A free mouse pad may be the farthest from your mind when building your own computer system, or setting up a home office, but it certainly doesn’t hurt to get one…especially if it’s free.
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Mouse pads rarely get the attention they deserve. But once they get worn out, you suddenly feel how heavy it “feels” to move the cursor while you work, or play a game, or complete any other task for that matter.
So where can you get a free mousepad? It seems like there are lots of sites that offer free mousepads… but what is the catch? What do you have to do to sign up and get one? Do you have to pay for shipping?
On this post, I’ll discuss everything you need to know to get yours and reveal which sites to visit if your mouse pad is on the brink of death.
3 Ways to Receive a Free Mouse Pad
Here are some foolproof ways of obtaining a free mouse pad:
Mouse Pad Sellers
Yes, there are shops that sell mouse pads exclusively. And if you want to order a ton, or try out their services, you can do so by sending a request.
- Mr. Mousepad – Fill out the form and wait for the sample to be delivered after 2 days.
- BetterMousepads and AllMousepads – Samples can be ordered for shipping to locations within the United States. Provide your UPS/FedEx account number to cover shipping.
- CustomMousePad.com – Note that some of these sellers require that you have a valid business for them to process your free mouse pad samples. This site is a good example of such sellers.
Computer stores love giving away mouse pads to customers because they usually pay for themselves.
As a promotional item: Computer stores print out their shop’s name, website URL, contact details, or even their best-selling items onto the mouse pad. The store then includes these mouse pads as a freebie for other items, or as gifts during major sales.
If you’re buying computer parts and discovered that you need a change of mouse pad soon, ask the store if they have mousepad freebies available. There’s a good chance they have some just collecting dust at the back of the store.
For online stores, your best bet to get freebies is to shop during Black Friday or other special sales. To be updated with promotions like these, register to newsletters of NewEgg, Best Buy, TigerDirect, and other one-stop shop for everything computer-related.
Printing, Promotional & Marketing Companies
If you’ve ever had to custom-make stickers or address labels in the past, you know that printing shops and marketing companies can produce unlimited amounts of promotional items, as customized as you want them to be.
When it comes to free mouse pad, you should look out for companies in this field since they usually provide free samples if:
- you have a valid business and is willing to show proof of this business
- or you are willing to pay for shipping and handling cost
Either way, these companies are open to send you a free mouse pad in hopes of sealing a bigger order from you in the future. Examples of this are companies like Macro Promos, Promotions Now, or Harmony Designs, which give you a random mousepad sample (so only get from here if you’re not picky with designs).
7 Cool Mouse Pad Alternative Ideas
If you need something to use while your sample arrives, here are examples of what to use as a mouse pad replacement or substitute. You might even like them better than the mousepads you’ve paid for.
1. Original World’s Cheapest Optical Mousepad
If you have a printer, then you’ll be able to create the world’s cheapest optical mousepad.
Just download the template from the website, print it out, and tape it to your work surface. Use as normal mouse pad.
Some people who used this template stick the printed “mousepad” onto something bulkier like a book, or on top of a raggedy mouse pad.
2. From the Kitchen: Parchment Paper and Placemat
If you don’t have a printer, or it is currently broken or have no ink, go to your kitchen and check out if you have the following items:
- parchment paper – Used usually for baking, this paper is non-stick, durable and is able to withstand high heat. However, it may be tricky to glue it onto some surfaces or type of desk.
- place mat – Check your storage for a vinyl placemat or any placement with a smooth surface. Skip fancy textured mats or woven mats if you’re going to use it as a mousepad alternative.
Wax paper could also work, but only temporarily, since they’re quicker to heat up.
3. Auto Window Tint
If your table is glass and you’re looking for a mouse pad substitute, Lifehacker shared a way to use automotive window tint for your laser mouse to work.
You can create multiple mouse pads with a $10 roll. Note that when you choose a window tint at your local auto-parts store, pick one with 5 percent tint, which is less reflective and more ideal for its mouse pad purpose. Going beyond this is probably overkill.
4. Magazines, Books or Paper
These are pretty handy, since most households have old books, paper or magazines readily available to be used as a mouse pad replacement.
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- Magazines – Choose the thick magazines, so it won’t move as you use it. If you can, avoid reflective, glossy and flimsy magazines as well.
- Book – Go with a hardcover book, since pages of paperbacks tend to flip as you use it as a mouse pad. If you can find a bigger-sized coffee table book for this purpose, it would give you a bigger surface area to work with.
- Paper – The standard printer paper will do, but you might need to change it daily, especially if you have sweaty palms.
Check your garage for an unused cardboard box. Cut out a piece of the cardboard to your required size or shape. You can tape the sides, or leave it rough – it totally depends on your taste, but it wouldn’t really matter. You could use a cut cardboard as a mouse pad and be able to click with precision.
6. Duct tape
Duct tape is a pretty versatile material. MythBusters even made a duct tape boat!
You can add this do-it-yourself mouse pad to the list of duct tape uses.
You can keep it simple and cut several strips to form the mouse pad of your preferred size, or go with a more complex design with layers upon layers of duct tape. The key here is to end up with a smooth surface for the mouse to glide effortlessly.
7. Cutting Mat
If you’re a crafter, hobbyist or DIY-er, you’ll know this green mat with grid-lines with your heart. Its surface would work well for as a mouse pad alternative, but you might need to get it back again if you’d need it for a project.
The Bottom Line
If you can’t get a free mouse pad, or can’t wait for the mousepad sample to arrive, you can always use some of the mouse pad alternatives listed here.
You can even combine these materials (cardboard + duct tape, or book + window tint) and McGyver your mouse pad as you please.
Or better yet, just use your free Target gift cards to buy a more durable mouse pad for future use.