GPS holders, tablet stands, mouse pads - why buy them when you can build your own? Here's how to save money by creating your own tech accessories out of common home or office materials.
The new mouse pad
Baking or wax paper is an adequate substitute for a mouse pad. You can probably come up with all kinds of reasons why you wouldn't want to buy a new mouse pad. Fortunately, you can use a simple substitute. Take some baking paper and use sellotape to adhere a decently sized rectangle to your desk. You've now created an insta-mouse-pad that's every bit as slick and speedy as the £30 slabs you can purchase online.
Looking for a more personal touch? Buy a blank white mouse pad and some textile acrylic paint. Go to town with your artistic mind, let the paint dry, and then cover the whole pad with two layers of wax paper. Fire up an iron to medium-high heat, and then run it over the mouse pad. Your art will be forever sealed - and, more important, you'll have the coolest-looking mouse pad on the block.
Pocket-based earbud management
This piece of paper will save you minutes whenever you break out the earbuds. Few things in life are more frustrating than having to sort through a horrible knot of thin cabling before you can start rocking out with your portable media player of choice. It's the curse of the earbuds. Thankfully, the hassle is easily preventable with a few cheap tricks.
Here's the cheapest: start with a piece of paper measuring 4.25x5.5in (a quarter of a standard 8.5x11in sheet), and fold it so that its two longer edges meet. Now fold the result in half, but along the other axis (making the two shorter edges meet). Then fold that result in half. Crease it, and then squeeze the two edges slightly to form a small paper tube of sorts.
Slip in the earbuds so that they hang off the top of the tube you just created; the wire should dangle out of the bottom. Now wrap the wire around the paper tube, which should seal the whole thing together.
Read our step-by-step earbud-organiser instructions here.
Also acceptable: cut an old credit card in half, and carve two notches into the sides. One notch goes on the upper-left half of the card; the other, on the lower-right side. Make sure to cut a big enough hole such that a cord can wrap into the area, because that's exactly what you're going to do. Stick your earbuds in one notch and let the cord dangle out the other side. Now wrap the cord around the credit card piece horizontally (you should be holding the card piece vertically), and then tuck the earbud plug into the second notch once you near the end.
See also: Use old technology to make new gadgets
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- The new mouse pad