If you are looking for a fun project this winter, Acoustic Fabric Panels are easy to make at home and provide great sound absorption in your room. This blog post will tell you everything you need to know about what materials to buy for the panels, how to put them together, and where you can get free templates to make them!
The Basics of DIY Acoustic Fabric Panels:
– You will need: ~2 yards of fabric, Foam Board (or batting), Sharpie marker.
– There are four different types of panels. Two panel designs I have found that work well for my room are the Square Panel and the Triangle Panel (also known as a “French Triangle”).
– The basic difference between the two is that the triangle varies in width, giving it a more interesting dimension. The square is just one big piece of fabric with some foam board pads in it.
– Here’s a diagram to help you visualize which type of panel you’d like to make:
– A free template for any Acoustic Fabric Panel can be found here:
You will need to find an image or picture that fits within your space – otherwise, you’ll have to shrink it in order to fit the size of your panel.
– Use the printer paper to make your template.
– It is very important for the printout to be exactly as large as the foam board, otherwise you will have trouble lining up your template and your foam board when you trace.
– Once you have completed your template, trace it onto the foam board and use scissors or a knife to cut it out.
– I recommend doing this outside or in a ventilation area, because the printout is very delicate, and it will get ruined if you cut it on your carpet.
Free Acoustic Fabric Panels:
-If you want to make your own Acoustic Fabric Panel, just be aware that after each DIY project, you’ll have to sew everything back together. It’s not a big deal, but just keep that in mind!
DIY Acoustic Fabric Panels – Square Panel
– 1 yard of fabric (It’s best to use a heavy fabric like velvet or upholstery for the panels)
– 4 sheets of foam board (these can be found at any craft store for $1-$2 per sheet; don’t get Styrofoam, that won’t work!)
– Sewing Machine (or needle and thread), scissors, sharpie marker
Step 1. Fuse the Fabric – Cut your yard of fabric in half. You will only need one length of fabric. Fold it in half lengthwise, and lay it over your foam board.
Step 2. Cut Out the Panels – Trace the two pieces of foam together onto the fabric. Leave a few inches around each corner to trim later.
Step 3. Cut out the piece of fabric. First, make vertical cuts along your drawn line, then connect all of those cuts with horizontal lines, like you’re cutting paper snowflakes in kindergarten.
Step 4. Trim the Edges – Make sure that you trim away all excess fabric, so that there is nothing hanging over on any side of your panel piece after you’re done cutting it out (see image below). After you have trimmed away all excess fabric:
Step 5. Sew the Seams – It should look like this:
Step 6. Fill your Panel – Scoop some batting into the back of your panel.
I used my hands to push the batting into all of the corners and edges, then I sewed over it one more time to make sure that it was secure. If you’re making a triangle panel, then you’ll have to do this process again for all 4 sides of your panel piece (i.e. 16 more times).
Step 7. Make and Attach the Back – Your panel piece should look like this with batting in it:
Make one more piece of foam board that is the same size as your panel piece, and then attach them through the fabric by sandwiching them together with hot glue. If you are making a triangle panel, then you’ll have to do this process again for all 4 sides of your panel piece (i.e. 16 more times).
Step 8. Trace and Cut out your front fabric – Once all of your panels are filled with batting, lay them on top of each other in order to trace an outline for the front fabric piece.
Step 9. Trace your Front Fabric Piece – Now that you have your front fabric piece, trace it onto the back, and cut it out. (See image below)
Step 10. Sew the Edges – Make sure that you sew over the top of your batting so that both edges are attached to each other. See images below:
Step 11. Make a Back to your Panel – Your final product should look like this! The backing can be traced onto the fabric, or you can just trace over it on the back of your panel:
Step 12. Cut out your Back – I recommend taking a few extra inches off of the length and width of your panel, because things are likely to shift around a little bit.
Step 13. Sew Down your Backing Fabric – You’ll want to make sure that you sew at least three sides of the backing down, otherwise you might end up with an art project that doesn’t line up correctly!
Step 14. Attach Your Acoustic Fabric Panels! – I recommend making a template for yourself with painter’s tape before attaching any panels, so that you can make sure they are aligned correctly once they have been attached.
Step 15. Tape Your Panels Together – You want to make sure that the fabric of your panels is lined up as perfectly as possible, so to do this, tape each panel together with painter’s tape. I have used a lot of different kinds of tape over the years, and this is my favorite for most applications – it’s great because it doesn’t leave residue on painted walls or fabric!
Step 16. Attach Your Fabric Panels – Make sure that you are attaching your panels onto a solid backing (such as the wall), and not into studs.
I recommend attaching each panel one by one, in order to make sure that you are lining up everything correctly.
Step 17. Paint Your Panel – The moment of truth has arrived! Now that you have attached both sides of your panel, paint over the foam boards so that they blend into the background! You can use a similar paint color to your room, or something more bold for a dramatic effect. Make sure that you leave a little bit of room between each panel and all of the edges are perfectly matched up (see image below).
Step 18. I recommend leaving your panels up for at least 24 hours to let the backing dry completely. The panels should be good to go with no visible paint bleed, but it’s always best to let it sit overnight.
Step 19. Remove the tape, and you’re done!
If you have any questions about any of the steps I covered above, please feel free to ask me in the comments section below! You can also check out my Painting Class here , and my Acoustic Foam Board Wall Panels here !
What kind of fabric should I use for acoustic panels?
I like to use velvet for my acoustic panels, because it’s a heavy fabric and adapts well to acoustic panels. A great way to choose the right velvet is to look at the backing of your wallpaper, and then choose a richer color in the same family as it. You don’t want a too-dark or too-light color, because you’ll end up with areas of dead space, which will really show once you start throwing sound back into your room!
I love acoustic foam board! Why wouldn’t I use those instead?
Acoustic foam boards are really great for DIY projects that are done on computers. You can also use them to line the front and back walls of your studio or control room. However, they do not absorb sound very well and they are easy to see through, which makes them less than ideal for using as a wall divider between rooms.
What is acoustic panels made of?
Most acoustic panels that you find from big-box stores are made of fiberglass. It is very effective at absorbing mid and high frequencies, but not so much the lower frequencies.
Soundproofing foam boards are also very common, but they are less efficient than most acoustic fabrics at absorbing ambient sound. If you’re looking for a material that absorbs low frequency, then it’s best to use something like a thick velvet fabric.
There is no need to add a backing to your acoustic panels – The thicker the fabric is, the more sound will be absorbed! Velvet can absorb up to three times more sound than fiberglass and five times more than foam board.
Is cotton fabric good for acoustic panels?
I DO NOT recommend using cotton to make acoustic panels! Not only does it not hold a lot of sound, but it is also very rough and causes a lot of panel ringing after you hang it. I highly recommend using some kind of velvet fabric with a thickness of 1 to 3 inches. This will hold the most sound and reduce the ringing that you would normally hear when your panels are hung on walls or ceilings.
Are fur acoustic panels good?
Faux fur has been used in lots of commercial studios because they add a decorative touch to any room. Unfortunately, they are really bad for sound absorption and only work as low frequency absorbers (like bass traps).
Fabric for sound absorption panels?
The fabric you use to make your panels will have the biggest impact on how much sound they absorb. Thicker, heavier fabrics are the best, because they absorb the most sound. Also, fabrics that are tightly woven and denser will be more effective at reflecting and absorbing frequencies. Heavy-duty velvet has been my favorite choice for many years because it is soft, holds a lot of bass absorption and doesn’t take up too much room when attached to acoustic foam boards (because there’s not a lot of dead space between the backing and front fabric). You can also get a lower cost version of this by choosing thick cotton or polyester fabrics in colors that match your room design.
As you can see, making your own acoustic panels really isn’t that hard to do!
Acoustic panels are great for soundproofing recording studios, as well as home theaters. Sounds from your neighbors can also be greatly reduced with properly placed acoustic panels.
So what are you waiting for? Build some acoustic panels and start soundproofing your room today! I would love to hear what you guys think of these instructions, as well as any of your own tips that you may have used over the years.