You love having silence, but the hustling and bustling of your street make that quite impossible. Your neighbors are also not helping. You will rather suffer in silence than pick quarrels with them. You thought about getting an acoustic panel, but it is too expensive unless it is DIY Sound Absorbing Panel.
Here are 6 simple steps to make your own DIY Sound Absorbing Panel:
- Measure The Surface Area
- Choosing Sound Absorbing Material
- Construct a Frame
- Coat the Panel
- Mount Your Acoustic Panel at the Best Position
- 6. Use, Repeat, Use
That is why this post will hold your hands on simple ways to build your own acoustic panel. I have provided all the materials as well as a step by step method to make it happen. Bring out the creativity in yourself and make your acoustic panel in six simple steps.
DIY Sound Absorbing Panel
DIY acoustic panels offer you the privilege to make your room soundproof with your own hands, using your own creativity.
Let’s do it yourself!
The panels, if done correctly, are like sieves. They prevent the frustrating echo that is common in large halls and auditoriums. If you have noticed background noise in a song, it means the recording studio where the music is produced has some problems these panels could have solved.
You want to make a space soundproof and ensure the music you play in the space have the quality that makes you want to dance. Setting up a small studio may even be considered.
Furthermore, you can use these panels for your bedroom, bathroom or baby room. Here is the good news; you can do it yourself with inexpensive materials in two hours or less.
Do you have to be exceedingly creative?
The general term is ‘soundproofing,’ and the main benefit is that you will enjoy quality sounds. Some people miss the meaning when they hear the term.
Acoustic panels are not sound insulators that prevent the transmission of sound from one room to the other or from within confinement to the exterior. They are meant to enhance the quality of sound you hear within the space where they are applied.
Let’s start with what you should know about acoustic panels.
Acoustic Panels: How Do They Work
Acoustic panels are materials used on the walls or ceilings of space to absorb the sound produced within the space. These materials essentially prevent the echo of sound, making it possible to hear the quality of sounds clearly.
You can create the wall panels and use it on the interior walls of a space. Then when sound is produced at a point, the materials absorb the sound reflections and the sound is heard clearer without any form of echo or being distorted.
Without the soundproofing panels, sound waves would reflect on the wall and reverberates. So when the sound waves travel within the space, it moves up to the ceiling or it hits the wall, the wave is absorbed into the panel.
- The level of noise is reduced,
- The sound is clear,
- And echo or reverberation is reduced
Usually, there are different types of acoustic materials. The panel is our focus in this guide. (You will know the vivid difference between acoustic panels and acoustic foams later.)
You probably would find two things inside the material used as acoustic panels: foam or compressed minerals. Each material in the panel will allow the sound to penetrate. A vibration will occur which will convert the sound energy to kinetic energy which is then perceived as heat. In short, the acoustic panels reduce echo and gives out heat in the process.
Acoustic Foams Vs Acoustics Panels Vs Bass Traps
The key difference between the three types of panels is the level of absorption. While foams allow a reasonable amount of waves to pass, panels would block the waves completely.
While acoustic panels are used to absorb harsher sounds of mid-range and high frequencies, bass trapping are made for low frequency sound muffling, such as bass drums, thunder, or other deep, low sounds. [Source]
You could say the materials used for making panels are hard and they block waves. And the materials for making foams are soft to the hand…this is the understandable reason for their ability to allow waves pass through. Bass traps are typically few inches thick to absorb the extra noise
That is the simple difference between these three. To go deeper, the materials for the panel are heavy, strong; glass is an example. Foams are light, easy to carry; a soft egg crate is an example.
Bass traps are normally made from cotton denim which is highly absorbent of sounds.
Why does the sound get blocked?
When you install thick, heavy panels between the source of the sound and another location, you have installed a dense mass of materials between the source and the other parts of the building. It will be difficult or impossible for the sound to escape.
So if you are planning to make the sound remain within the space, then your best bet is the panels. On the other hand, foams will just absorb the sound, act like a filter, and makes the sound clearer to the receiver.
Can Your Own Built Acoustic Panels Reduce Noise
This is a logical question to ask if you have read the last section carefully. And it is quite simple to answer.
Acoustic panels reduce noise. How?
Usually, the sound waves will bounce against a normal wall and distort the distributed sound, causing echo and noise. But with the presence of acoustic panels, the waves are bent or absorbed around after striking the surface of the panel. The moment the sound bends or is absorbed, the noise will become reduced and the clarity will be improved.
To achieve this aim of reducing noise, select your acoustic panels carefully and understand the difference between acoustic panels and acoustic foams. Clearly, acoustic foams are the best at absorbing the sounds and reducing the noise. Therefore, you can choose a material that combines the characteristics of panels and foams.
A good example is a panel wrapped with fabric materials. This would reduce the rate at which sound is directly reflected back. And it will reduce the noise considerably.
If you choose (thick, heavy, and rigid materials) panels alone, the sound waves that hit them will be reflected and blocked from passing through and that alone will reduce the noise to an extent which is quite better.
Building Your Own Acoustic Panel Vs Buying One
Buying your own acoustic panels has its own benefit just as building your own. Looking at the two choices would make you understand the best choice for you.
Buying Your Acoustic Panels
- Store-bought acoustic panels you buy will have a guarantee. It would have been developed under a good condition, certified and comes with a manufacturer supplied sound Absorption Coefficient and you will just need to install them.
- Plug and play saving you lots of time.
- There is a reduction in error when it is time to install them because detailed instructions would come with the material. For instance, some panels must be at a certain distance to ensure an air gap. This would be specified by the manufacturer and should be followed closely.
- Buying panels will cost you a lot more
- It is not the best choice if you like building stuff with your hands. In other words, it doesn’t do you good if you want to be a creative person, a builder.
Building Your Own Acoustic Panels
- Cost lesser than buying the panels yourself.
- It offers you more flexibility over the design, the arrangements, and the building.
- Best if you like building things with your own hands.
- It takes more physical effort, planning and time.
Cost of Building a Sound Absorbing Panel
The cost of building your acoustic panels will cover three things
- Cost of materials
- The cost of tools
- Size of space
When space is large, the cost will be higher than in smaller spaces.
If you are using a fiberglass panel, it costs about $6.60 per panel.
You might need some fabric of about 62″, a panel costs about $10.
(You will get to the list of all material required in this post)
Generally, the average cost will be about $20 for every panel. To calculate it by the square foot, it would be $2.5 for a square foot.
Of course, there are other factors that would determine the amount you will spend. They include the amount of noise that would be produced in the space, or to say it better, the purpose of the space.
It will cost more if (and require more expertise) to make a studio soundproof than it would cost to make a room soundproof.
Finally, your location and your suppliers are the overall chief-commandant of the prices of things. They will influence greatly the cost of the tools and the materials.
What Fabric is Good for Sound Absorption
Acoustic sound panels are of different types of materials and sound absorption.
And so are fabrics. The fabrics to be used in building acoustic panels must allow sound to penetrate. Below you will find a list of acoustic fabric that is good for the purpose. These are the best you can get.
- Guilford of Maine Panel Textiles
- Colored burlap
- A local keepsake calico
If you have another choice of fabric, ensure it allows sound to penetrate and it hides the panel inside just like the above.
How Thick Should Acoustical Panels Be
A portable acoustic panel should be about one inch in thickness. And the general standard for manufactured acoustic foams and panels are about 2 inches in thickness. This would be effective in terms of cost and improving the clarity of speech.
The determinant of the thickness of sound absorbing panels is the type of pitch of the noise. Thicker panels are used to absorb a larger size of the sound.
An inch thick panel has an absorption value of about 95%. Increasing the size to twice will increase the absorption by more than 5%.
For you to ensure you are using the right thickness, clearly define the purpose of the space and the frequency of sound in there. Then you can choose a thickness between 25 mm to 100 mm – the thicker the panel, the greater the sound absorption value.
Tools and Hardware Required
✔ Mounting brackets for attaching the panels onto the walls.
✔ Scissors or staple gun will be used for trimming the exterior of the fabric.
✔ Wood Glue to hold the insulation inside the frame
✔ Hammer and nails will be used to build the panel frames in the first place.
✔ Powerl Tools like Drills or electric screwdrivers will be used for either making tiny holes or drive in screws. You can rent them from a hardware store if this is just a one time project.
✔A Saw to be used during the construction of the frames, for trimming and cutting the woods.
Other miscellaneous tools required may include staples, wood screws and hanging wires.
Material List You Have to Use
Wood – You will use wood to build up the panel frame. The wood frame is usually used because of their ability to improve sound especially if they are perforated and one of the most cost-effective frame material
When you are cutting the wood, do take note that you will need both an internal frame and external frame. The Internal frame is what you will put the sound absorbing material of your choice( Fiberglass panel etc) and wrap the fabric around it. The external frame is just to hold it all together.[Source]
Fabric – After you have constructed the frame, you will pull the fabric tight to cover the frame to cover exposed parts. A nice looking fabric cover provides a decorative exterior appearance. You may also need to ensure that the fabric cover used is noise permeable and breathable material. Check out this chart for a comparison of Rockwool, Polyester, Cotton, and Sheep Absorption Coefficients
Sound insulation that absorbs sound – This is a kind of insulation used in the middle of the sound absorbing panels. This is the core of the acoustic panel. Because the level of sound absorption will depend on the material you have chosen.
Therefore, Be careful! when you choose the insulation material.
Check out our comprehensive list of best soundproofing materials here.
6 Simple Steps To Build Your Own Sound Absorbing Panels
DIY acoustic paneling will be effective if you have the right knowledge. By now, you have been familiar with the materials you will use for the process. In the next few paragraphs, you will understand the steps to follow.
Here is an advice: the steps are easy to do and then it is easy to make mistakes. (Mistakes aren’t bad actually, we do mistakes). Therefore, to produce the best DIY soundproofing, follow each step religiously…and religiously.
1. Measure The Surface Area
Before you start, you may like to plan beforehand the surface area, dimensions and number of panels you need depending on where you want to mount it.
Use these percentages to calculate the amount of wall to cover: for light coverage 10% of a room’s wall surface, medium 15 to 20% (recommended), and high treatment 25 to 35%.[Source]
Many people feel there is a large benefit to exposing the sides of a standard sized 24 x 48 x 4 panel as this will increase the absorptive surface area by 50% and even more if the acoustic panel or bass trap design is thicker.[Source]
2. Choosing Sound Absorbing Material
Choose a good sound absorption material. Now, if you are confused with what constitutes ‘good’ here, hang on!
The materials must be dense and strong and durable. Insulation panels need to be covered to prevent fibers from escaping. For the best sound absorption panels, we recommend these three options namely Owens Corning, Rockwool absorption boards or Johns Manville Insul-Shield.
Also, one of the characteristics of good absorption materials is that it has a standard thickness of at least 2”. The three suggestions in this post meet that requirement.
Be free Check out recommended products that you can buy for an affordable price.
- Owens Corning Fiberglas Acoustic Insulation
- Roxul Acoustical Fire Batts, Mineral Wool
- Owens Corning 703 24″x48″x2″ Fiberglass Board
- Acoustimac Acoustic Insulation ECO CELLULOSE
3. Construct a Frame
After you have made a good choice of the absorption material, the next thing is constructing a wooden frame around it.
Do note that you will need to construct both an internal and an external frame. We would recommend you to use a speed square to ensure greater accuracy for markings
There are two choices here. You can use a furring strip of dimension 1” by 2”. Or you can use pure wood of understandable thickness. Just know that the wood should be straight without any deformity and ensure it would add some beauty to the panel.
Measure two opposite edges of the sound insulation materials, and measure the same length on the flat piece of wood. Then cut two pieces of wood. You are going to do that for the four corners of the frame.
Position the insulation such that the bottom face of the panel is flat and level with the wood frame. Square the corners and screw them together with corner brackets or you can connect with the nails directly.
Now for the two other edges, you must add extra length to the wood for it to overlap the first two. Remember you are creating a frame – the four pieces of wood around the insulation material must overlap.
Apply glue on the corners of the insulation materials and gently and perfectly attach the wood.
Let it dry.
4. Coat the Panel
Pick a sound-transparent fabric and wrap it around the panel. To do this effectively, spread the fabric and place the frame at the center, then set-off a reasonable length of fabric to the sides of the frame. This extension is what you will fold.
Fold it tight and staple it to the back of the frame or use spray adhesive to stick the fabric to the panel. Ensure there is more excess fabric to work with to make it easier to wrap the panels. It will be advisable to let a friend help you in the process so that the fabric will be tight.
5. Mount Your Acoustic Panel at the Best Position
Acoustic panels for soundproofing will work effectively if you follow this next step carefully.
The next essential step is positioning. You want to mount the frame in the best position in your room so as to ensure it clarifies sounds and prevent reverberations.
This isn’t hard of course if you think of the main source of noise and think of the panel as a piece of artwork to be hung. You can use an adhesive or trying using picture hook to mount the sound absorption panels by attaching it to the wall and impaling the panels through them. It could be on the wall or on the ceiling; the important thing is that the panel absorbs sound
Wherever you choose, ensure you leave a decent amount of space (two inches or less) between the panel and the wall or ceiling. This air gap is required to allow sound absorption and reducing echo.
6. Use, Repeat, Use
You have hung the panel on the ceiling or wall. Start using the room the way you should and notice the difference in the quality of sound.
If you don’t get the quality of sound you want, then you should create another panel and hang it strategically. Hang in another place in the room.
Now you are done.
This video may also help you to get them ready quickly.
Wrapping Up DIY Sound Absorbing Panel Guide
DIY acoustic panels do not take long after all. The bulk of the task is getting the required materials.
One thing about doing the task yourself is that you will understand the way it works so much that you can teach people – your friend – how to do it.
You should know that it is as easy as sawing pieces of woods and forming a frame and mounting the panel in a strategic place. This post just isn’t about the steps; it is filled with specific and helpful steps that help you so that you don’t create just a board but an effective acoustic sound panel.
Now, start creating your own DIY panel