How to Make Dance Dance Revolution Mats Slip-Proof

This post contains affiliate links so that, if you buy these things through these links, I get a little dosh for showing you how to alter your DDR mats so you don’t slip, fall, and die like an old lady.

So me and Simon recently got back into Guitar Hero and we decided to get back into DDR while we were at it. I still had my favorite DDR game, Dance Dance Revolution Extreme 2, but we needed new mats to play it.

I did a lot of research on them and basically found that unless you were willing to shell out a few hundred for a metal mat, your home options are pretty shit. You either get the fold up mats which bunch up when you get too furious in the feets or you get the kind with foam inside, but the buttons are less responsive because the backing is less solid. On top of this, we have hardwood floors in my apartment so slippage was going to be an issue with either mat, but I was leaning toward the foam-insert ones since I knew we’d also need some impact cushioning. We get achy feet after only a few Guitar Hero songs worth of just standing on these floors, so I knew actually dancing was going to hurt too.

However, the foam ones are a bit more expensive and I didn’t want to pay a lot in case we ended up not being as into it as adults (see: the time we went to a roller skating rink and I fell multiple times, hurting my old lady knees and elbows). So I bought two of the fold-up kind that I had as a kid and came up with a plan to improve them.

I am so fuckin’ excited to tell you about this because honestly, I thought this was gonna end up being some hackneyed plan that only kinda worked, but holy shit. When I was done with them, these mats did. not. move. When Simon saw how well this plan worked, he hugged and kissed me because what a glorious gift it is to be engaged to a woman as brilliant as me.

Anyway, to do what I did, you will need:

  • A DDR mat.
  • A sheet of plywood for each mat, cut to the mat’s height and width. (quality does not matter really; we bought the cheapest sheets we could find. You just need this to give your mats some weight and provide a surface for everything else to be stapled to. Also, they’ll have someone at the hardware store who can cut the sheets to your dimensions.)
  • Non-slip shelf and drawer liner (contact paper, but not paper). (They have this at Wal-Mart in the homegoods section. You want the kind made of foam. I got two rolls of 20 inches by 6 feet and this was exactly enough to cover both of my mats. Depending on the size of your mats and your rolls, you may need to buy more or less.)
  • A staple gun and staples appropriate to the thickness of your plywood (I went with 5.16 mm).
  • Sandpaper.

So first step is to take your freshly cut plywood outside and sand the edges. You don’t want any splinters. Make sure everything is smooth, especially if you get an edge where the wood likes to splinter off.

Once your edges are smooth, you can unroll your contact liner on the floor. You want to be able to lay the plywood on it and have enough clearance around each side so that you can fold it over. You also want some overlap between contact liner sheets. Like so:

Next, lay your DDR mat on top of the wood. Make sure it’s lined up fairly well, as you want all the mat within the wood’s area so it will staple on.

I like to start the stapling process by folding over the contact liner where the cord panel is and stapling that down first. From there, you can start stapling the edging on the DDR mat down over the folded contact liner. Like this:

When you get to the corner, you’ll want to finish the edge up nice and neat. There’s a number of ways to arrange this, but this is what I did:

Kind of a bed-making technique. I put two staples in these finished corners just for good measure, since there’s three or four layers of contact liner.

From there, you just work your way down on both sides, making sure to pull everything taught.

Just be sure that you’re actually stapling the edging into the wood. I had some edges stapled too close and the staples came out. You obviously want to be very careful about this and make sure your staples are sticking in the wood.

Also, I accidentally stapled through the circle button on one of my mats, but it still worked fine when I tried it out so don’t be too worried about stapling too far into the edging. It’s very much better to staple closer in than farther out.

As for the seam in the back between sheets of contact liner, I left mine bare, but you may wish to tape yours over or – if your staples are shallow enough – even staple it down.

And that’s it! Simple and now your DDR mats are slip-proof, will probably register button presses better, and they won’t bunch up as you play. You’re welcome.

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December 2022