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.
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.
- 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
- fabric marking pens/chalks
- scissors or rotary cutter
- 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.
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.
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.
Baste the vinyl in place, sewing 3mm (1/8”) from the perimeter. Use a long stitch to avoid tearing of the vinyl.
Step 4 Finish edges
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.
Fold the bias tape over the raw edges of your desk mat and clip or pin in place. Sew along the perimeter to secure.
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:
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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