I started my stamping days on a hard surface. When I moved onto detailed stamps, I would turn the ink side up and press the paper to the stamp. It worked... but now I use a piece of thin foam packaging and stamp on it. It's incredible and consistent. A mouse pad would probably work the same way.
I've tried both. I found if you like a softer mat, an upside down mouse pad works great. Through trial and error, though, I've come to really like a glass mat. It prevents those stamp edges that you get sometimes. Of course, the really important thing is to not rock your stamps - just press straight down and lift straight back up.
For me a solid surface is best, especially with a more detailed stamp. But when I want a more spooky or scifi look I stamp on a squishy surface like a foam sheet, a mouse pad is too thick for my taste, but that is just me!
I'm sure most times it just a personal preference for anybody how they like to stamp. It can't be wrong if you like how it turns out
I always stamp on a hard surface, I didn't know you could stamp on a softer surface...great new tip, I will have to try that! You ladies (and gents) have the best ideas. Thank you and best wishes to all.