rubber ball, it can be a lazy and convenient solution.

#8: Folder

An office folder (e.g., Pendaflex) is also a great alternative. You just have to place it in a way that’s suitable for your work surface.

The main advantage of using a folder is that it’s firm, making it a great substitute for a regular mousepad. Additionally, you can also use the pockets to store other items such as pens, paper clips, and more.

#9: Your Lap

Your lap may be a wonderful mouse pad substitute when you’re outside. Just keep in mind that it might get clingy to your hands or lap if you have sweaty palms; otherwise, you can use it to casually search the web.

#10: Placemats

Placemats are another option for mousepads. All types of mice, including laser, optical or optical sensors, are suitable for this purpose. Placemats adhere to your table and serve as a hard, flat surface. Just be sure to choose one with a smooth surface. 

If you use a self-healing cutting mat, that would be even better for your browsing experience.

#11: Printing paper

Printing paper is good as a mousepad because it is affordable and easy to find (it is literally in every office!). Additionally, it is soft and relatively smooth, making it an ideal surface for your mouse.

Just make sure the printing paper you choose does not have a glossy finish, as this will create drag on your mouse movement.

#12 Newspaper

Like printing paper, newspapers are also common and easy to find. They make for a decent mousepad because they are relatively flat and smooth.

However, keep in mind that the ink from the newspaper can transfer onto your hands and clothing, so it is not the most ideal solution.

#13: Sketchbook

If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative to mouse pads, look no further than sketchbook pages!

Yes, they don’t last as long as mouse pads, but for general purpose use, they work just fine. Plus, they’re often large in size and quite sturdy–giving you plenty of room to move your mouse around.

#14: Selfhealing Cutting Mat

A self-healing cutting mat is a type of mat used by crafters to protect their work surfaces. However, these mats also make for excellent mouse pad alternatives!

They are thick and firm, yet still provide a smooth surface for your mouse. Plus, they often have gridlines printed on them–which can be handy if you’re working on digital projects 😉

#15: A Wooden Cutting Board

A wooden cutting board is another great alternative to a mouse pad. Just like a self-healing cutting mat, it provides a firm, smooth surface for your mouse.

Plus, it’s often large in size–giving you plenty of room to move your mouse around. And if you’re worried about scratches, you can always place a piece of wax paper or fabric over the top.

#16: A Piece of Corkboard

Corkboard is a great mousepad alternative because it’s affordable, durable, and has a smooth surface.

Additionally, corkboard is eco-friendly and can be recycled. Plus, it has natural anti-microbial properties that help keep your mousepad clean.

#17: A Piece of Plexiglass

Plexiglass is another great alternative to a mousepad. It’s durable, easy to clean, and has a smooth surface–making it ideal for use with any type of mouse.

A great benefit of plexiglass is that it never wears out and has just enough moving friction to be a great mouse alternative.

Here are 17 great alternative mouse pads, but if you want to get really creative, and find something that suits your needs specifically I have you covered. To help you make a decision about what surface works best for a mousepad, I’ve prepared this handy guide below so you can make your own mouse pad.

Best Surfaces for Makeshift Mousepads

There are a few things to keep in mind before you you pick your mouse alternative. The right surface can help protect your mouse from wear and tear, and enable smoother movements. Here are some of the best surfaces for your mouse:

Silicon surface

Silicon surfaces are one of the most popular ones. People have used them for years due to their comfortable feel and ease while navigating the mouse on them. Most offices and schools use mousepads with silicon surfaces because of their excellent tracking features.

Non-glossy Surface

Most optical mice can’t track the movements properly if you are using a glossy, mirror-like surface. So, it is always a good idea to use mousepads with non-glossy or matte surfaces.

Smooth Surface

A surface that is too rough will damage your mouse’s delicate optical sensor. So, always make sure to go for a smooth surface that cannot be too hard on the mouse’s optical sensor.

Makeshift Mousepads Surfaces to Avoid

Here are the mouse pad surfaces you should avoid:

Reflective Surface

While you are using mice on reflective surfaces, they tend to reflect light, which causes jittering and eventually slows down the responsiveness. When you move your cursor too fast, they don’t move accordingly because of the reflection. 

You will lose track more often as time goes by. Glass tables or highly smooth surfaces like polished wooden surfaces and glossy surfaces are among these reflective ones.

Plastic Surface

You should also avoid plastic surfaces when using a mouse pad. Plastic can also cause glitches in your mouse movement and aren’t as comfortable when doing bulk work. Besides, they attract dirt and dust, making the surface slippery and the mouse difficult to navigate as a result.

Soft Fabrics

The greatest evil here is softness. While navigating your mouse quickly, these soft fabrics can’t detect responsiveness. Consequently, that impedes your progress when gaming or doing work. These soft fabrics further attract dirt and lessen the sensitivity of your mouse.

Whether or not your mouse is equipped with a roller, a dirty surface can slow your mouse down significantly. Therefore, you must avoid using soft fabrics as mouse pad alternatives.

Rough Surface

Now it’s time to learn about the disadvantages of rough surfaces as a mouse pad alternative. You can imagine how hard it would be to move your mouse on bumpy surfaces.

An uneven surface can make your cursor dance and skip around your screen, so, a rough table, desk, or floor carpet is not very suitable for a mouse pad.

Will These Makeshift Mouse Pads Damage Your Mouse?

Generally, mouse pad alternatives will not cause major harm.

However, when you use a modern optical mouse with an optical sensor and laser sensor, then you must use its compatible mouse pad. Other replacements might not serve the purpose in the long term.

Lastly, you should use a mouse on a mouse pad alternative that you feel is easy to use and has a frictionless surface for the smooth movement of your mouse. Then you don’t have to be concerned about the damage.

My Final Thoughts

Most surfaces will work well as a mouse pad alternative. Anything with a smooth, solid surface will do its work. For your personal purpose, it’s important to consider ease of usage, comfort, and responsiveness when it comes to using your mouse.

The mousepad ideas listed in this guide are suitable for use as a makeshift alternative. Even if you don’t use a normal mousepad on regular basis, you can still use your mouse for a long time if you choose wisely.

One note is that gaming mouse pads are not that easy to replace, but in all other cases the above-mentioned ideas will work quite well in general.