How to Make a DDR Arcade Machine Dance Pad Cover
Okay, so I know not everyone out there went crazy and bought a Dance Dance Revolution arcade machine with their tax return / money that was supposed to go toward paying off the car. BUT! If you did, then this mini tutorial is for you!
Now, it needs to be stated that there is a phenomenal amount of dirt and grime that gets pounded into the cracks of the dance pads, and excess dirt and debris will affect game play. If you have bought a machine from an arcade or private party, the first thing to do it to open that bad boy up and clean out the innards (plan on this eating up a whole day.. not even joking), and take time to familiarize yourself with the machine and its components.
My husband and I spent our rare weekend date time taking our machine apart and the results weren’t pretty. Check out some before and afters:
Needless to say, after toiling over (literally) inches of caked on arcade dust and grime, and possibly contracting who knows what exotic rhythm action dance game disease is out there, we are now EXTREMELY interested in keeping this son of a bitch clean. FOREVER.
I am now acutely aware of every dust, speck, smudge and miscellaneous smidgen of filth that gets tracked onto my dance pads. With my machine living in my garage, and us being located in the Central Valley of California (basically, where all the farmers like to kick up dust 24/7), it is impossible to NOT get dirt and grime on the machine while playing, even with wiping shoes off before gameplay. So a dance pad cover was definitely in order.
Now, you DO NOT have to make your dance pad cover special or fancy. Really. A twin size fitted bed sheet with notched edges (not the kind that has elastic all the way around) will fit over the corners, with a little awkward tension around the balance bars. You can usually find twin fitted sheets dirt cheap at a thrift store. (I happened to steal this one from my mother, because I am cheap like that.)
Note the tension around the back edges. It works, but it could be so. much. more. *dramatic*
I decided to make the sheet a little more form fitting with slits for the balance bars because with two toddlers, five cats and a giant moose of a golden retriever going in and out of my garage, it is easy for the back edges to pop right off. Also, I like spending my increasingly limited time working on frilly projects that have no real value in the grand scheme of existence.
So here’s, what I did to make my dance pad cover!
Put the twin sheet on the pad, with the elastic corners snugly down on all four corners of the dance pad. Pull the sheet up the balance bars until the sheet is nice and taut (not freakishly tight, just snug) and then grab a marker to mark the cut line. Be sure to mark how wide the slit needs to go as well – about half an inch beyond the bars on each side so it has some give and wiggle room.
Cut the slit in your sheet and then trace it out on the dance pad. Now if you are really lazy, you can stop right here. BUT, the sheet is liable to tear sooner or later, so you have a couple of options.
At this point you can turn the edges under and hem them on a sewing machine. You could also turn them under and secure with fabric glue. You could even gob on tons of fabric glue along areas starting to fray. OR, you can go all Susie Homemaker and put a cute decorative border along the slit. LET’S DO THAT!!!
I decided to use this Marvel Superhero fabric that was left over from the burp clothes and diaper covers I made like.. three years ago? (Holy crap. That was a long time ago. CLICK HERE to check them out. Melt your face adorable!) I did a rough measure of how wide I wanted my decorative border, cut out the fabric, and secured it using primarily top stitches over the top of the dance pad, being sure to reinforce the corners where the sheet will experience some friction and tension if pulled on.
Aaaaand, that is pretty much it. Easy peasy. You can also iron the sheet if you want to. I didnt want to. So there.
Keep some gentle cleanser in a spray bottle and some paper towels handy and whenever you are done playing, just wipe the machine down and slide the cover over, placing the slits over the balance bars first, then tucking in each side until the sheet is snug.
Oh, and be sure to tell your friends that they have to take the cover OFF before playing. I kid you not, my friend playing with it on, FELL DOWN, and came inside the house all confused, asking what the purpose of the sheet was. YEAH, SAYLOR, I AM LOOKING AT YOU!
Hope this tutorial was helpful for someone (anyone?!) out there. I may be wrong, but it seems like DDR arcade machine owners are a bit of a rarity. 😉