$15 Chair Mat – DIY

I needed a new chair mat for my office. I wanted one that was around 60″ wide. I was surprised when I went to Office Depot and found that a large size plastic chair mat ranged in price from $60 to $130. Prices at staples were the same. I finally found a cheap on at Walmart Online for $31 shipped but it didn’t get very good reviews. My solution was to make my own.

I went to Home Depot and picked out a 4’x8′ piece of Tri PLY underlayment for $10. Home Depot cut it down to 65″ for free. I also grabbed a small can of Red Mahogany Miniwax stain for $5. Miniwax offers 24 different stain colors from light to dark. Home Depot does sell sheets of solid hardwood for $30 but I went with the plywood to keep the cost down.

I quickly sanded the rough edges and rubbed the stain on with a piece of old T-shirt. It took all of 15 minutes to do. I waited until the next day and brought it inside. In my opinion it is much better looking than those clear plastic mats. Total cost was just over 15 bucks. My wife was cynical when I told her I was making a chair mat but after I brought the mat in she said that I could make one for her when her plastic mat wears out.

I have no idea how long this mat will last but my chair rolls on in very nicely. Unlike plastic mats there is no sign of the wheels making dents at all.

This entry was posted in Personal, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to $15 Chair Mat – DIY

  1. Craig says:

    Chair mat update: After a week I’m noticing that the wood is no longer lying flat. It is curling up a bit at the edges. Turning it over fixes the problem but only temporarily. It doesn’t bother me as the edge that is up is under my desk. If I were to do it again I would try making my mat the same width as my desk and set the legs of my desk right on it to hold it down. Even with this minor problem it is still a deal at $15, looks good too.

  2. Bob R. says:

    Great idea. I also saw a page where they they also attached wood-grain adhesive-backed vinyl floor tiles to the underlayment instead of staining it. This adds a little more thickness and also a little resistance to rolling if you want that, depending on the tiles you choose. The underlayment also comes in 4’x4′ at some stores and of course at Lowe’s or Home Depot they will cut it down to 3’x4′ for a smaller desk. 4’x4′ would take 16 tiles (~$1 each) and 3’x4′ would take 12. I don’t know how they keep selling those plastic mats. Most of the ones under $50 crack quickly.

  3. Craig Harris says:

    It has been well over a year since I made my wooden mat and it is great. On the edge I approach my desk from there are some small chips in the wood where my shoes scrape the edge of the mat. If I had used the more expensive hardwood sheet this wouldn’t happen. There is a slight curl up on the one edge under my desk. The rest of the mat lays flat and I only turned it that one time shortly after I first layed it down. There are no dents or wheel marks after a year of daily use.

    I’m very happy with my $15 mat and would do it again. I might spring for a sheet of hardwood next time.

  4. Aaron Couch says:

    Hey Craig,

    I want to do this, but I’ve got hardwood floors. Do you think the wood would slide around and scratch it at all? Any recommendations for keeping it from damaging the floor? I probably will get it big enough to set my desk on, so that should help some.

    Thanks and great post!

  5. Rob Hanson says:

    Hey Craig (found you while trying to make myself less foolish). I purchased a wood-style chairmat from Staples for $40. Well, I didn’t think about it being for a carpeted area. So, I now know someone very personally that ends up moving this around all day long and it is driving me nuts because it won’t stay in place. The carpet is expensive, so I don’t want to use an adhesive or tape (or nails if I was even more dim-witted than I already am). Anything pop into your mind that could be used so it doesn’t roll around halfway into the middle of the room by the end of the day? (Artwork is not an option either, I’m not hanging it). My dog likes it. It’s mine, darnit, I want it here. HELP!

    • David says:

      It’s been a while since you posted it, but if still in need, you could try gripping shelf liner. I’m not sure how much you would need, but you probably wouldn’t need to cover the entire back. It should work.

  6. B_Dubb_B says:

    What thickness of underlayment should one get?

  7. Craig Harris says:

    The sheet I used was 5mm thick, just under 1/4″.

  8. linda mersereau says:

    I AM IN NEED OF SOME ADVISE. I AM DISABLED AND I HAVE A STAPLES CHAIR MAT AS WE HAVE MOVED TO A HOME THAT HAS CARPETING. THE PROBLEM I AM HAVING IS MY WHEELS ARE CATCHING ON THE MAT AND MAKING IT VERY DIFFICULT TO USE AND IS EXTREMELY FRUSTRATING. I HAVE TAKEN THE MAT OUT BUT MY HUSBAND IS VERY CONCERNED I AM GOING TO HARM THE CARPET . PLEASE ADVISE

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


(required)*