The one thing there is no shortage of in this modern world is noise. Everywhere there are machines clattering, tools humming, factories grinding and people incessantly talking. Amidst all this noise, maintaining a peaceful environment where employees can work productively and customers can enjoy themselves often becomes difficult.
However, a simple solution exists in the form of sound absorbing panels, which reduce noises and echoes while enhancing sound clarity. While sound blocking panels do not soundproof a room, they do minimize background noise and reverberation. It is possible to build high-quality DIY sound panels for your business using a few simple tools.
This guide will walk you through the process and help you improve sound quality at your business space.
Equipment needed to build the panels
The first and foremost material required is, of course, the sound absorbing the material. These are available in materials like mineral wool and fiberglass, and you can choose the sizes depending on how large you need your panels to be. You also need to buy wooden frame materials in sizes that correspond to your sound absorbing the substance.
In addition, you will require a measuring tape, a pen or pencil, a chop saw or hand saw, an electric drill with bits, a staple gun with staples, a carving knife, wooden screws, corner brackets, wood glue, spray adhesive and something to hang the panel with.
Choosing a panel fabric
Adding a panel fabric is not mandatory, but it can improve the aesthetic quality of panels that may otherwise look clunky and out-of-place in your workspace. It is essential to choose a high-quality fabric for your acoustic wall panels. The material should be completely opaque and should allow your breath to pass through – breathability allows sound waves to also pass through the fabric and into the sound insulation material.
Several craft stores sell appropriate types of fabric, and you can pick the one that suits you best. If you're looking to make decorative sound panels, for an event hall or a conference room, you can also choose patterned or multi-colored fabrics. Be careful, however, of fabrics that are covered with beads or glitter, as this can impede the sound absorption process.
Building the panel frame
After setting up your saw on a workbench, cut out equal-sized squares or rectangles from the wooden frame material as per the dimensions you need. The size of the panels will depend on the wall space you have as well as the amount of sound absorption you want to achieve – a larger surface will absorb more sound.
Place the sound dampening panels inside, push the corner brackets into place and mark out the screw hole positions with a pen or pencil. When drilling the holes, make sure to use a drill bit that is a little smaller than the screw, as this will guard against any splitting at the ends of the boards.
After applying a small amount of wood glue to the joints, screw all the pieces together. Finally, use the can of the spray adhesive to spray along the outer borders of the insulating panel, and then place the insulation inside the frame. Leave this to dry for 24 hours before proceeding.
Preparing the panel fabric
After cutting your fabric into appropriate lengths, place the dried panel frame on your workbench. Apply spray adhesive to the panel and press down strips of fabric lengthwise, stapling down the fabric every three or four inches. Repeat the process by sticking down fabric breadthwise. To seal the top and bottom ends of the fabric, add glue and staple down the edges. The final result should be neatly wrapped all around with no wrinkles, as though you were wrapping a gift.
Hanging up the panels
Use superglue or screws to put up a couple of hangers behind your panel and mount it up on picture hangers or nails. Make sure you mount them securely enough so that they don't fall, particularly if you are placing them on the ceiling or high up on your wall – you should ideally invest in heavy-duty picture hangers that can bear weight and are not easily disturbed by wall thudding or strong wind.
For the best results, keep small airspace (not more than a couple of inches) between the panel and the wall. You can hang them wherever required – the best part about using the decorative fabric is that it transforms regular acoustic sound panels into works of art that will add a pleasant touch to any surface.
Maintaining the panels
Like all good things, your DIY wall panels will require maintenance from time to time to stay in good working order. Make sure that your sound absorbing material is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial so that it can resist humidity and other weather conditions. The best way to clean your panels is to use a soft brush or wipe to remove dirt particles, or gently vacuum them for more intense cleaning.
If any stains do form, wipe them off with a gentle, non-abrasive cleanser that will not spoil the absorbing material – after the cleansing agents have been used, ensure that the panels are thoroughly rinsed, as residual cleansing agents may end up soiling the material. Test the cleansing agent on a small patch of fabric to ensure that the color is not affected. If the stains are difficult to get out, you can also consider getting them professionally cleaned.
By following the above steps, it is quite easy to build your own acoustic wall panels to improve the sound quality on your premises. While readymade panels are also available, they are usually in pre-cut sizes, do not always use attractive fabric and are much more expensive to buy. On the other hand, if you invest a little time and care into making your own panels, you can achieve the same purpose at a fraction of the cost. So no need to worry anymore about unwanted noise – simply follow this guide and put up your acoustic panels today!