I type a lot. Recently I noticed that my left wrist isn’t always in the neutral straight position that is recommended for good ergonomics . Many articles I’ve found about how to use keyboard wrist rests indicate that one should rest his or her palms on them when not actively typing. For this reason I prefer to think of them as palm rests.
I suspect poor typing posture may be contributing to the stiffness I’ve been noticing in that wrist. While I’ve never used a proper wrist/palm rest, I’ve often improvised one by placing a book, eraser or other item under my wrist. I have a surplus of rice left over from making pattern weights so I decided to try making rice filled palm rests (aka wrist rests).
The tutorial I liked best is by Meesh of “Right Where I Left Off”. You can find her tutorial here:
Note this pattern is for personal use only.
Here are my thoughts on this project.
The tutorial beings with a photo and a description of the author’s motivation for creating the project. The next section covers materials.
Before committing materials to this project, I did a test run using some of my rice-filled pattern weights as an improvised palm rest. My pattern weights being were too firm and caused irritation to my inner wrists. Putting my pattern weights inside my fusilble fleece lined phone case helped cushion the rice. I decided that the best way to create a rest with a little extra padding was to put the rice inside of a fleece pouch and cover that with my choice of quilting weight cotton.
Step 1 Make patterns
Keyboards and computer mice vary. Meesh has designed her tutorial so that anyone can make palm rests for any keyboard and mouse. She didn’t give any measurements and I didn’t use many. I estimated the final dimensions of my palm rests and then added the seam allowances.
For my keyboard rest, I was limited by the fleece I had in my scrap collection. I had to sew three pieces of fleece together to get a wide enough piece for the keyboard rest. It’s folded in half in the below photo.
I didn’t have an fleece left so my mouse rest would be rice inside of quilting weight cotton. Making the pattern for the mouse rest was easy. I traced around my mouse and drew the rest of the palm rest around it.
The rice filling makes the rest three-dimensional, so I redrew the curve around the mouse about 1/4” (6mm) larger. I also redrew the side and bottom exterior lines ~1/3” (8 mm) wider.
Step 2 Transfer the measurements/patterns to your fabric.
My fleece was already twice the size (+ seam allowances) that my keyboard rest would be. I drew a rectangle with the same dimensions on the back of my fabric. Fleece is much thicker than quilting weight cotton so I added 1/4” (6 mm) along each side of this rectangle. The additional 1/2” (12 mm) length and width will make it easier to slide the fleece sack inside the cotton one. The seam allowance is already accounted for so this is my cutting line.
I traced my mouse rest pattern on to the back of my quilting weight cotton. This is my sewing line.
Step 3 Sew & Cut, Cut & Sew
I cut a large square around the mouse rest sewing line. As per the tutorial, I pinned this piece of fabric right sides together to a matching piece of fabric. I sewed along the sewing line then cut around the exterior of that line to create a seam allowance. I clipped along the curves to make turning this piece easier.
I folded my keyboard rest fleece in half, wrong sides together, and sewed three edges together with a 1/4” (6 mm) seam allowance. It doesn’t matter which side the turning gap is along so long as there is one.
I folded one short end of my keyboard rest cotton 1/3” (8mm over) and sewed it with a 1/4” (6 mm) seam allowance. I’ll be leaving this end open.
Next I folded the rectangle in half and sewed the long end and the other short end together with a 1/4” (6 mm) seam allowance.
Step 4 Turn & Fill
Turn your palm rests right-side out. Meesha used about 2 cups of rice to fill her rests. The amount of rice you’ll need depends upon the dimensions and firmness of the rests you make. A funnel comes in handy if your turning gaps are small. Initially I filled my keyboard rest and mouse rest with 16 level tablespoons and 6 level tablespoons of rice respectively. Neither was completely full.
Step 5 Close
I used a ladder stitch to hand sew the palm, rests turning gaps. I haven’t sewn the end of the cotton keyboard restcover closed as I anticipate removing it to wash it from time to time.
Here are some photos of my rice-filled pattern rests.
The fleece layer inside my keyboard rest makes a big different to my comfort. I don’t feel individual grains of rice like I do with the mouse rest or when I improvised a keyboard rest with pattern weights. Potentially I could replace some of the rice inside my mouse rest with scraps of batting to reduce the rice texture and I well do so in the coming weeks.
The longer I use my keyboard rest, the more rice I seam to take out of it. Initially it was too tall for the keyboard that I’m using. My mouse rest had a lower profile from the beginning and so far I’ve only removed a teaspoon of rice from it. I may end up removing more rice if the height or firmness of these rests causes irritation in the future. On the date this post is published, there are ~ 5 tablespoons of rice in my mouse rest and ~10 in my keyboard rest.
Now that my keyboard palm rest is the correct height for my keyboard, I’m looking forward to typing more comfortably. I really like how my mouse rest moves with my mouse. I tend to work near the edge of my keyboard shelf and have had my mouse rest slip right off the edge of my computer desk several times. I’ll have to get used to using my mouse and keyboard a few inches closer to the back of the keyboard shelf.
I enjoy making practical things and these palm rests are no exception. They came together quickly and are handy to have around. They could make great gifts provided you are able to trace around the recipients mouse and measure his/her keyboard in secret.
Do you use palm rests with your keyboard or mouse? If not, would you consider making your own? Comment below and/or Pin me for later!