Sound dampening materials for professional and amateur uses alike are available in sound-proofing stores, as well as music and entertainment stores. Sound-proofing allows musicians, sound engineers, dancers and those in similar industries to extend their workstations in their homes through construction of small sound, music or dance studios. Others prefer having sound dampening panels for their home theaters and rooms in the house where they want to either protect the area from noise outside or enclose the noise coming from inside.
Choose the materials you will use for your homemade sound dampening project so that the panels absorb sound waves that cause echoes or reverberation. You may use old egg cartons, but they have to be exposed and do not always fit in with the design of the room. Apply foam or fiberglass beneath carpeting; stuffing some extra carpet behind wall panels can also help dampen sound in the room. Heavy velour curtains with a light-proof lining, usually available at theatrical fabric houses, are another option for the sound dampening needs of a room.
If you prefer professional sound dampening products, look for acoustic foam, dynamat, sound absorption sheets or a dimpled plastic membrane made of high-density polyethylene called a noise control membrane.
Measure the size of your walls and even your floor, windows and ceiling, according to the needs of your sound dampening project. Make a layout of how you want your room to look. Base your layout on both your preferred room design and the actual use of the room, and consider how different sound dampening products will be best used. For instance, you can combine easy-to-acquire materials like carpets and curtains with more professional noise-control products such as heavy draperies and sound dampening sheets and boards on the walls, windows, floors and ceilings.
Gather all materials and prepare them according to the required measurements. According to the website NoiseControlSoundProofingMaterial.com, the cost of sound dampening materials can start at about $1.75 per foot. A number of noise dampening products come in regular and long sizes. They are available in individual packs, multi-packs and in starter and room kits.
Cut your soundproofing panels. Start installing the properly sized panels on the walls. Depending on the materials you use, you may also be able to utilize sound reduction sheets that are readily attached to the walls. For most homemade projects, the installation of the sound dampening material on each wall can be as simple as rolling it out and attaching it to the wall studs. Make sure you properly attach and secure each sound dampening material before moving on to the next one.
Work on the interior design of the room. You may also include sound dampening materials in some furnishings inside the room; for instance, upholstered items will dampen sound.
To maintain a visually enticing room while still using typical homemade materials, you may invest in fine draperies and put them around the walls and the windows. Make sure you have accurate measurements when creating your sound dampening panels.
Although old egg cartons are popularly described as sound dampening materials, they are not actually the best option for sound absorption. However, egg cartons are an effective material for echo reduction, because they break the direction of the sound waves, causing them to travel in different directions until the waves run out of echoing power.
Rianne Hill Soriano is a freelance artist/writer/educator. Her diverse work experiences include projects in the Philippines, Korea and United States. For more than six years she has written about films, travel, food, fashion, culture and other topics on websites including Yahoo!, Yehey! and Herword. She also co-wrote a book about Asian cinema.