DIYdiy projects

diy: hand printed mouse pad from manmadeDIY

by Amy Azzarito

Hi, I’m Chris Gardner from ManMadeDIY.com, and it’s wonderful to be here for a guest post! At ManMade, I’m always on the lookout for craft and home décor projects that’ll work from a masculine perspective, but to be honest, the stuff that gets me the MOST excited are gender-neutral projects – you know, those that can be customized to suit any taste, and are accessible to anyone.

So, with that in mind, here’s an easy way to whip up a hand-printed mouse pad that avoids all the effort and special equipment of silkscreening, thus fitting another of my favorite crafting categories – quick and easy. If you’re not in need of a mouse pad, no worries – this technique can be translated to all sorts of media, empowering you to put anything you can write, draw, or type onto any surface you please.

Let’s go.

CLICK HERE for the full project instructions after the jump!


  • One 8” round mouse pad blank (we got ours at Soft Expressions)
  • 8 1/2 x 11″ Full Sheet Labels
  • Computer and printer
  • Xacto or craft knife and cutting surface
  • Textile acrylic paint and stencil brush (both available at the craft store).
  • Iron and wax paper

1). Choose your design from one of the provided templates, or create your own. Print it out onto the label paper. [insert templates.jpg]

2). With your design in mind, decide on your color palette. You’ll want to use a lighter color for the background, and a darker one for the foreground image. Pour out and your background paint onto a palette or scrap surface, and use the stencil brush to create a base layer of color.

3). While this first coat dries, use the Xacto knife to cut out the gray shapes of the template.

4). Continue cutting your stencil until only the white shapes remain. Don’t throw the smaller pieces away! These will be the resist for our the top layer of color

5.) Peel the backing layer off the largest shape, and carefully place it on top of the mouse pad. Then, using the template as a reference, add the smaller shapes to recreate the full image on the mouse pad.

6). Mix up your top color, and using quick, consistent dabs, fill in the spaces with paint.

7). Once the paint has dried completely, cover the mouse pad with two layers of wax paper and iron on medium high (or follow the package directions) to help set the ink.

And, that’s it – an easy way to add a little handmade warmth to even the most tech-heavy of workspaces.

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  • oh super fun! I have a round mouse pad and hate the design on it….weekend project!! yay!

  • Grace – If you click on “read more …” off your main page, you can get to this page, but if you click on “CLICK HERE for the full project instructions after the jump!” you get a page error message. Just thought you’d want to know!

  • What kind of textile paint did you use? I’ve been using CeramCoat Textile medium to mix with my acrylic paints to make it a fabric paint for my t-shirts, but they always crack. Just wondering if you found a better one.

    Also, I dunno if this would make it easier, but I tend to use contact paper instead of regular paper so that you can stick it to the medium and burnish it down, thus creating a nice, crisp line.
    Just a suggestion.

  • @Laura – used Jacquard acrylics on this one. And I opted for 8.5 x 11″ full sheet sticker paper, so we could print the patterns from the computer. I doubt an inkject printer would do very well on contact paper.

  • As one who has traditionally made mousepads using iron-on transfers, I’m thrilled to see this very clever and artistic approach. I am SO going to try this!

  • Ahh sticker paper! I usually print out on regular computer paper and trace over onto the contact paper. Now I’m on the hunt for full sheet sticker paper. And thanks for the tips!

  • hi! this project looks easy and fun! i have two questions for you before i do it:

    does the paint tend to bleed a little bit when you iron?
    what type of paint did you use? acrylic?

    thanks for the great idea!

  • When you get a new mouse pad for your computer, don’t throw out the old one. Use it to make pads for table legs and chairs to prevent them from scratching wood and other hard-surface floors. Just cut the foam and cloth pad into small pieces and superglue each piece to the bottom of a leg.

  • I just made one of these with my own template for my father-in-law. It came out great! I can’t wait to give it to him. Thanks for the great gift idea.

  • hi. can i draw my design onto the sheet label and then place, color and iron?? will it still produce the same finish?