Glam Up Your Desk with a Decoupaged Desk Pad

Have you ever considered decoupaging a desk pad? This quick and easy project will instantly make your workspace look gorgeous!

A few years ago, I bought this soft, flexible desk pad to use underneath my laptop on the dining table or wherever I sit down to work (creating my own dedicated workspace begins next week!).

When I searched for the link to post here, I was surprised to learn that it is called an oversized or gaming mouse pad – not a desk pad! It doesn’t really matter. The 12 x 30 inches rubbery, soft pad with a fabric layer and stitched edges suited my needs perfectly.

A desk pad or oversized mouse pad in black with bright pink roses decorating the corners

This design, however, is a little harsh on the eye. I can’t remember if I chose this design or if it was all I could find. I like the flowers, they are just a little bold for my current taste, and the black background is not my thing (anymore).

If you’ve known me for longer than two minutes, you also know that if I don’t like the look of something, I change it; that is exactly what I did!

Can Fabric be Painted?

This a popular question, and the answer is yes! The secret is to keep your fabric just a little wetter than damp throughout the painting process.

This will prevent the paint from forming a thick, dry layer that will crack and crumble. You basically want to stain the fabric with paint using thin layers, building up the color to the desired look.

Dixie Belle’s misting bottle is perfect for wetting fabric without soaking it. It’s best to mist before and also during painting to keep the paint moving and enable it to get right into the fibers of the fabric.

Painting over the fabric of a desk pad or over-sized mouse pad

After misting the whole pad with water, I started painting with white chalk paint. This step is crucial! Whether you’re using paper napkins or decoupage rice paper for your project, know that it will not cover any color or pattern underneath. Always paint your item white before decoupaging!

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Just like unfinished wood, the painted fabric will dry with scratchy little fibers standing up, and just like wood, you can sand them perfectly smooth with a 240-grit sanding sponge. (If you can even call it sanding, all it needs is one light wipe with the sanding sponge to be super smooth.)

Decoupaging with Rice Paper

The blue-on-white sketched flower design stole my heart the moment I saw it! I was over the moon that I finally had the perfect project to use it.

Traditionally, you would use Mod Podge to apply and seal your decoupage paper, but I used Dixie Belle’s Clar Coat sealer, which worked perfectly.

Using dixie belle clear coat sealer instead of mod podge for decoupaging

I painted the middle section of the desk pad, slightly bigger than one sheet of the decoupage paper, with a generous amount of Clear Coat.

Applying the first sheet of decoupage rice paper

Dixie Belle’s decoupage paper includes three sheets per pack, which was perfect because I needed three sheets (just under one square foot each) to cover this desk pad.

The pattern on the individual sheets lines up perfectly, like wallpaper, but you will have to cut off the unprinted edges first.

Smoothing out the decoupage rice paper witha clean paint brush

A clean paintbrush worked perfectly to push the paper down onto the Clear Coat, smoothing it out to avoid air bubbles and not stretching or tearing the paper.

Applying more sheets of decoupage rice paper

I placed the first sheet perfectly centered to space the two joints equally in case they are visible. Luckily, the sheats lined up seamlessly, and I almost forgot there were any joints.

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I tried my best to smooth out the paper thoroughly, but it does start to stretch as it gets wet, and a few wrinkles on a decoupage project are normal. After trimming the excess paper, I sealed the whole surface with three thick coats of sealer, allowing ample drying time between each coat.

Painting the stitched edges with nautical silk mineral paint

Lastly, I finished off the stitched edge by painting it with my all-time favorite blue color, Nautical.

A Brand New Desk Pad in Blue and White

The completed decoupaged desk pad

If you know how much I love blue and white, you can imagine how happy this new look makes me!

The decoupaged desk pad is still soft enough to roll up

You might be surprised to know that the pad is just as flexible as it used to be. The paper layer moves effortlessly with the rubber backing. I am amazed myself! I had no idea if decoupaging a flexible surface would be possible without tearing or cracking the paper. This was an experiment that turned out beautifully!

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I enjoy using the desk pad more than ever! Do you think it’s an upgrade? Let me know in the comments below, and until next time, happy crafting!

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