I asked on Twitter about “rubberizing” my keyboard tray. I didn’t know where to begin solving this problem. I got some very helpful feedback and thought I’d follow up with the solution that worked for me, on the off chance it helps someone else.
I use a 6-way adjustable keyboard tray mounted underneath my NextDesk. My particular model isn’t available right now, but there are others like it. It basically lets me adjust position and angle on three axes, giving me the perfect ergonomic keyboard position whether I’m sitting or standing. And its big enough to hold a trackpad, a split mechanical keyboard, and a 15-key stream deck. And a Shuttle Xpress, though that’s not working for me anymore, with the combination of Big Sur and an M1 Mac mini (I can’t remember which one did it in). In short, I love this keyboard tray, except for one issue: its slick surface tends to let things slide while I’m working with it angled forward to any degree.
So I wanted to make the surface sticky. I didn’t want to get into rubberized paints, but I’d also tried those big gaming mousepads without luck. After trying a few things, I think I found the right solution.
First, I found this roll of non-slip stuff that feels like latex (though is supposed be latex free). It was good and tacky, but it was also shiny and immediately began collecting dust and cat hair. It also was a bit too sticky. I didn’t realize I wanted to be able to move my trackpad a bit as I switched position until it was no longer an option. Then I tried this stuff, which is more like a foam mat, similar to the surface of a standard mouse pad. It was the right amount of sticky, but it wasn’t sticky enough to keep the whole thing from sliding a little over time. I tried a few other things, like kitchen drawer liners, but the perfect solution ended up being a combination of the first two.
The too-sticky, too-shiny stuff made a perfect base for the not-sticky-enough roll of foam stuff. Both easy to cut to size, and the tacky layer is enough to keep the foam from sliding, while giving me the right amount of traction on the top side. Neither one is actually adhesive, so they’re easy to remove and clean when needed. It’s kind of a perfect solution. Both rolls come with enough material to do this a few times over, which I doubt I’ll need to do, but I assume that at some point in the future I’m going to want to make something else less slippery. I’m sure the cost will even out eventually.
Just thought I’d share, especially since the question seemed to get an unusually high response on social media. I’m apparently not alone in this need.
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