What to Use as a Mousepad? (11 CREATIVE ALTERNATIVES)

You don’t have a mousepad and are wondering what to use instead?

Well, you don’t really need to buy one. Here, we’ll cover 11 simple alternatives you can find at home and use as a mousepad substitute.

These alternatives aren’t as fancy as some RGB mousepads on the market, but they can do the job just fine.



What to Use as a Mousepad?

If you don’t have a mousepad, instead, you can use books, white paper, duct tapes, folders, cardboards, wax papers, drawing clipboards, magazines, desk surface, bed sheets, or even create your own version. However, if you use an optical mouse, you must avoid glossy or reflective materials.


Before we jump into details for each alternative, let’s check your mouse type:

Take a look at the bottom of your mouse,

if it’s emitting an LED light (usually red) from the bottom side: it’s an Optical Mouse

if there isn’t any light emitting out of the bottom side: it’s a Laser Mouse (the laser beam is invisible)


Optical vs Laser Mice



Laser MouseOptical Mouse
Use laser for illuminationUse LED light for illumination
Have higher dpiHave lower dpi
Can sense more deeply into the surfaceCan only sense the top of a surface
Can be used almost on any flat surfaceWork best on a non-glossy smooth surface



You can read more about them in this article from LifeWire:  Optical Mice vs. Laser Mice

Now, let’s go into details about the 11 mousepad alternatives


1. Books

Books are literally the easiest pick; it doesn’t matter if you want to use your laptop and mouse lying on the bed or working at your desk; a book cover, especially if it’s a hardcover, will do the job perfectly.

I remember using books in the dorm to play games with my friends, and as you can tell, the better the book, the more rounds you could win 🙂

But again, remember that if you have an optical mouse, you must use a non-glossy book cover.


Hardcover book


2. White Paper

It’s not the best option and may not feel entirely smooth for mics. However, it’s accessible almost everywhere; you can add a few papers to each other to create a more stable area for your mouse.

If you have a laser mouse, you can use any paper you like; however, you should avoid glossy papers for optical mics since they can’t sense the surface correctly.


3. Duct Tape

If you have an uneven working surface, you can use duct tape to create a smooth area for your mouse.

For a better result, I recommend using wide and thick duct tape. Also, you can combine it with other options below, like cardboard or a folder, to make a small makeshift mousepad.

Don’t forget that, as we mentioned, if you have an optical mouse, you should avoid glossy tapes.


4. Folder

Folders usually have a smooth surface that can be used for mics, especially if you work at an office; you can easily find a new folder and turn it into a mousepad. 

Also, you can make it more comfortable and smooth using a duct tape covering its surface.

Reminder, if you have an optical mouse, you should avoid glossy folders.


Folder mousepad


5. Cardboard

take a piece of cardboard, cut it into the size of a mousepad, and there you go! It’s an easy substitute for a mouse pad. 

If you want to make it fancier, again, you can cover its surface with duct tape and make it smoother for your hand and the mic.

One good thing about these cardboards or some of the other alternatives is that you can throw them away any time you like and replace them with a new one. No more mousepad cleaning is required!

Reminder, if you have an optical mouse, you should avoid glossy tapes or cardboards.




6. Wax Paper

I wouldn’t say I like wax papers as a mousepad, nor have I ever used them. They don’t provide a stable area like books or folders and mostly don’t work well for optical mice. 

However, I wanted to keep it on the list if you don’t have other options available nearby.


7. Drawing Clipboard

Drawing boards are mostly made of wood or plastic; they provide a flat smooth surface to draw on, or in our case, use the mouse on 🙂

Since these drawing clipboards are sturdy and don’t bend, they are perfect for working, for example, in bed or outdoors.

Reminder, if you have an optical mouse, you should avoid glossy clipboards; it’s better to pick a wood clipboard.


Drawing Clipboard


8. Magazines

Just like books, magazines are one of the easiest and best choices. They can be found almost in every house or office.

If you want the best mousepad alternative, choose a hard-cover book or magazine, and it works perfectly.

Reminder, if you have an optical mouse, you need to avoid glossy covers.


9. Desk Surface

Most mouses around the world are being used directly on desktops.

The main reason for using a mousepad is to reduce friction between mouse and desk and to create a soft area for your wrist. Also, using a mousepad protects the desk surface from getting damaged in the long term.

However, if you have a smooth desktop like a nice wood desk or even a glass one, you can easily use your mouse directly on the desk.


mouse on desk


It may not be as smooth as a cloth mousepad and may leave some signs on the desk over time, but it’s practical if you don’t have any alternatives nearby.

Reminder, if you have an optical mouse, you must avoid glass or reflective desktops.


10. Bed Sheets

If you work with your laptop on your bed regularly, just create a flat area using your bed sheet.

It will not be perfect, so I won’t recommend using it for playing games where accuracy is important, but it does just fine for handling basic day-to-day tasks.

However, bed sheets can’t be completely flat and may not even work with optical mics, but if you have a laser mouse, it’s all good.


11. Create Your Own/DIY Mousepads 

Creating a mousepad isn’t really that hard; at the same time, a DIY mousepad is much more budget-friendly, and you can customize it the way you like to fit perfectly on your desk setup.

Here are two easy tutorials you can follow and make your mousepad in minutes:



DYI Mousepad



Surfaces to Avoid

In the previous section, we discussed 11 makeshift mousepad options that you can choose from.

Now let’s discuss the materials you need to avoid.

First, as we repeatedly said during the article, you must avoid any glossy or reflective surface if you have an optical mouse because the mouse can’t sense these surfaces properly. In contrast, laser mics work almost on all surfaces.

However, you should avoid uneven or harsh surfaces, even with a laser mouse. If the surface isn’t smooth, it will damage the mouse in the long term and gets very uncomfortable for your wrist.

Also, if you have a curled or rolled up mousepad, you can follow the steps in this article to flatten it out: Flattening a Curled Mousepad





What is the Best Material for Mousepads?

Ideally, the mousepad should be soft and smooth. So, Polyester Fabrics, Cloth, felt or even leather are good choices. Also, if you prefer hard mouse pads (they may be slightly more accurate), you can pick Wood or plastic ones.


Can I use a Mouse without a mousepad?

Of course, most modern mics are made to work on flat, smooth surfaces like your desk (non-glossy for optical mics).

Mousepads are not mandatory. They are made to enhance your mic’s performance and create a comfortable area for your wrist.



A smooth mousepad reduces friction, enhances mouse precision, and creates a comfortable area for your wrist.

And the good part here is that you don’t need to buy a new one. This article covered 11 simple alternatives to use instead of a mousepad.


To summarize it all, here’s the list of makeshift mousepads:

  • Books
  • White Paper (non-glossy)
  • Duct Tape
  • Folder
  • Cardboard
  • Wax Paper
  • Drawing Clipboard
  • Magazines
  • Desk Surface
  • Bed Sheets
  • Create Your Own


I hope one of the options mentioned above helps smoothen your experience working with your mouse.


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