DIY Office Chair Mat & Caster Replacement




When I started working from home, I bought a nice desk and office chair.  The wheels/casters made deep divots into the carpet. (see photo).  My first solution was to buy a cheap floor mat from Office Max.  What I didn't know was that not all chair mats are worth buying and it cracked apart within days.

So I then invested in a more expensive mat hoping it wouldn't crack up.  It didn't crack.  However, the wheels continue to make fairly deep impressions into the mat - not as bad as the carpet, but bad enough that it was a nuisance and I felt that I had to drag the chair out of the impressions just to move it.

Next, I invested in oversized casters, which made a big difference - until I rolled off the mat onto the carpet.  Then I was back to square one.

I figured I need to come up with a better solution.  I spent some time googling and found a few people saying they'd used furniture movers/sliders, but I couldn't find a step-by-step so I had to make up a few steps, but it worked out.

I hope it works for you.

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Step 1: Create a Firm Foundation

The first challenge was to find a suitable foundation.  After searching craft stores, online, and considering making my own supports, I finally found the perfect solution: bun feet.  These are designed to be used as the feet under a couch or love seat.

They're perfect because they're round, solid and have a pre-drilled hole that comes in quite handy.  The only challenge is that pre-drilled hole is filled with a lag screw that needs to be removed for our purposes.  I found that channel lock pliers give the right leverage, but I'm sure vise grips would work equally well.

Simply unscrew and discard the lag screws.

Once I removed the lag screws, I replaced them with T-bolts, which I found in the specialty hardware section at Lowe's, and that fit perfect into the pre-drilled hole.

Step 2: Prepare Buns for Painting

After removing all five lag screws and replacing them with T-bolts, I screwed five, 1/4X20X2" machine screws just a few twists into each bun.  I figured this would protect the inside threads when I spray-painted the buns.  This would also allow me to paint the tops of the screw heads at the same time I painted the buns.

As an added benefit, the screws came in quite handy to hold the buns while I painted them.

I also prepared fender washers, but ultimately didn't use them.

Step 3: Paint the Buns

Now that I had the five buns ready to go, just a couple of quick coats of spray paint and we're well on the way.

Step 4: Prepare Star Base

While waiting for the paint to dry on the buns, now it's time to prepare the star base. 

First, you have to decide if you want to remove the base from the chair.  I did, but it's not required.  Regardless, remove the wheels/casters and flip the base/chair upside down.

My chair has decorative covers over the end of each leg that are held on with tiny screws, which are inserted through the holes used to insert the casters.  I removed those screws easily using a manual screw driver.

Step 5: Drill Base to Receive Buns

With the screws out of the way, you're now ready to drill 1/4" holes in each leg.

The decorative covers on my chair were held by two screws - one in the wheel/caster holes, and the other a bit further up the leg. 

When I drilled the first hole, it shattered the decorative cover on that leg.  So for the next four, I taped the decorative cover with duct tape so it wouldn't have any give.  That worked well for me.

Step 6: Install Buns

By now, the buns should be dry. 

Remove the screws from the buns.  Insert a screw through one of the newly drilled holes and screw the T-bolt onto the screw. 

I found that I didn't need to use a screwdriver to hold the screw as I tightened the bun - which is nice, since it would have scratched the paint on the screw head.

After installing the remaining four buns, your star base will look like a UFO or hovercraft.

Step 7: Prepare Sliders

I bought a package of 8 furniture movers/sliders at Home Depot for about $5.  There are certainly more expensive brands, but I'm pretty sure they all do the same thing.

The type I purchased had foam inserts - supposedly to accommodate furniture legs - which needed to be removed.  This took a bit of time but I needed a good surface for adhesion to the buns.

Step 8: Attach Sliders

Now you have to decide how to attach the sliders.  I thought about using some glue/epoxy, but realized that if I ever needed to replace the sliders, the glue/epoxy would make it impossible to remove the slider(s) without damaging the bun. So I decided to use 3M picture hangers.  It's like Velcro so it's removable, but very strong.

I removed the backing paper on one strip and pressed it to the bottom of a bun.  Then I pressed its "mate" onto it with the backing paper still intact.  This ensures the two will be lined up perfect when installing the sliders.  I used two pieces of 3M per bun.

After installing two 3M strips (with their mates) on each bun, remove the backing paper on the 3M strips on one of the buns.  Carefully center one of the furniture sliders over the prepared bun and press down firmly to stick the 3M to the slider.

Repeat on the other four legs to complete the process.

Step 9: How Well Does It Work?

After you've installed all five sliders, reinstall the star base to the chair and turn it upright.

Now you've got 5 furniture sliders under your chair that will make it "float' on carpet.  These sliders supposedly work on tile and hardwood, but I haven't tried it out.

Now that I don't sink into the carpet, I've removed my chair mat altogether.

I slide around the carpet quite easily.  I wouldn't say it's like rolling on a hard surface, but it's definitely better than trying to get the wheels up out of a carpet rut.

Overall, I'm quite happy with the results.

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16 Discussions


3 years ago

I made a cheap version (using moving men) that doesn't ruin the chair.

1 - I centered the wheels of the casters on the moving men and sat in the chair to make an impression on the black rubber pad on the moving men

2 - one at a time, I cut out the (indented) rubber material with a utility knife. The trick to cutting the material is to make an outline and then repeat the cuts until hitting the white base. I used a paint can opener to pry up the chunks of material in single pieces. I made them wide enough to ensure the wheel could touch the white plastic at the bottom, but not so wide that the wheel could move around. At this depth, the wheel will not roll out of the groove.

3 - install each one as it's modified.

Done. The chair moves around pretty easily and has not popped out of the glides. They can be removed it I need to move the chair to another location/room/etc.

5 replies

Reply 3 months ago

Just did this. Took all of about 5 minutes and works a charm!


Reply 11 months ago

I love this! Just did it in 20 minutes when I got home. Thanks for the idea!!!


Reply 2 years ago

this is what I did as well. If you save the some one of the cutouts for each disk, you can restick them to the top of the padded side in the center and it will slip between the wheels and hold it in even tighter.


Reply 2 years ago

I REALLY like this idea. My mat has lasted for a couple years but it's cracking now and I'm just fed up with them anyway. This is the route I'm going to go, as I already use these on a recliner in another room so that it can be moved easily. Excellent idea. I like the OP's idea too but this seems easier/quicker. Thanks to both of you though.


Reply 2 years ago

Awesome idea. How well has this held up?


5 years ago on Introduction

Project looks good . How has it held up over time? Has the carpet broken down from the friction?


6 years ago on Introduction

If you paint that one odd leg with black paint to match the others, nobody will ever know you shattered the black cover. Use a small brush and tape to keep the edges sharp.


6 years ago on Introduction

I made these for my chair and it doesn't slide every well when sitting in the chair. My chair is pretty heavy though. I think im going to make a wood plate that goes over the whole bottom of the chair. Then glue some plastic to the bottom of that. I'm guessing that more surface area would make it slide easier.


Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

I happened across them at Lowes. I've seen them at Home Depot as well. All of these big box stores seem to have a section of stuff to fix your couch.

I would really like your post ,it would really explain each and every point clearly well thanks for sharing.


7 years ago on Introduction

Bravo. I'll have to do this as well. I can't bring myself to buy a plastic mat that makes that rumble-strip on the highway noise. My carpet thanks you.