Sewing tutorial

How To Sew A Desk Mat Tutorial

Desk mats (aka desk pads) protect the surface of your desk/table from wear. They also provide a soft and  comfortable surface for working on. I wasn’t able to buy a desk mat that would fit my keyboard shelf, so I decided to sew one. This post is a how to sew a desk mat tutorial.

When I purchased my second hand desk it showed signs of wear. Now, three years later, it shows considerably more signs of wear. In addition to a few scratches and dings from moving, the keyboard shelf is in bad shape. A large area of the wood grain finish has worn away. This is due to mouse use and also an unfortunate incident with packing tape.

Black keyboard and mouse on a brown keyboard shelf with some damage
Damaged keyboard shelf

This Sewn By Tanya project is for personal use only.

My keyboard shelf is 58 cm wide and 31 cm deep. The materials listed below are for a desk mat that is 58 cm by 31cm, but you can make your desk mat any size.

Materials:

  • Front fabric: 58 x 31 cm 100% quilting weight cotton
  • Back fabric: 58 x 31 cm 100% quilting weight cotton
  • Fusible fleece: 58 x 31 cm
  • Thin Vinyl: 58 x 31 cm (optional)
  • Grip fabric: 58 x 31 cm or 15 cm x 31 cm
  • 1/4” wide double-fold bias tape: 178 cm + some to overlap + some for mitring corners

Tools:

  • fabric marking pens/chalks
  • scissors or rotary cutter
  • ruler
  • iron & ironing board
  • sewing machine
  • hand needle

Seam allowance: 1/8” (0.3 cm)

Step 1 Cut materials

Decide what part of your desk you wish to cover and measure it. Cut your backing, front, fusible fleece and vinyl (if using) this size. For my 58 cm wide and 31 cm deep desk mat, I cut my pieces 58 cm by 31 cm.

You may also cut your grip fabric the same size. I didn’t have enough grip fabric to cover the entire back of my desk mat so I cut 3 strips that were 5 cm wide by 31 cm deep.

Brown, white and clear materials for desk mat
Materials for desk mat
Step 2 Sew backing

Place your back fabric right side up on your table. Place grip fabric right side up on top of it and pin in place. If your grip fabric is the same size as your back fabric, baste the layers together ~3 mm (~1/8”) from the perimeter.

If you are using 3 strips of grip fabric (each as deep as your finished mat) pin 1 strip of grip fabric centred along the centre of your back fabric. Pin the other two strips of grip fabric ~ 1 cm (1/2”) from the short edges of the back fabric. Sew each of the 3 strips in place with a narrow zigzag stitch centred along the edges of the grip fabric. The zigzag stitch reduces fraying of the grip fabric.

White grip fabric on top of brown desk mat backing
Back portion of desk mat
Step 3 Sew Front

Place your back fabric right side down on your table. Place the front fabric right side up on top of it. Pin the layers together and sew along the perimeter of your desk mat with a 0.3 mm (1/8”) seam allowance.

Place the vinyl (if using) on top of your desk mat and secure with clips. Pins will leave permanent holes in the vinyl so use sewing clips or paperclips to hold the vinyl in place.

Clear vinyl stacked on top of brown floral held in place with paper clips
Paperclip vinyl onto top layer

Baste the vinyl in place, sewing 3mm (1/8”) from the perimeter. Use a long stitch to avoid tearing of the vinyl.

Close up of basting clear vinyl along the desk mat
Sew on vinyl
Step 4 Finish edges

I used the two step method to attach 1/4” wide double fold bias tape to the perimeter of my desk mat. I used homemade bias tape, which matched my fabric covered can, palm rest and mouse rest.

Fully open your bias tape and clip or pin the narrow edge to the back of your desk mat. Sew along the first fold line (~6mm or ~1/4” from the edge), stopping and starting at each corner to create mitred corners.

Close up sewing unfolfed brown bias tape along the edge of brown floral desk mat
Open binding and sew

Fold the bias tape over the raw edges of your desk mat and clip or pin in place. Sew along the perimeter to secure.

Close up of sewing brown bias tape along the dge of brown floral desk mat
Fold binding and sew

That’s it! There are only four steps in this how to sew a desk mat tutorial.

Here are some photos of my finished desk mat:

Finished brown floral desk mat with clear vinyl top
Front of finished desk mat
Rear view of desk mat showing white grip fabric on the brown back panel
Back of finished desk mat
Black keyboard and mouse, and brown floral desk mat on a medium brown desk
Desk mat in use
Conclusion

I’ve been using my desk mat for several months now. It does a great job of protecting the surface of my desk. The clear vinyl is easy to clean and provides a smooth surface for optical mouse use. Even though I only used 3 strips of grip fabric, my desk mat stays put during general keyboard and mouse use. I had a few smaller scraps left and sewed a matching 34 cm by 23 cm desk mat to protect the other worn area of this desk.

This project is a great way to use up fabric scraps and makes a great gift.

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Tanya

Pinterest image for "Sewn By Tanya Sewing Tutorial | How To Sew A Desk Mat showing photos of a damaged keyboard shelf (before) and a kyeboard shelf with a brown floral desk mat (after)
Pinterest image for "Sewn By Tanya Sewing Tutorial | How To Sew A Desk Mat showing photos of a damaged keyboard shelf (before) and a kyeboard shelf with a brown floral desk mat (after)
Pinterest image for "Sewn By Tanya Sewing Tutorial | How To Sew A Desk Mat - Dont let this happen to your desk" showing a photo of a damaged keyboard shelf

1 Comment

  1. This is such a helpful DIY post! I have to confess, I’ve been collecting desk mats according to my mood and new design interests. I recently got a kawaii desk mat from http://officedeskmat.com, it was such a great purchase. There are also other kawaii fabrics that I would really love to convert into a desk mat, unfortunately, there are not a lot of shops who customize according to the design that you want. With this tutorial, I can now sew any design and make it into a desk mat! Love this!

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