Improvising a pricking mat for stitching cards

If you are making a lot of cards with the prick and stitch method it is well worth getting one of the purpose made pricking mats that will be sold by your favourite craft store. Pricking mats are usually made from compressed fibre, felt or polyurethane foam. The size will be around 9 x 6 inches (22 x 16 centimetres) and ½ inch (1 centimetre) thick.

However, if you are new to stitching cards then you may want to improvise before you spend your hard earned cash. I have heard of people using the back of a mouse mat. I think this would be too thin on its own to allow the pricking pin to penetrate far enough. You could put the mouse mat on top of a couple of magazines to give added depth whilst protecting your work surface.

Another possibility is a folded towel. It should be folded enough times to allow the pricking pin to penetrate at least ¼ inch (5 mm). Carpet off-cuts,  the type of polystyrene used for packaging electronic equipment and foam rubber are some other possible ways of improvising a pricking mat.

Please let me know what you are using as a pricking mat by adding a comment to this post.

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17 thoughts on “Improvising a pricking mat for stitching cards”

  1. I use a folded pillowcase, it was to hand when I needed one, and worked OK, so I have continued to use it. Funky foam sounds good especially as I have several colours I NEVER use! 🙂

  2. My pricking mats are cut from a NATO camping mattress bought cheaply from a camping store. My husband has used some for separators in his camera cases, and I have used some for pricking mats, various sizes.

  3. I had an unused cork coaster that worked very well. When I was travelling recently, I forgot to bring my coaster and picked up a small cardboard box from the mailing center of a local store. It was convenient in the car, too, and I didn’t worry about forgetting it somewhere.

  4. I use a cutting board and put a cloth quilted placemat on top. The placemat is soft for the pin to stick into and the cutting board makes a great firm surface so i can work sitting on my sofa watching TV.

  5. I use a purpose bought pricking mat but have used cardboard and a mouse mat in the past. I will say however that I prefer the one made specifically for the purpose.

    If I intend to use the same pattern more than once (i.e. Christmas cards). I do use a thinner pricking tool and prick up to 4 cards at once. This saves time and allows me to get stitching the cards quicker.

  6. I have used a foam mousepad in the past (been card pricking for approx. 3 years now) but now regularly use a camping foam pad picnic kneeler, just the right size for my lap tray when watching/listening to television. I too have pricked through several pieces of card stock for favourite patterns, but have also used thicker paper which can then be layered on card stock and hides the stitching any way.

  7. I have just discovered prick and stitch cards after being an avid cross stitcher for many years. To begin with, I used a folded towel as a mat, as I was testing the free download patterns and didn’t want to spend a fortune if this craft wasn’t for me. I couldn’t find a specific made-for-the-job mat, so spent 99p on a foam garden kneeler (from Wilkinson’s). It’s nearly one inch thick, light and could even be cut into two. I’d recommend it!

  8. I use 2 pieces of the thick “fun foam” stacked on top of each other. I have used the same 2 pieces for at least a year. It almost seems like they are “self healing”. I flip them every once in a while and they are in great shape.

  9. I’m pretty new to this technique (just downloaded my very first bought pattern- yay I’m excited!!) so have just been using a piece of thick cardboard from a box. I clip this onto a clipboard along with my pattern and away I go.
    I’m loving the sound of the fun foam…my cardboard has been used quite a bit and needless to say it doesn’t “heal” !!

  10. I use two pieces of carpet tile stuck together, then put a thin piece of polysterene packing material pn the top of that, the latter piece being loose. I do use a proper pricking tool, have various sizes. I also prick out more than one card at a time

  11. I have been making the cards for a while and I use an piece of stryofoam like they use for making flower arrangements in the craft departments, except my is about an inch thick and flat.

  12. I use the foam from resturant togo containers. Then I’ve graduated to the craft foam. It comes in 1/4″ and soes last a very long time. It comes pretty big, so I cut it in half and Mom uses it, too. That makes it very cheep. Can’t imagine that the real pad could be better than this.

  13. I also started with the towel–went to the mouse pad and then I thought I was buying a pattern but came home and found it was the foam pad for pricking/ I do like it. I then found a huge one that is used for beading–cut it into 4 equal pieces. I teach the craft so the different items show the students what there is out there.
    I also start the students with a long upholsery pin to do the poking. They get to keep the pin and the needle from the class.

  14. Am I the only one who uses a felt pad (of approx. half a cm thick)? I use a hard cutting mat underneath to protect the surface I am working on in case the needle goes through the felt. Works a treat!

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