DIY Acoustic Panels: How to Build Your Own Sound-Absorbing Panel
We are living in the world of noise pollution that is taking over our everyday life. Consequences of this are much bigger than we tend to notice.
Being constantly surrounded by noise can do much more than just damage our ears. As a matter of fact, that is the least of the problems that can occur.
Some other problems can be constant anxiety, high level of stress and decreased productivity.
Improving the acoustics of the place that you spend the most of your time in can improve the overall quality of your life.
Luckily, there are some things that can help in this matter without some serious construction work or much effort invested.
Therefore, let’s give a look at what can be done to solve the problem of noise pollution in your everyday surrounding.
Acoustic Panels: How Do They Work?
As I previously mentioned, there are some things that can be done in order to save your ears and your nerves from the everyday noise that we are all constantly surrounded by.
There are two main ways of soundproofing. One is blocking the noise, and the other one is noise absorption.
One of the solutions is acoustic panels that are normally made of soft, sponge-like material that is good at absorbing noises.
This material would catch the noise in its threads and not let it jump off of it as it would of hard and flat surfaces like walls.
This would reduce the echo and make the room much quieter.
One thing that you should keep in mind is that these panels will not soundproof the room in which they are applied, but they sure will improve the acoustics of it.
However, if you want to completely isolate the sound coming from the next room, these will not be that great of a help.
Build DIY Acoustic Panels
Now that you have decided that this type of soundproofing will do the job for you, you want to start placing them on your walls.
Of course, you can buy finished acoustic foam panels, but once placed on your walls, you will realize that they are not the prettiest sight in the world.
But if you are into some crafting and handy work, you can do it yourself as well. It will come in as a sort of a weekend project, and you can surely save a bit of money that way.
Furthermore, you will be able to customize the appearance and size of these panels, and you will enjoy the overall look of your room much more once you are done.
If we take into account that you can make about 6 of these panels for as little as $100, and even less, you will find that it can pay out much more to put on some gloves and start the work.
So, let’s give a look at what you will need first.
Things that you’ll need to do it yourself
Materials that you will have to use for making acoustic panels
The most important thing that you’ll need is, of course, the absorbing material as the core of your panel.
There are various types of sound deadening materials that you can use for this occasion and they all come in packs of 6 panels. With 2 inches of thickness, they will excel in the field of sound deadening.
Being 24x48 inches large, it will do the job remarkably. So, feel free to check out some of our recommended deadeners that you can use in this “Do it yourself” project:
- ATS Acoustics Rigid Fiberglass Board
- Owens Corning 703 24"x48"x2" Fiberglass Boards
- Roxul Acoustical Fire Batts, Mineral Wool
- Roxul Rockboard 60, Mineral Wool Board
As you can see they belong to an affordable price point category, and there is a small difference in price, but all in all, they will all do the job just fine.
Once you figure out what material to use as a core, you will need to define frame materials. If you are into flat, squared panels, then you should definitely buy 1’’x’3’ boards.
On the other hand, for those in love with rounded shapes, there are 1’’x2’’ boards.
Since you will be most likely cutting these into 24” and 49” lengths, you will need at least 12 eight-foot boards (if you intend to build all 6 panels).
Step 1: Building the Panel Frame
You will need to measure your boards and cut them into the proper dimensions. Each 8ft board should be cut into 24” and 49-⅜” sizes.
So, if we do the math, you will get 12 side boards and 12 top ones with which you will be able to build 6 panel frames.
Once done, lay those boards and line the insulation panel inside.
Then, mark the places where you intend to screw your frame in order to attach the insulation core. When drilling, make sure that the holes that you are drilling are a bit smaller than the screws that you intend to use.
That will tighten everything up and keep it in place without possible splitting or loosening. Just to make sure, use the wood glue to fix everything even better. Then, screw the pieces together.
Finally, it’s time to complete the puzzle with some adhesive. Spray it along the outer edges of your chosen panel. Fit the insulation to your frame and let it cool down for 24 hours.
Step 2: Preparing the Fabric for the Panels
This step is not necessary, but rather, it serves in transforming those ugly panels into a kind of artwork.
Since the purpose of these panels is to serve as sound absorbents, you will want to choose the right kind of fabrics to cover them with.
There are some materials that are not sound-transparent and would just reflect the sound when it hits them, which would completely destroy the actual purpose of these panels.
Finding the right type of fabric that will let the sound reach to the sound absorbing material it is made of is half of the work (if you want to have them nice and pretty, and covered with some beautiful fabric, that is).
The simplest way to test the fabric is to hold it against your mouth and try blowing through it. If you feel the pressure and resistance, then this type of fabric will not serve the purpose of your panels.
The materials that will not do the job are leather, vinyl, and some acrylic-backed fabrics.
The materials that can be used are not that expensive and can easily be found and purchased in your local fabrics store.
Step 3: Hanging the Panels
The next question is where to hang the panels. They can be hung on the wall like any heavy piece of art. Especially if you have used your creativity and made them look like art.
The best results you will get if you add a small airspace between your panels and the wall. It does not have to be bigger than 1 to 2 inches.
Another thing that you would like to pay attention to is securing them. Since these panels can be rather heavy, you should give additional look at securing them nicely.
These heavy-duty picture hangers can come quite handy for these kinds of work. One should be placed on both sides of the frame and on exact spacing from the edge of it.
Step 4: Listen to Your New Peace
Now that everything is set in its place, you can sit and listen to the new acoustics of your room.
Let’s take that you have been preparing these panels for a home movie theater. Sit comfortably and play that movie.
I am sure that you will be whooshed away by the new acoustics of your DIY Theater. The difference will be unbelievable, like sitting in a completely different place!
On Building DIY Acoustic Panels
As you can see, it’s not that difficult to build your own acoustic panels. In most of the cases, they will be of much better quality than the ones that you buy.
Also, those factory-made panels are probably with certain, defined dimensions.
For some of your purposes, you will need to craft your own panels of different shapes. When we sum it up, it’s not that expensive either.
Simply put, for those willing to experiment and do some “men’s work”, this will be an interesting job. Also, it will give you a better insight into how soundproofing works.
I myself have learned about soundproofing through this process and helped me realize a lot.
Hopefully, this article will provide you with some starting knowledge of how should you make your own sound-absorbing panels.