Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Make a Custom Desk Pad. Any Size! Any Design!

I've mentioned before that I'm cheap, right? 

My home office has a cute, but small (cheap) desk that I use quite a bit for blogging/studying and the table top shows it. It has areas where the paint is dented and even flaking off. Of course, I could sand it down and paint it, but that seems like too much work for a cheap, cheap desk. I decided to just cover it up instead until I find a thrift store desk to reinvent.

Has it ever happened to you that when you make a decision (that you think will be simple) and it turns out to be a major pain in the butt? Yeah. Story of my life.

Well, I thought I could just buy a desk pad. Ha! My desk is too skinny!  It's only just over 15 inches from front to back and that made it impossible to find a commercial desk pad that would fit the space.

In true, Overthrow Martha fashion,  I decided to make my own. You're totally surprised, right?!
#DIY make a custom desk pad! It's simple and easy.

While on a recent (and very important) mission to look for fabric, I noticed that Hobby Lobby sells vinyl by the foot and at that moment an idea was born. I could use the vinyl and create my own custom desk pad! It would be the EXACT size I wanted.

So, there I was, standing in the middle of Hobby Lobby, lovingly caressing this roll of vinyl, pondering my plans. In retrospect, I am pretty sure that I looked a little like Gollum caressing that ring because the lady who worked there was staring at me. My precious vinyl!!

Okay, okay, yes, I'm weird, but my mother sat on my head when she was giving birth to me. I'm pretty sure that has something to do with it.

Anyways, plain vinyl is boring and a little thin, but I remembered that I saw this great tutorial from A Little Tipsy where she uses an existing desk pad and decorates it using wrapping paper. Brilliant!

So, I'm at Hobby Lobby with my new idea floating around in my head, but I hadn't taken any measurements. I decided what the heck! I'll buy 5 ft and do one for my craft table, too. It was only $6.99/yard anyways so I might as well have some extra just in case I made a mistake.

And I did! I made 2 mistakes cutting so I'm glad I bought extra, but I still have A LOT left over-- nearly 2 feet!  At least I have plenty more for whatever crafting project comes up next!

What You Need: 
  • Vinyl by the foot
  • Wrapping paper or fabric
  • Spray Adhesive
  • Scissors
  • Measuring tape
  • Gridded paper (optional) and L-shaped, right angle ruler
There are two ways to do this project: One if you have gridded wrapping paper and the other if you don't or are using fabric.

Method 1: If you do NOT have gridded wrapping paper

Use a piece of large paper (gridded preferably) that is bigger than your project. I used the paper that came with the vinyl which was NOT gridded. ::sad face::

On the paper using a straight edge or a 90 degree measuring tool, draw the shape of the custom desk/craft pad using the measurements you have decided that you want.

Tape the vinyl to the paper so it doesn't move. I suggest that you tape on the OUTSIDE of your marked area.

Cut the vinyl using the lines you drew

Have your wrapping paper nearby so when you spray the vinyl with the adhesive spray you can immediately apply the design before the spray dries.  

Spray the adhesive spray, then slowly roll out the paper (design side down, white side towards you), smoothing out any bubbles as you go.

When you're done, then just trim the excess from the edges with your scissors. Feel free to round the corners or make a design into the desk pad.

Project complete!

*You may have to touch up the edges a bit if there wasn't enough spray adhesive applied.

Method 2: If you have gridded wrapping paper

This is much easier, but you don't always find the design you want with grids on the back! Ladies, we all know that style comes first, and function second, right? That's why we wear heels. 

Also note that your measurements won't be exact with the method so if you want something an exact size, then do method 1.

Yay! Gridded wrapping paper!!

Roughly cut the vinyl into the size you have determined that you want, making sure that it is at least one inch longer on all sizes (more is fine and probably better if you are a klutz like me).

Lay it on a clean surface with the wall paper near by. I recommend using paper underneath to make sure you don't spray your floor or table with adhesive.

Spray the vinyl with the spray adhesive. 

With the decorated side of the wrapping paper towards the sticky vinyl (white, gridded side will be towards you) carefully roll the wrapping paper onto the vinyl, paying attention to keep the grid lines relatively straight in relation to the vinyl. It does not have to be perfectly straight (unless you are using a design with straight lines). Just use your best estimate. 

Smooth out any bubbles in the wrapping paper as you go.

With the wrapping paper grid side up, vinyl side down, use the grid as a guide. Find the straight line which is closest to your desired measurements. Make sure that this line has both vinyl and wrapping paper adhered together all the way down.

Cut through the vinyl and wrapping paper using the straight line as guide. This will allow you to have beautiful, straight edges with practically no fuss!

Pretty nice, right?!

Ideally, the decorative backing should peel off when you're bored of the pattern so you can replace it with any other design. But I think that's a long shot if you used wrapping paper. It's probably a bit more feasible with fabric. Good luck to you if you try!

Just remember that vinyl is only $6.99 a yard at Hobby Lobby. It would be easy to use your original desk pad as a template to cut out a new one to redecorate. 

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