Rob W. shared with us a picture of his home theater and we were AMAZED by his DIY acoustic panels. When we gushed over them on the podcast, he shared with us how he did it. Thanks Rob and congrats on the coolest DIY panels we’ve ever seen
From Alan: As to the acoustic panels, I watched a ton of DIY Acoustic Panel videos on YouTube and distilled everyone’s technique down to: 1×4 frames (to maintain an air gap behind the absorption material), Roxul Safe’n’Sound Insulation or Owens-Corning 703 glass fiber panels, and cheap muslin material for backside of the panel. A DIY Acoustic Panel thread on AVS here http://www.avsforum.com/forum/19-dedicated-theater-design-construction/1316623-diy-custom-printed-movie-poster-acoustic-panels-cheap.html told me about some fairly good AT printed fabrics from www.spoonflower.com (note that they require you take responsibility for having the “legal” ability to print the poster by clicking a check box). For a good turnout, you need a 150 dpi image to upload.
First step was to find high quality movie poster images. Found some at www.movieposterdb.com, the forums on www.blu-ray.com or just searching Google/Bing. Since I didn’t pony up for Photoshop, I used the free Gimp software for image editing. I made a canvas the same size as 1 yard of fabric at spoonflower (54″x36″), colored the background solid black, centered my movie poster and then resized it 36″x24″ (or at least 24″ wide if I didn’t want to change the original aspect ratio). I also added a 2 pixel thick white line at the point where the fabric would fold around the back of the frames to give me some helper guides during attachment. Each print from spoonflower on their silky faille material cost $21.60. The quality of the prints are amazing with vibrant colors and very dark blacks. Even with the camera flash washing the blacks out some you can still see how dark they’re printed.
I bought the lumber (~$1/8′) and Roxul (~$50 for a pack of 8 – 4’x2′ panels) from Lowes and had them rough cut the lumber down to 36″ pieces and 22.5″ pieces (since 1×4 are actually 0.75×3.5). I pre-drilled and screwed and glued the boards together and added corner bracing for support. Really could’ve come out much better if I just cut the wood myself (their rough cuts are really rough) but the thought of not having to break out the saw was just too appealing
I cut the Roxul down to size with a bread knife. This insulation is very stiff and didn’t require any additional support to stay in position though you can add some bracing on the back side to ensure a consistent air gap is maintained.
Purchased the Muslin from Joann Fabrics for something like $8 (enough to cover 6 panels) and stapled it the back (air gap) side.
I stretched and wrapped the prints as best and as evenly as I could (was not great at this technique the first few times) and then folded the corners using canvas corner folding techniques again from YouTube and stapled everything together. Finally, I screwed in some picture wire on the backside and added some circle felt pads on the corners. You can see the white pixel guide lines that I added to the print around the edges. Those helped immensely when trying to center everything.
I got progressively better at making the panels the more I did and unfortunately the majority white front panels with the black borders (which show your mistakes the most) were the ones I did first. But these are going into a normally dark theater and there was no way I was removing all those staples and redoing them.
As to the performance, these replaced some previous panels I had on the walls (a hodge-podge from Gik and other places) and measurements in REW were amazingly similar. So all total for the six panels with shipping I spent about $225:
- Poster prints – $137
- Roxul – $50
- Lumber/Screws/Corner Braces/Hanging Wire/Glue/Staples – $25
- Muslin fabric – $8
Thanks Rob! You prove, once again, that AV Rant has the COOLIST listeners in all of AV and Home Theater!