DIY Acoustic Panels
How to Build DIY Acoustic Panels
Hey everyone! This constitutes my second DIY project entry online and I’m really super excited about this sharing this one!
My first entry detailed on how to build your very own DIY Studio Desk, for those that missed it you can view that blog post here! I promise I won’t bore you with unnecessary details about every acoustic theory known to man, so I’ll get straight to the nitty gritty. So let’s get started on how I built my own acoustic panels.
From this blog post, you’ll be able to know how to Do It Yourself, but firstly, I do want to share this cool video with you. It basically shows you the sonic differences that acoustic treatment can make to your home studio.
Acoustic Treatment: Before and After Test
Step 1. Establish your Goals.
So before you go and start buying supplies, just like with any major project or purchase you should ask yourself a few key questions first, What is your goal? What is your budget?
For example, my goal was to gain control of my high frequencies and establish some sort of balance with the low end. My budget wasn’t a factor as I was more concerned with enjoying the new experience! Things to keep in mind; the thicker your panels are, the more absorbent it will be for the lower to mid frequency range. Therefore, thicker panels are the ideal solution for bass traps. I personally decided to make my traps 6 inches thick. This numeric value was calculated based on the space available in my room with the location of my studio desk. I wouldn’t have been able to place 9” traps, would have taken up too much room in my small area.
Step 2. Measurements
Any serious project requires attention to detail which will require you to plan out your measurements. What size you need is based on what you can fit into your space and which materials you may have at your disposal.
The panels I built are 48-in x 15.25-in x 6-in. Solely based on this information it informed me that whatever board I chose has to be at least a minimum of 48-inches in length (top to bottom) and roughly 6 inches wide which will serve as the front to back depth of the panel. The 15.25 inches was derived from the insulation used as the sound absorption material. These are the measurements that go from left to right on the acoustic panel.
Most commonly used absorption materials for acoustic panels vary from choices such as; Rockwool, mineral wool or fiberglass. These materials absorb a great deal of frequencies and are ideal for acoustic treatment. The wood pine board simply act as a frame to build around the insulation, which will be finally wrapped in a fabric of your choice to keep the insulation together.
Step 3. Materials
The materials are fairly basic and you can honestly get them anywhere. You can choose more high end quality like the Owens Corning 703 Fiberglass but I chose my locations simply because the stores are within 5 mins from where I am located so it made it easier for me if I need to make quick additions or adjustments it can be resolved in a matter of minutes .
Below is a list of the materials I used in this DIY project.
- Frames for the panels: 6in x 48in Pine Board From Lowe’s. Quantity: Roughly 2 and 2/3s of these pine boards maked one complete panel. So gather as many as you require.
- Absorption Material: Rockwool Safe N Sound (47in x 15.25 x 3in). Two were used per panel to bring it to 6 inches.
- Metal L Brackets:
- Fabric Cover: Black burlap from Joanne’s Fabric. Available in different colors
- Fabric Scissors. Got these Fiskars from Joanns really great one!
- Wood Glue/Nails.
- Eye Hook Screw. You will need two hook screws per panel.
- Picture Hanging Wire. Used to mount the frame to the wall.
- Picture Hanger. These are really durable, great buy! One per panel with the exception of the corner panels. You will need two for each corner panel.
- Wire Cutter
- Staple Gun. Picked one up from the Lowe’s here. This purchase made it quick and easy. If you already own one then you’re even better shape than I was!
- Heavy Duty Staples. I purchased the ones that match the model number for my staple gun.
- Hand Saw/Table Saw: Simply just to make the wood cuts. I own a Hitachi Table Saw so I was able to cut my own pieces. But you can also visit Lowe’s or Home Depot and they can cut your wood for really cheap.
- Wood Clamps (optional). While these are optional I truly recommend picking up a few. One of the best investments I ever made when it comes to DIY wood projects.
- Total Cost: I personally spent roughly $200 altogether for FOUR PANELS including the staple gun. If you buy acoustic panels online you can be looking to spend anywhere from $150-300 per panel, yikes!!!
Step 4. Build it!
OK, now for the fun part! Once you have deduce the measurements for your wood, it’s time to make the cuts! For some of you guys reading this, this may mean traveling to Home Depot or Lowe’s and having one of the store associates by the Lumber Department do the cuts for you, which is relatively cheap. For the rest with a saw at our disposal, let’s start cutting!
Each Pine board that I purchased were the exact length I required for my panels, i.e., 48 inches. So for both the left and right parts of my panel, no cuts were necessary. However for the top and bottom, cuts were needed. The measurements I needed were 15.25inches, which was how wide each batt of insulation that I had purchased were, so that’s how I came up with that particular number. So I took another panel and made my cuts of 15.25 inches twice for both top and bottom.
Once all the cuts are applied, the next process is to connect the pieces to build the frames. For me, this meant applying wood glue to the pieces being connected and holding them in place with the Wood Glue. For those that use the wood glue option, give it at least a full 24 hours with the clamps on before you resume. You want to allow the bond to fully cure before adding any kind of stress to the wood. For the others, you can simply use nails/screws to connect each board to each other to build the frame. Either way your panels should come out literally in a rectangular shape as the pic below illustrates.
I did this for all frames within the same day (A LOT OF CLAMPS WERE USED). Lol I own like 12? or something to that aspect. Either way, for the next step was Day 2 for this DIY project. I began adding brackets at the “back” part of the frame.
Logically, you can use a small piece of board to act as a back brace. The purpose of this is not to support the frame. The entire acoustic panel will be moderately light. The purpose of the back brace is to ensure the insulation does not fall out of the frame, that’s it. So whichever method suffice to your needs and budget, kudos! For me, that meant the metal L brackets that costed me $5.00 for like 8 or so. I honestly forgot to keep inventory of the brackets, but they were real cheap from Lowe’s.
The next part is fairly simple, installing the insulation. Before you start this process, I want to advocate health and safety so be sure you have your Personal Protective Equipment on. So make sure you’re wearing gloves, and safety goggles as well.
Carefully open the package without the use of a sharp tool, as the insulation is packed in tight. As mentioned before I used the Rockwool’s Safe N Sound from Lowe’s. When installing the insulation, all I honestly did was place it in the frame and pat it down. It was incredibly easy and fit like a glove. So if your measurements are accurate, everything should align itself.
I then screwed on two eye hook screws to the top brackets on the back of the panel. This is where my picture hanging wire will be tied to.
Next up is getting the fabric of your choice and cutting the measurements you require. Keep in mind if you’re using a material such as burlap, you’re going to want to be able to wrap your panel at least twice for aesthetic purposes. With one wrap it may reveal too much insulation and looked a bit unappealing visually so two wraps is highly recommended.
Almost forgot to mention, where the eye hooks are placed, I made sure to leave a little room so I will be able to maneuver the picture wire through it.
This part is fairly simple, take one end of the wire and tie it to one of the eye hooks and secure it. Now the length you’re going to require is just enough lag so you’re able to hang it on the wall. I brought the lag just about to a little above the top of the panel. Once you got your length you need, cut the wires with your wire cutter and secure it to the other eye hook.
Once the wire is secured you can close the gap on the fabric and then, that’s a wrap!
Lastly, mounting these bad boys! For the corners in your room, you will need two picture hangers on the walls opposite each other.
Otherwise from that, the normal walls will only require one hanger per panel. From here on out, you just hang your panels like you would any picture frame! The beauty with the eye hooks that it allows you to retain a gap from the wall, which is what you want. You don’t want the panels flushed to the wall completely.
Then there you have it, you should be able to build your own DIY acoustic panels! Hopefully I’ll get some time to build more as soon as possible!
If you enjoyed this blog post please leave a comment below! Or shoot me a message! Hope you all find this insightful and helpful!