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How to Build Acoustic Panels on a Budget

Today I’m going to walk you through the steps to build an affordable set of acoustic panels. For this build, I’ll be working with Roxul Rockboard 60, furring strips, two types of glue, and some regular cotton-based cloth. The tools you’ll need will be either a hand saw or a circular saw (much faster!), a utility knife (optional – scissors work too), and a standard staple gun.

After everything is said and done, you’ll be the proud owner of six 2″ thick acoustic panels to help tame those nasty frequencies in your room. There are many ways to build these panels and many materials that you can use to attain different effects – I’ve listed the materials that I’ll be using below.

Here’s what you’ll need to make a total of six acoustic panels (2′ x 4′)

(Order 6 of these)

Cloth Upholstering: $2.42/ea

(Order 9 of these)

Furring Strips: $1.48/ea

(Order 1 of each of these)

Wood Glue: $5.84

Adhesive: $9.91

Mineral Wool Board: $52.00

Staple Gun: $17.74

Staples: $2.98

This project will run you about $116.31 (pre-tax/shipping) and cover 48sq.ft. Of course, you can always save a few dollars if you already have some wood glue, a staple gun and staples. Once you’ve purchased the glue and adhesive they should last you multiple builds if you wanted to make another 6 acoustic panels – but this should be a great start to taming a wild room.

The build process

Framing the panels

To start things off we’ll need to cut the 8ft furring strips down to size. Let’s cut six of them in half (two 4ft strips) and the remaining three will be cut into twelve 2ft sections. After cutting everything down to size, I’ve decided to cut each at a 45 degree angle so it looks and aligns nicely; however, making this cut is not required.

Now that we’ve successfully cut all of our furring strips down to the correct sizes, we’ll need to use the wood glue to connect them together and the spray adhesive to connect them to the roxul board.

This is what the acoustic panels should look like after gluing the furring strips together and then adhering them to the roxul board.

Framed Roxul Acoustic Panels

Upholstering the panels

When upholstering the acoustic panels be sure to make them taut – but don’t pull so hard that your fabric may rip when stapled. I suggest pulling one of the long (4ft) sides first – stapling that – then tugging the other long side around the back to ensure a wrinkle-free fit.

Take a look at the process so far – we’ve finished framing and now we are stapling the cloth to the frame.

Upholstered Roxel Acoustic Panels

The final product

Congratulations! You’ve built yourself six 2′ x 4′ acoustic panels fit for any studio! The finished panels should look something like this. However, you can always customize them by beveling the edges, choosing a different color fabric, or building them in different sizes. Some popular sizes are 2’x4′, 1’x8′, and 2’x2′.

Finished Roxul Acoustic Panels
Finished Roxul Acoustic Panels 2

Sound absorption details and product comparison

The acoustic panel’s sound absorbing material I’ve chosen for this particular build is Roxul Rockboard 60. This is because it is very cost effective and well-balanced along the frequency spectrum for sound absorption. You are of course welcome to build these panels out of any material you’d like – below is a comparison chart for a few different options and their pricing. (all 2″ thick, Hz = Coefficients at Frequencies)

Product Name Density lbs/ft3 125 Hz 500 Hz 1000 Hz 4000 Hz NRC Price/sq.ft.
Roxul Rockboard 60 6 lb. 0.32 1.06 1.02 1.04 0.95 $1.08
Roxul Rockboard 80 8 lb. 0.43 0.90 0.97 1.00 0.90 $1.50
Knauf ECOSE® 6 lb. 0.32 1.08 1.06 1.04 1.00 $2.48
Owens-Corning 703 FRK 3 lb. 0.63 0.95 0.79 0.35 0.75 $2.38

Thanks for reading!

For anyone interested in how I hung these up, click (this link) and (this link) for the hanging materials.

If you’d like to bounce some questions off of us, feel free to post a comment or send us an email.

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