While acoustic panels are available in the market, they are expensive. A cheaper and more fun alternative would be to build them yourself.
And if you have found your way to this article, chances are that you have been looking for an affordable way to improve your room’s acoustic performance. If yes, then this article is the first step to building your own acoustic panels.
We’ll discuss, in detail, how to build a DIY wooden frame for your acoustic panels. Once you have purchased the necessary items from the store you can begin the frame building process.
You’ll need a tape measure to mark the lengths on the timber and a saw to help you cut the timber into the needed sizes. Use wood glue to help you secure the joints, but also use screws to tighten the joints properly. These wooden frames can then be covered by fabric (here are our top recommendations) and filled with sound-absorbing filling to help soundproof the room effectively.
A proper guide to building the panel is given later in the article. But before that, let’s talk about what you’ll need for this project.
Items Needed for Building your DIY Wooden Frames for Acoustic Panels
For the frame, you will need the below-listed items to start your DIY wooden frame for acoustic panels:
The wood that you choose needs to be purchased in the following dimensions if you are following the measurements provided in this guide.
- 1×8 @ 8 feet long
- 1×8 @ 10 feet long
- 1×2 @ 8 feet long
Below I have listed the tools that you will need to put together the wooden frame.
- Circular Saw (we recommend this one)
- Power Drill
- Electric Sander (here’s my favorite)
- 60 grit sandpaper
- 120 grit sandpaper
- Tape Measure
- Wood clamps
- Ear Protection
- Eye Protection
- Wood glue
These are the recommended tools to tackle the task ahead. If you don’t have any of them, you can always check them out on Amazon or work around the task in some other way (but we’d recommended having them).
Steps for Building a DIY Acoustic Panel Wooden Frame
Here are the steps to follow for building a DIY wooden frame for your acoustic panel
Cut the Required Boards
Firstly, with the help of your tape measure, mark the 8ft boards at increments of 24 inches (2 feet). If you are left with a small bit at the end of the increments, just cut it off.
Now you need to cut the wood at those marks. You can use the circular saw to cut the wood and end up with four equal-sized boards of 2 feet each.
Moving onto the height of the frame, you need to measure out the proper size. Add an inch and a half in addition to your required length, to account for the thickness of the 8ft boards. So, for a 4ft (48 inches) tall frame, you would have to measure out the size of 49.5 inches. Now, you should end up with four, 4ft boards.
Using your power drill, you now need to make holes in the 2-feet boards that you have previously cut up. Drill two pocket holes on each corner of the board.
Join the Boards Together to Create the Frame
We now need to join all our boards together. Two of the 2-feet boards, with two of the 4-feet boards. Place the side on the table and hold the top beside it, by using the right angle clamp.
You can undo one side of the clamp and slide the board up, so you can apply glue to it. Then slide the board back in place and tighten the clamp. At this time you can also drill screws into the previously drilled holes to hold everything tightly. Repeat this with the bottom board and screw it to the other end of the 4ft board. You will end up with a ‘U’ shaped frame.
At the opening, place the other 4ft board and glue the two sides to the frame. Drill in the screws to secure the entire frame. You should find yourself with a rectangular frame that measures 4ft by 2ft.
Build the Inner Frame
Now we move on to the inner frame. This frame should fit snugly inside the outer frame that you just built and so you need to be careful with your measurements.
Measure the inside of the frame you just constructed. This step will ensure that we can build an inner frame that fits in perfectly with the outer. The inner length should measure 24 inches, but if it’s slightly larger or smaller, note it down.
Measure out the lengths of the 1×2 boards and add an additional one-eighth of an inch to it. This is because we will sand down the edges, using the 60 grit sandpaper, to fit into the frame instead of cutting off the wood directly. This will help us get a more snug fit.
For the sides, your inner measurement should be reading 45 inches. If not, note it down. Once again remember to add one-eighth of an inch to your measured length, so that it may be sanded down.
Once you have measured out all the four boards, place them in the frame to check if it fits well in the outer frame.
Now that the measurements are confirmed, we need to screw together the four new boards. Using the right angle clamp again, join the top and bottom, to the sides and secure the frame.
Once the inner frame is complete, it is very important to remember to sand down the edges of the inner frame using the 120 grit sandpaper. The fabric will be attached to this frame, so it needs to be smooth to avoid the cloth getting snagged.
For the measurements, you can follow those listed above. However, if you understand your space better, you can always adjust the lengths of the wooden frame accordingly. The measurements are customizable, but make sure that you add two inches to the width in addition to your required depth.
Note: The 8ft boards will be used for the top and bottom of the frame, while the 10ft board can be used for the sides.
If you’re confused about any of the steps discussed above and would like to watch a video that follows a similar process, then check this one out:
Types of Wood to be Used with Acoustic Panels
The type of wood that you use is not going to impact the way your acoustic panel works. For sound-absorbing panels, the filling material is what contributes to the way sound diffuses throughout the room.
However, there are a lot of options of wood that you can work with for your wooden frame. So, choose the one that’s most accessible to you or fits your requirements.
We have listed five of the most popular wood types that may be used this for the DIY project below:
Beechwood is a hardwood that is pale with a tinge of reddish-brown. This wood is a popular choice and used to build furniture like chairs, tables, cabinets etc. Beech wood is also used in musical instruments like pianos and drum sets. This wood has a straight grain and a fine texture and is resistant to rot. It is easy to use and the end product has a nice overall finish.
There are many types of oak in the market but we’re talking about Bur Oak, specifically. The wood may have a light to medium-brown shade, so the color can vary a bit. Its texture is porous and has quite a coarse grain. But it has a very good resistance to rot of any kind, making it long-lasting. Furthermore, oak is easy to work with as it glues well and has a very nice finish to it.
Unlike most hardwoods, maple’s color ranges from being almost white to a reddish hue. Its grain varies between being straight and wavy. The wood has a fine texture making it a very popular choice for furniture.
However, maple is susceptible to rot. So, in humid and warmer temperatures, it may be in danger of being damaged. The wood is easily workable and can also be handled by hand, apart from machines. The wood finishes well, which is a desirable feature for beginners.
Cherry is another alternate for woodworkers and a suitable option to create DIY wooden frames for acoustic panels. The wood generally has a golden brown hue but may have pink hues if freshly cut.
The wood has a fine texture and its grain may either be straight or wavy. This hardwood may be susceptible to decay which makes it moderately durable. The wood is easily workable with both hand and machine tools. However, staining the wood is not advisable as the final result is blotchy.
Pro tip: For a finished look, it is recommended that you sand the wood.
Birchwood is very popular for its lustrous finish. The wood has a light reddish-brown color and it gives off a uniform appearance. The wood’s grain is generally straight with a fine texture. One of its main disadvantages is that it is perishable. It will decay fast if exposed to harsh temperatures.
Birch wood can be easily handled by beginners and the final product can be stained or sanded to give an even finish. If this is your first DIY project with wood, you should go for Birch.
Why are Wooden Frames Necessary for Acoustic Panels?
Wooden frames are used with acoustic panels because they provide the panels with additional support to be mounted on walls or ceilings. The frame provides the panel with some stiffness and allows you to wrap the acoustic material tightly around the durable wooden frame. Wood also brings rigidity to the entire panel which also makes it very easy to mount to walls.
Some people may avoid using any wood in their acoustic panels because it is an additional expense. However, if you do use it, the benefits of using wooden frames with acoustic panels outweigh the costs.
And while you may be able to make frames using metal or plastic, wood is just easier to use and easily available. You don’t need professional tools to deal with wood which can either be joined, nailed, screwed, or even glued together.
Wooden frames are the easiest way to build acoustic panels by yourself. Once you have chosen the proper wood, you can follow our DIY guide and build a frame from scratch.
Just remember to be diligent and patient through the process as the measurements need to be accurate. Building these frames will take time, but once you make the frame, the biggest task is out of your way. You will find yourself a lot closer to a room that will soon have a controlled acoustic environment!