Thursday, 15 July 2010

101 uses for a surplus mouse mat

This month Lynne at The Altered Element gave us the chance to choose items to use for our DT challenge projects. So, being strict with myself and in keeping with the spirit of "challenge" I selected the bits and pieces in the picture below. Big challenge... no purple this month.

I also self selected an item for the upcycle challenge - this mouse mat that came free with a music magazine and had been hanging around for ages.

Use number one would of course be as a mouse mat but in the age of the infra red mouse it isn't really needed.

Use number two would be as a pricking mat. The back although not very thick (it was a freebie after all) is soft foam and the picture, which would be the bottom when pricking, is tough and plasticy so you wouldn't go right through.

I was obviously in a destructive mood though and simple stabbing wasn't enough so I cut the mat into pieces. I have to confess I haven't actually got anywhere near to 101 uses but I did find a couple more to use in my projects....

Use three - make your own stamps.

Heat the underneath foam side gently and then press firmly onto items of your choice to make indentations. Hold for a minute whilst the foam cools and sets before lifting off. If you don't like the result you can reheat and try again. You can also do this technique with a Rub it Scrub it stamp cleaning mat when the scrubbing surface has worn out.

SAFTEY FIRST THOUGH - holding near a light bulb (one that is on of course) is enough. Don't go mad with a heat gun or any other heat source for that matter. Take care not to over heat and work in a well ventilated room in case of fumes. Make sure you use heat resistant things to impress your pattern too. Here I used fancy paper clips to make a swirly design.

One of the items in my DT selection was a chain bracelet. I made grunge paper charms - more recycling. The left over green painted grunge paper from my birdy creation last month got a new lick of paint, some spritzes with mica spray and overstamping (with my home made stamp) with assorted yellow and brown paint dabbers and inks. Each is finished with an eyelet and attached with a jump ring.

I made the reverse sides a slightly more subdued pinkier base colour and although you can't tell from the photo they have some Stickles glitter glue smeared on them.

Use four....

Squares of mouse mat fit into the Ranger memory frames and make an excellent cheap and safe alternative to glass slides when making items of jewellery.

In this first pendant I have coloured the frame with alcohol ink. The front of the pendant is the foan side of the mat. I paintend it with Lumiere gold paint, heated and stamped into it with a rubber stamp. The sparkly accents are more Stickles in gold and silver.

To cover the picture on the mat I used a piece of gold card daubed with alcohol ink.

Pendant number two has the frame painted with watered down (it is old and thick and I don't like the bulky, stubby brush) Crackle paint, inked over with some chalk and Brilliance ink pads once dry. These heat set but need a paint grounding to work really well on metal.

The collage on the front is made of scraps of music score stained with walnut ink and embellished with an image from the ArtChix sheet and some German Scrap.

The picture for the reverse is stamped onto tissue paper and coloured on the back with inks before glueing it to the mat. I painted two coats of Mod Podge over the top in opposite directions to protect the surface and give it some texture.

Uses 5 to 101 TBA when I think of them.

Because the ArtChix image sheet had pictures the right side for microscope slides I had to decorate a slide mailer. Not strictly recycling is it but I do have rather a lot of "blank" things that I've bought because I'm bound to use them one day so another challenge to myself - get something out and use it!

I covered the whole thing with torn pices of music score, wiped over with gesso, then paint dabber, then Stickles and then spritzed with mica spray to get a colourful messy background to blend with the yellow scheme of the images.

I glued on an image front and back and stamped words onto tissue paper to stick iinside. - More spritzing afterwards to blend them in.

I always use Xyron to stick images onto glass. That bit of all over stick makes it less likely for splinters of glass to cause injury if the slide is accidentally broken. I have coloured metal tape with alcohol ink and stuck it all round the edges for extra protection. The slide is glued into the aperture with a snippet of ribbon behind.

More pretty birds but NO purple in sight.


  1. Clever - wow!!!! Great item as an Upcycle challenge. I also selected ARTchix images (first time trying them out) but different sheet from yourself. TFS all those amazing projects. Isn't it the best fun being on The Altered Element Design Tean :) Lynne M

  2. I am so in awe, you have been so original in what you have done with the mouse mat and your makes have worked out so well,

    Lucy x

  3. Loving it all, especially the slide mailer.

  4. Love how you have created all these wonderful projects. Although I wouldn't dare heat the mouse mat you have certainly given me food for thought. Thank you. Annette

  5. omw I love your blog - and am off now to find a mouse mat !!!!! mmmm think there must be one around here somewhere - your blog is so inspirational - thanks for my browse - off to follow you - thanks for sharing - lv Liz

  6. Amazing use of a mouse mat - and everything you made is gorgeous!

  7. Oh my goodness! I thought a mouse mat was just a mouse mat! It really is amazing what you come up with :-)
    Now, you asked about bunny. He is now enormous and very destructive!! But i love him all the same :-) I have got lots of chewy toys for him but he still prefers the skirting board LOL!

  8. Lovely work but I have just shown this blog to my partner (a die hard Iron Maiden fan) and he said Noooooooooo! lol