If you are a bit familiar with the practice of soundproofing then you know exactly how exorbitant the cost of acoustic panels or sound absorbing panels are. And yet these products are quite good when it comes to blocking all sound from a room. The good news is that sound panels can be made at home with a few materials and the total cost of a DIY acoustic panel will be far less than buying it ready-made from a manufacturer.
By making it yourself, you will be cutting down the cost of labor that is included in the price. Moreover, homemade acoustic panels have an advantage over pre-made ones, in the sense that you can select the materials, size, built and look of the panels to specifically suit the room you are using them for.
The trick is to imitate a pre-made acoustic panel in its composition as closely as possible. When a sound wave hits a sound absorbing panel, it causes a set of vibrations within the material which converts the sound energy into heat and stops reverberations that should have been produced by the sound.
Required Tools and Materials
Your prime expenditure will be spent here, as taking the DIY route does not require you to pay the labor cost or the transportation cost.
Assuming that you do not have any tools for such a project, a list has been provided for what will be required and as is true for all things, there will be pricey tools and also tools with an average cost.
Sound absorbing material( Fiberglass/Rockwool/Egg Crate Foam etc)
Circular Saw / Utility Knife/ Scissors
Hot Glue / Green Glue
Wooden Boards / Plywood Panels
Acoustically Transparent Fabric
D-Ring Hangers / Nail hooks
It is recommended you go for the most functional tools with an average price so that you can spend most of the money for buying good quality materials.
The cost of materials will obviously go up if you are planning to build panels for multiple rooms.
How to Make Acoustic Panels?
Before you start building acoustic panels, you need to calculate the amount of wall surface you are going to cover and the percentage of acoustic solutions you will be offering on the walls.
Find out the surface area of each wall and use this number to calculate the percentage of wall you are going to cover with a soundproofing solution.
Usually 15-20% does the trick but for better results, you can cover 30-35% of a wall. Too much noise disturbance would require a coverage of at least 80% of the walls, ceiling and floors.
Now for the actual building part, follow these steps:
Plan the Amount of Materials
After you have calculated the wall surface area, you have to find out the amount of material you are going to need.
For instance, consider a 10 feet room ( Length X Breadth) with 8 feet height.
The surface area of this room will be 320 sq/feet. Assuming, you wish to cover roughly 35% of the walls in this room, thus 35% of 320sq/feet will be 112sq/feet.
For a 112 sq/feet coverage, the number of acoustic panels you are going to need is 14 or 15.
Buy the Sound Absorbing Material
This is the most crucial step of building DIY acoustic panels. The sound absorption capacity of the fabric will determine how effective the resultant panels will be. There is a variety of materials you can choose from, such as thick rigid insulation panels, acoustic foam, mineral wool, fiberglass or any other material. Usually, the denser the material, the better soundproofing but if the noise disturbance is not too much then a thin material will work just fine.
Also, the room for which you are building the panels should factor in your consideration for a fabric as, for example if the room in question is going to be a sound recording studio then acoustic foam panels will be the most effective solution.
Choose an Acoustically Transparent Fabric
When you are choosing a fabric to wrap DIY sound panels, it has to be acoustically transparent because otherwise the sounds will get reflected before it reaches the sound absorbing fabric and undergoes the loss in its intensity.
Make sure that the fabric is stretchable and hardy. A fabric pre-treated with a fire retardant is recommended for safety reasons and since the room needs to look aesthetically pleasing, choose an appropriate print for the fabric that goes with the design and feel of your room.
Build the Frame for the Acoustic Panel
Framing the absorption material firmly prevents it from sagging down with time and also holds it in place without movement. You can use small 1’’x4’’ rectangular boards and screw them together for building the frame.
When you install the fabric onto the frame, you can do so with a strong adhesive to give the whole panel a strong and seamless look.
Wrap Panel in Fabric
The Fabric should be large enough to wrap the whole panel so that when the panel is laid out in the center of the fabric, each side can be folded to reach at least the middle of the panel if not more.
Firstly, lay out the fabric on the ground and place the panel face-down in its center. Fold and pin the sides to the back of the frame with a stapler. Make sure the stapling is done at a consistent interval of 2 or 3 inches along the panel, on all sides.
Install the Acoustic Panel
D-rings work best when trying to install a panel onto the ceiling of a room. Use 4 D-rings on each corner of the panels. For the walls, you can use picture hanging hooks or D-rings.
Decoupling by adding an air gap between the wall and the acoustic panel will enhance the soundproofing qualities so you can do that by installing screws underneath the panel or use stick-on felt spacers to create the gap.
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10 DIY Acoustic Panel Ideas
Homemade sound dampening panels are a great way to reduce noise levels inside your home as well as to increase the sound quality while not spending an exorbitant amount of money. These can be made flawlessly as you are the one choosing its size, color, materials and fabric used.
Here are a few ideas for you to execute while building homemade sound panels:
Art Canvas turned Sound Panel
Do you have unused art canvases lying around in your home or perhaps you would like to have sound panels that look like an art piece on the wall? Then this idea is perfect for you. For this you have to buy pre-stretched canvases on 2 inch pine frames and fill them with egg-carton profile foam.
The ‘egg crate’ foam is a dense and thick material that is stretchable and absorbent. You can either use this, fiber-glass or rockwool depending on your budget and the level of noise reduction you want.
Cut the absorbent material and fit it tightly inside the canvas and stick it with glue or tack to hold it in place. Once this is done, you can paint something on the canvas. Or if painting is not your forte, then you can just buy a premade painting and fill it with sound absorbing fabric to turn it into a DIY acoustic panel.
Acoustic Panel with a Modern Contemporary Design
For a home that values modernity and sleek aesthetic choices, these high-performance acoustic panels are perfect. Equilateral triangle shaped panels are mounted on the wall side by side to achieve superior soundproofing as well as a uniqueness for the walls.
Each panel is made from 6 aluminum pieces which are then connected with 3D Printed brackets. The pieces are then bolted together after being drilled and countersunk.
The front and back of each frame is formed by one triangle each, respectively and the frames are joined at the points by using hexagonal threaded spacers. The entire structure is then covered with sheet fabric on the front and the sides but the back is left out for the insertion of upholstery foam.
These frames can now be mounted on the wall using nails and hot-glue.
Homemade Acoustic Panels for a Studio
Installing acoustic solutions to a room that is set to be a studio serves two purposes- making the room soundproof and offering an enhanced sound quality for sound recording.
These panels use denim for the insulation and pinewood for the frames. The flexibility of the denim makes it easy to be cut and compressed into the frame.
Memo boards Turned Acoustic Panels using Coffee Bean Sacks
These sound absorbing panels will need oak faced plywood for the frame, about 2 to 3 inches in dimensions. The face material will be coffee bean burlap which you can either staple to the four sides of the frame or secure the burlap by attaching it to the frame using thinly cut strips of plywood.
The fabric along with the plywood will have to be hammered in to be held in place on the frame. Once it is done, it will look like a memo board made from coffee bean sacks.
For the sound dampening material, you can choose anything such as rockwool, egg crate foam or any dense fabric, as long as it is stuck well using a powerful adhesive. You can cover the back with a thin fabric or can just leave it as it is.
The guide to building only the frame has been provided below.
DIY Cheap Sound Panel
The frame is built with 1’’x 4’’ strapping with an added crosspiece at the top and the bottom to hold the soundproofing core firmly in its place.
The entire panel was wrapped in acoustically transparent fabric to prevent the fibers of the soundproofing material from falling off and also to add a professional finish to the panels. The best thing about this is how efficient it is but at an alarmingly low price.
The panel can be hung from the walls using D-Clips and Picture hooks.
Honeycomb Acoustic Wall Panel
Are you looking to improve the look of your plain wall? Then this is the perfect way to soundproof with elegance. The wall panels are made to resemble the hive-like formation of a honeycomb.
Individual hexagonal panels are bunched together and mounted on the wall for this purpose.
The dimensions can vary according to your taste and preference but for an average sized (8’ x 10’ ) room, 2 to 4 inch panels will do. To build the individual panels, take a plywood and cut out a hexagonal pattern. Now use a utility knife to cut out the foam in the same pattern. For ease, you can use the cut plywood as a stencil for cutting the foam.
The two have to be stuck together with a strong adhesive. Now take an MDF backing board and stick the hexagonal panels in groups of 4 to resemble a beehive. Once the boards are ready, you can hang them on the wall with a nail.
Easy DIY Acoustic Panels
The frames have to be built with 1×4 boards which have to be glued and then nailed in with 2’’x4’’ rectangles. For the insulation core, you can use stone wool or mineral wool. Stuff the frame with the sound absorbent firmly. You can stick 2 or 3 layers of mineral wool to get a thicker and denser acoustic panel.
In this acoustic panels, nylon cloth was used to hold the insulation material in place. The nylon window screen was stretched and then stapled to the back of the frame. For the face of the panel, you can use a nylon screen underneath a fabric of your choice.
For mounting the panels onto the walls, use D-rings. The step-by-step guide for building the panel has been provided here.
Maple Acoustic Diffusers
Do you wish to improve the sound quality in your home but are reluctant to go the DIY way because of all the chaos of complicated shopping guides and this and that? Don’t worry, we got you. This is an easy way to build a sound panel with only 3 materials and basic tools.
The dimensions of this acoustic panel is 12’’x12’’ and can be installed on the wall using velcro thus saving the walls from being drilled and nailed into. Thin rectangular sticks of maplewood were cut and were stuck on a flat square piece of plywood in regular intervals. These individual squares were then joined together using adhesive to form the 12/12 panel.
Three coats of polyurethane spray were provided to bring out a polished finish.
Frameless Broadband Absorber Panels
This acoustic panel will be 4” thick and built with 2”x2”x4” thick fiberglass panels. Foil coating is provided on the panel to improve bass trapping and the foil is placed on top of the burlap sack.
The back of the foil panel was sprayed with aerosol glue and the other sheet of the insulation was placed on the glue.
The exposed face of the two sheets are glued and stuck with a pulled cloth. Special care was taken to avoid any wrinkles on the cloth. The seams and corners were also secured with hot glue.
Bookshelf Turned Acoustic Sound Absorber
Turned a bookshelf into a sound absorber using this cheap and easy DIY method.
3 inch thick Roxul sheets were used to stuff the shelf frame cavities.
The back of the bookshelf was layered with foil and cardboard was put on the shelves. Use a breathable fabric to cover the whole shelf and your easy sound absorber will be ready.
You can move to wherever you want easily and the entire cost of building this moveable sound absorber is quite affordable. You can also use this as a bass trap.
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These were some of the most effective and inexpensive ways to soundproof your home without compromising its aesthetics.
Try these today and enjoy improved sound quality in your living space!