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Easiest DIY Acoustic Panels Under $20

By Nov 30, 2021February 11th, 2022Home DIY
how to build diy acoustic panels

Today I’m going to show you the easiest way to build a DIY Acoustic Panel for less than $20 each!  They are cheap to make versus buying commercial ones for over $150.  And I really needed some soundproofing and absorption in my shop because it’s basically a huge box with concrete floors.  So these DIY sound panels were the perfect solution.

If you need acoustic sound panels and you don’t want to pay tons of money, this is the project for you!

Thanks to The Home Depot for sponsoring this post and be sure to check out the tools I used for this build linked below.

Before we get started, make sure to follow me on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram to keep up with all my latest builds!

Here is what you’ll need for the project:

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How to Build DIY Acoustic Panels

  1. Build the frames
  2. Add fabric to frames
  3. Add insulation and backing
  4. Hang acoustic panels

1. Build Frames for DIY Acoustic Panels

Making a frame to go around the precut insulation is the first step of this project.  The wooden frame is sized to fit the Rockwool Safe and Sound insulation I’m using, that’s 15-1/4″ wide by 47″ long.  You can use other insulation types, but mineral wool like what’s in the Rockwool is widely considered the most cost effective and best type.  And since the insulation came in a pack of 12, I’m making 12 sound panels.

I used MDF to build the frames because it’s stable and has a smooth surface.  That’ll be important later on when we wrap fabric tight around the whole frame.   But you could use plywood instead if you choose.

I cut 24 sides at of 47″ long and 24 ends at 16-3/4″ long.  All pieces are 3-1/2″ wide.

cutting diy acoustic panel frame

The frames go together easily with butt joints.  I just used wood glue and a few brad nails with a screw in the middle.  You could use just screws if you don’t have a brad nailer.  And with that, I had a strong, stable wooden frame to go around the insulation.

diy acoustic panel frame assembly

I add some mitered cleats on my frames for a unique mounting method which you can see in the video above.  But for a simpler version you can stop here.

2. Add Fabric to the Frames

Fabric for sound panels was quite the mystery for me when I was doing my research.  Everyone said to use “breathable” fabric, but nobody really said what type they were using other than Guilford of Maine which is crazy expensive.

Instead, I went to my local fabric store and found these rolls of 108″ Wide Solid 100% cotton fabric.  It’s literally called Wide Solid and comes in….wait for it…lots of solid colors.

wide solid acoustic panel fabric

I bought 3 yards for the front of the panels and it was perfect to get 12 pieces out of it.  Each piece was cut to 27″ x 60″ which I could then lay the panel on top of and curl it up over the sides.

diy acoustic panel frame and fabric

The fabric is secured to the frames with T50 staples which you can put in by hand.  But it’s MUCH easier to use a pneumatic stapler!  The key is to start in the center of each long side and work your way outward, keeping the fabric stretched tight as you go.

cutting fabric on sound panel

Repeat the process on the short ends and fold up the corners into a straight edge and staple them in place.

what fabric to use on acoustic panel

Once you’ve got the fabric stapled in place you can trim off the excess.  Since my wife doesn’t let me use her nice fabric shears in the shop, I used the Wiss 7in Utility Shears.  They’re great for tasks like this and a lot more heavy duty that office scissors.  So after you’re done cutting fabric you can easily cut tubing, sandpaper, or even metal flashing.

wiss utility shear

And it’s as simple and easy as that!  Now just repeat that 11 more times 🙂

3. Add Insulation and Backing

At this point you need to get geared up to work with the insulation.  Even though mineral wool isn’t quite as bad as fiberglass insulation, you don’t want it getting on your skin or in your lungs.  So gear up with long sleeves, gloves and a quality respirator.

Since the frames are perfectly fit for the insulation this step is a breeze as well.  Slide the Rockwool into the DIY acoustic panel frame and softly push it in place.  You don’t want to compress the batting, just get it settled in.

best insulation for diy acoustic panel

Once it’s in the frame nicely you want to get it covered up.  Leaving the backs exposed will give the insulation a chance to blow out of the frames and get into the air which you don’t want.  So I cut a small piece of fabric (the same wide solid material just a different color) to cover the insulation.  I nailed it into the sides at 3 or 4″ increments which will provide a good barrier.

rockwool diy acoustic panel

After that I trimmed off the excess fabric with the utility shears again and repeated the process 11 more times.

4. Hang the Acoustic Sound Panels

My DIY acoustic panels were made for the ceiling in my shop.  I opted for a french cleat or sliding dovetail hanging method.  Hanging them this way makes the installation so much easier.  All design credit goes to Alexandre Chappel.  My DIY acoustic panels are based extremely closely off of his.  Make sure to check out his video and see how he made his sound panels and mounted them.

But most people opt to hang them with eye bolts and a J-hook on the ceiling.  This method takes longer, but you don’t need a fancy saw or to figure out how to make mitered cuts like you do in the method I used.

Either way you want to mount the acoustic panels into the ceiling joists where you can.  You can go directly into the drywall, but make sure you’re using a specialty anchor designed for that application.

My ceilings are 11′ tall so the Werner 22′ Multi-Position Pro ladder was exactly what I needed to reach them safely.  It’s really 5 ladders in 1 and can be put into 32 different positions to help you get your jobs done.

werner 22' ladder

I used the traditional A-frame configuration and could easily reach the 11′ tall ceilings.  Then I marked the locations of the joists on my ceiling using a stud finder.

finding ceiling joists

After marking out all the locations I attached my mounting cleats with 3″ wood screws.  You could attach the eye bolts the same way.

ceiling cleats acoustic panel sound cloud

From there I could slide the acoustic panels on the mounting cleats and work my way around the shop on the ladder.

diy acoustic panel ceiling installation

When I was done it looked like this!

diy acoustic panel ceiling installation

These have made a huge difference in my shop.  You can hear the before and after sound treatment in the video to hear for yourself!

Now you know how to make your own DIY Acoustic Panels and I hope they make as much of a difference as mine do!

The Home Depot provided me with product and/or monetary compensation as a sponsor of this build.  All opinions are my own and are not filtered by the sponsor.