Thursday, February 21, 2013

Computer Wrist Rests

As someone with mild joint problems who uses computers daily, I've spent a decent amount of time looking at ergonomic keyboards, gel mousepads and the like.  My struggle, however, was that most contraptions are expensive, and could only be upgraded on my home machine.  I highly doubt my office can afford to purchase ergonomic keyboards for everyone with ever encroaching carpal tunnel.  So, as per usual, I made my own wrist wrests for both my office and home computers!  These are super cheap (mostly just scrap fabric and rice) and, as seen above, can also make a personal statement to help spruce up your cubicle.  To make a set of your own you'll need:
  • Scrap fabric measuring 10"x20"
  • Coordinating thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Handsewing needle
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Rice
If you want amazing TARDIS fabric, like the design I used above, frequent Spacefem's shop on Etsy.  It's one of the only places I've found a good variety of Dr. Who themed fabric at a good price.

I started by measuring and cutting my two pieces.  I used a rotary cutter, metal ruler, and cutting mat, but a good pair of scissors and any ruler to measure the pieces would work just fine.  The keyboard rest starts as a 10"x14" rectangle and the mouse rest is 10"x6".  If your fabric has a directional pattern, like mine, make sure you're cutting so that the "fold" will be along the 14" width for the keyboard rest and the 6" width for the mouse rest.

Once you've cut your pieces, fold them inside out and sew around the two long sides and one of the short sides.  If you're not using a serger, you don't have to sew the second long side because of the fold.  I just wanted the serged edge to add some structure later on.  Leave one short side open to turn them and fill them with rice.

After they're sewn, turn them right side out and iron them to make the edges straight and nicely creased.  I put a ruler inside each pouch and used it to help line up the seam, making sure I was pressing it flat without any over or under lap.

The next step is optional, but I love contrast stitching and feel like it makes the rests more durable.  It also helps keep rice from coming out through loose seams.  I took both pieces and ran a topstitch around all three sides with my sewing machine.  I measured my seam allowance by lining up the edge of the seam at the interior edge of my presser foot.  I stopped a little short of the unstitched end and backstitched both ends of the seam to lock it into place.

Now comes the fun part, or at least the part that I recommend finding a helper for.  To fill the pouches with rice I used a medium funnel.  J held the pouch and funnel while I poured the rice from a large bag.  If you don't have an extra set of hands, stand the pouch up in a drinking glass and scoop the rice out of the bag and into the pouch in smaller amounts to avoid a rice covered counter.  Make sure to leave at least 1.5" of unfilled pouch at the top.

Cat wanted to help, but I needed someone with thumbs.
Now comes the most difficult part, and I apologize that I don't have pictures, but my hands were too full for a camera.  Turn the open top portion of the pouch in on itself at least .25" and pin it shut.  Then handstitch it closed using an overhand stitch, trying to just barely catch both edges each time.  This will help hide the stiches.  After the pouch is stitched closed, push all the rice away from the freshly sewn edge and run it through the sewing machine to top stitch the last end of the rectangle.  Make sure you're slow and methodical about that step, as the rice likes to slide under the needle and cause problems.

Hopefully your final product will look something like this:

Take them to the office and be ready to take custom orders from your coworkers!  Cheap, easy, and your wrists will thank you!

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