It sits there right under your wrist all day at work – the mouse pad. You could literally use just about anything as a mouse pad, whether it’s a pizza box or a magazine. So what makes this little mat so special?

The answer is in how it’s made! A mouse pad is built to ensure efficiency when it comes time to hop on the computer.

What Are Mouse Pads Made Of?

Mouse pads can be made from polyester, rubber, paper, and even aluminum.

Here’s the full list of materials that can be used to make mouse pads:

  • Aluminum
  • Fabric
  • Plastic
  • Rubber
  • Neoprene
  • Leather
  • Glass
  • Cork
  • Wood
  • Microfiber
  • Paper
  • Stone
  • Polyurethane
  • Stainless steel
  • Vynex

Regardless of material, mouse pads are designed so you can move your mouse freely and with more precision. This is essential when it comes to big assignments at work or even browsing the internet when you’re bored at home!

What is the Difference Between a Soft and Hard Mouse Pad?

A soft mouse pad has a padded rubber backing and a fabric cover, while a hard mouse pad has the same rubber base, but a plastic cover instead. Either style is great, it just depends on your preferences.

Soft Mouse Pads

Recommended for: Rollerball Mice

Soft mouse pads are typically used for school and work. They provide cushioning under the mouse, which makes it more comfortable for you to use the mouse for an extended period of time.

Hard Mouse Pads

Recommended for: Optical Mice or Laser Mice

Hard mouse pads are best for gaming. There’s very little friction, which allows you to move the mouse around with ease. It certainly makes blowing up those spaceships or navigating Pac-Man around the board a bit easier!

It may be worth having at least one of each type of mouse pad at your disposal. You never know when you’ll want to play a computer game or work on a long project.

How is a Mouse Pad Made?

The most popular mouse pads are made from a combination of rubber and hard plastic or soft fabric.

Here is how a mouse pad is made:

  • Step One: Hard or soft materials like aluminum or rubber are situated on giant rollers.
  • Step Two: The material is measured. Most square mouse pads are about 7.5” x 7.5.”
  • Step Three: A die cutter is used to create the desired shape for the mouse pad.
  • Step Four: Most mouse pads are fitted with a rubber composite at the bottom.
  • Step Five: The mouse pad is digitally printed with a design on the top like a business or school logo.
  • Step Six: The mouse pad is checked for quality control.
  • Step Seven: The mouse pad is ready to be used!
  1. Step 1

    Prepping the Material

    Sheets of hard or soft material are situated on giant rollers. This allows the factory workers to access a greater amount of material at a given time in order to produce a higher volume of mouse pads at a faster rate.

  2. Step 2

    Measuring the Material

    Measurements are taken to ensure that the mouse pad is a uniform size all the way across. Square mouse pads, which are the most common, are typically about 7.5” x 7.5”. However, they can be bigger or smaller depending on the manufacturer.

  3. Step 3

    Cutting the Material

    Die cutting is used to create any shape imaginable, whether it’s a traditional square or something more unique like a circle, heart, or paw print. Think of a die cutting machine as a giant cookie cutter, where the shape is cut out from giant rolls of plastic or fabric.

  4. Step 4

    Adding Rubber to the Bottom

    Mouse pads typically have lesser density rubber composites bonded to the bottom. This is because rubber is strong, resilient, and resistant to tears and abrasions. It also creates a non-slip base that’s essential when you’re moving a mouse around on the top.

  5. Step 5

    Printing with a Design

    The next step is adding a custom design to the front of the mouse pad. This is typically done via heat transfer or full color printing, which relies on lasers on inkjet printers to get the design onto the surface. Hard mouse pads may get their design printed during step one, before the material’s even cut. Soft mouse pads, on the other hand, are cut first and then printed with the design.

  6. Step 6

    Checking for Quality Control

    At this stage, the manufacturers ensure everything is good to go. They check that the design is clean and crisp and make sure no loose threads are hanging from the mouse pad.

  7. Step 7

    The Mouse Pad is Ready for Work

    Finally, the mouse pad is ready to go! You can buy custom mouse pads online from a promotional products company or just get one with a unique design from your favorite retailer.

A mouse pad is a fairly simple invention, but most of its value comes from the design that’s printed on the top. It’s a great way for businesses to advertise their company, whether they’re a realtor looking for open house gifts or a tech startup hosting a grand opening!

Do you not feel like reading? This video will show you how mouse pads are made from start to finish!

https://www.qualitylogoproducts.com/computer-accessories/computter-mouse-pad.htm

How Long Do Mouse Pads Last?

https://www.qualitylogoproducts.com/computer-accessories/computter-mouse-pad.htm

Even if you use it every day, you can expect your mouse pad to last for 5 to 10 years before it has to be replaced. This is true whether you’re a gamer, casual user, or office worker.

Your mouse pad can last even longer if you regularly clean it with soap and water. It might seem like a hassle, but it’s well worth the effort to ensure you get the most bang for your buck!

Is a Mouse Pad Necessary?

There has been a lot of debate in the tech world as to whether or not you actually need a mouse pad. In the early days of the computer, the mouse pad was essential as it gave the rollerball a place to grip. Now, a mouse pad isn’t technically necessary to make your mouse function.

That isn’t to say it isn’t worth the investment. There are many reasons why you should still use a mouse pad!

Mouse pads can be customized with a cool design or logo. This adds some visual interest to an otherwise boring workspace.

The mat protects your desk from getting scratched up over time. You’ll be happy to save your office space from unnecessary damage.

A soft mouse pad provides wrist support. This makes a long day at work more comfortable for you.

Are you a gamer? Gaming mouse pads made from hard materials are designed for quick movements without worrying about any lag in your mouse’s sensor.

Your mouse is less likely to be damaged with a pad underneath. The tracking function could pick up dirt, oils, or food crumbs that are left on the desk.

The Bottom Line

You can find mouse pads anywhere, whether it’s at a local store, online through Amazon, or in bulk at a promotional products company. They don’t have to be a boring part of your desk. Look for one that’s creative and interesting!

References

AZO Materials. (2015, April 10). Physical Properties of Rubber – A Buyer and Designer’s Guide. Retrieved September 23, 2019, from
https://www.azom.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=11914

Swenson, L. Difference Between Hard & Soft Mouse Pads. Retrieved September 23, 2019, from
https://smallbusiness.chron.com/difference-between-hard-soft-mouse-pads-39237.html

Computer Hope. (2017, December 29). Do I Need a Computer Mouse Pad? Retrieved September 24, 2019, from
https://www.computerhope.com/issues/ch001421.htm

Crider, M. (2017, April 27). Do You Really Need a Mouse Pad? Retrieved September 24, 2019, from
https://www.howtogeek.com/304367/do-you-really-need-a-mouse-pad/

Techquickie. (2018, August 28). Do You Still Need a Mousepad? Retrieved September 24, 2019, from
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iIJPozPJ-FA

About the author

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is a promo expert with over three years of experience in the industry. Her passion for writing has led to a BA in English & Communications from Aurora University and work published for the Advertising Specialty Institute and The Bolingbrook Sun Times.