Having a band or anything in mind? Maybe you’re just getting started. However, before buying a soundboard that costs thousands of dollars it might be worth your time to learn how to build your own acoustic panel for much less. With these easy tutorial materials and some basic shop tools, you can learn how to create an acoustic panel in minutes.
Creating an acoustic panel is a great way for musicians of all levels and styles to make their own professional recording setup without having to spend too much money on gear or larger rooms. In this article we’ll go over the basics on creating your own DIY acoustic panels.
What You’ll Need
Acoustic Foam, Sheetrock Tape,1/4″ Plywood,Rip SawDrillHand SanderJigsawElectric SanderPainter’s TapePre Cut Acoustic PanelsWood ScrewsScrew EyeBoom Stand
Measure and cut a section of sheetrock tape. This should be the same height as your acoustic panels. The number of panels you use will depend on what you’re recording. Measure the area you plan on using, and divide by however many panels you will be using. This is the maximum amount of acoustic foam to buy, but make sure to have extra just in case you need to fill in any spots or cover points (like sharp corners or thin areas. Measure and cut a section of 1/4″ plywood. This is the base of your acoustic panel. Measure and cut out pieces of acoustic foam. You will add these to the bottom of the plywood to give your panel extra padding and to hold your microphone in place on top. Mark where you want your microphone holes to be using painter’s tape or some other markable surface Place electric sanders into drill press and start sanding holes large enough for microphones to fit through. You may need more than one layer depending on how precise you want them to be. This may take some trial and error, so be patient with yourself.
Are DIY acoustic panels safe?
First and foremost, it’s important to note that DIY acoustic panel doesn’t have to be dangerous. However, you do need to take certain precautions when working with wood. Most DIY acoustic panels are built with MDF or some type of wood product like particle board. I highly recommend taking proper safety precautions before working on any type of wood and use a dust mask while working with these materials. It’s best to work in a well ventilated area as well (for obvious reasons). As an extra precaution a respirator is recommended if you’re not familiar with the ways of maintaining them. Even though my tutorial doesn’t include the techniques for building the panels, it’s still very important to take safety precautions for your own health and the public’s.

Building an acoustic panel with MDF or particle board?
Depending on the tooling you decide to use for your DIY acoustic panels, you’ll be able to make them as large or small as you like. You’ll want to keep in mind that if you’re making a coarse and low-end panel (depends on how much room you have) then you’ll want to go with a thinner MDF or particle board. If you’re building a high-end HD panel then use a thicker and more durable material like plywood.

What is the best material for acoustic panels?
The acoustic panel itself is the main piece that holds the amount of space and measurement readings. For this reason, it’s a smart idea to use a material with the best acoustical rating possible. The best option would be using MDF (medium density fiberboard) or particle board for your panels. The reason why these materials work best is because they are both very light and inexpensive. However, these materials don’t have the best soundproofing qualities because of how they are made. There are some other options you could use as well like foam board or even paper as long as it’s not recycled paper which can act like a ball at times.
If you want to give your DIY acoustic panel the best ratings possible then you’ll want to use plywood. Other options like oak have a similar sound rating but are often more expensive and heavier.

How thick do DIY acoustic panels need to be?
Depending on your room size and the size of your panel, you’ll need to determine how thick of a panel you want. The sound rating on a DIY acoustic panel depends on a few different factors (frequency, ambient noise level, etc.) so you’ll want to give it some thought before building. If your room is pretty large then a thicker panel might be best. For example, if the room is 20 ft x 20 ft and you’re using 2 x 4’s for this project then it’s probably best to use 4 feet worth or 8 inches thick MDF/particle board as that would give more sound absorption. 
If the room is about the same size but you’re using 1 x 6’s for your panel then it’s best to go with 2 feet worth or 4 inches (1 ft. thick) of MDF/particle board. This would give more room for thickening and is better suited for a larger acoustical panel that would be better suited for low-end frequencies.
One thing you’ll want to keep in mind is that it’s typically harder to create a thicker panel than one that is thinner because of the cutting breakdown. However, if you have access to equipment or professionals who can help you then that helps out a lot. If not, you’ll need a table saw which can be tricky at times.

When do you build DIY acoustic panels?
Depending on the time and budget you have in mind, you’ll want to build these acoustic panels at different points. For example, if you’re a musician that travels into gigs from time to time and wants to make some portable panels then it’s best to use thinner MDF/particle board. On the other hand, if you have access to a shop with plenty of room then it’s best to make plywood panels because they’re typically best for soundproofing.
If your room is around the same size and needs more rooming then it can be easier for thicker plywood which would be better suited at stopping low-end frequencies from escaping your room.

Can I use memory foam for DIY acoustic panels?
While memory foam can be great to use, it’s best to go with something that’s a little thicker for your DIY acoustic panels. This is because the way that the foam is designed means less acoustical absorption. Instead, if you want to go this route then you’ll want to use a 4 inch egg crate or a regular mattress pad instead.

So when it comes to building acoustic panels for yourself they aren’t as hard as you might think. You just need time and the right materials in order to build them your way. With the right design and your own unique touch, you’ll have better sounding rooms and a greater performing environment with your DIY acoustic panels.

Steps in making DIY acoustic panels:
1) To start with you need to know the size of your space (the room) and figure out exactly how much acoustic absorption you need.
2) Once you know the amount of absorption needed, decide if you want to make a thinner HD panel or go for a thicker panel.
3) After making your decision, figure out the exact measurements and cut your MDF/particle board accordingly.
4) Next, round out all of the edges with either sandpaper or an orbital sander.
5) If going for particle board, then line your face with some ½ inch foam insulation and attach it to the backside of your acoustic panel with screws and glue (if using MDF).
6) Now, cover your acoustic panel with smoothie board or a layer of paper.
7) To attach the particle board to your HD panel, use screws and anchors to secure it from the backside. It’s recommended that you buy extra screws in case you need them.
8) Once attached, finish off your DIY acoustic panel with a layer of finish (glue/paint/varnish).
9) If done correctly, you should have a finished DIY acoustic panel ready for use.

What are the benefits of DIY acoustic panels?
• If you’re on a budget then DIY acoustic panels can help conserve some cash.
• The fact that they aren’t as expensive means that you can buy the equipment and materials without breaking the bank. Plus, if your room is small then you’ll be able to create your own acoustic panels easier than a large one.
• The fact that they’re DIY is also a benefit because you can do whatever you want with them. You aren’t restricted to the style/shape/size like many commercially made panels.
• They offer plenty of ways in which you can build them. You could make them out of plywood or make your panel out of particle board. The latter will be more expensive but more durable (withstanding the test of time).
• Depending on the design, attachments and mounting, they’re also a great way to enhance your rooms acoustics while also enhancing its look.

Acoustic panels can make a world of difference to your rooms sound/acoustics. It’s even possible that they might offer you some peace and quiet so that you can actually get some work done. Plus, if you have a band that needs to practice in the garage then this is a great way for them to do it without the headache of too much noise.
If you have the time to make your own acoustic panels then it’s recommended that you go for it. You’ll be able to create something that fits your needs and budget which makes it even better. Plus, if space is at a premium in your room then going with panels that are thinner is ideal because they’ll take up far less room than thicker ones.
If you have space to spare then you’ll get the best soundproofing by going with thicker panels.
However, if you’re in a hurry or don’t have access to the right tools or materials (if building MDF panels) then there are plenty of companies that make acoustic panels that can help out. Just make sure that they’re designed for your room size and are built for areas where soundproofing is needed. This will ensure that they offer the best soundproofing possible while also offering other benefits such as acoustical absorption which helps with sound quality.
Additionally, you can also create your own DIY acoustic panel design to suit your needs. This might mean taking the time to make them out of a sturdy material and perhaps even adding in a unique design/feature. It’s all up to you and by building your own acoustic panels you’ll be able to save money (if you buy the materials) while gaining something that looks great and offers soundproofing for any size room.