Sometimes soundproofing your home from outside noise isn’t enough because appliances in your home can be noisy too.
In these instances, you can build a DIY soundproof box.
Sound travels in waves so in order to soundproof you need to trap or deflect those waves.
This can be done by using various soundproofing materials.
The size and materials you use to build your soundproof box will depend on the size and noise level of the item you want to silence.
You can choose to build a box using plywood or MDF panels because they are thicker so they can silence an appliance better.
On the other hand, a cardboard box can work just as great if you insulate it with some of the best soundproofing materials.
- Things you’ll need for soundproofing a box
- How to build or soundproof a cardboard box
- Frequently Asked Questions
Things you’ll need for soundproofing a box
To soundproof the box you build or a cardboard box, you will need to round up your materials first.
There are numerous options to choose from.
Some people will go for the cheapest materials while others will have no issue spending a few extra bucks for better results.
The materials we’ve chosen will give you the best results without breaking the bank.
Here’s a list of things you’ll need:
- Cardboard box or your DIY box(size of your choice).
- Foam Board
- Foam panels
- Adhesive Spray
- Sound deadener
- Scissors/craft knife/blade
- Measuring tape/ruler
The amount of foam board or panels will depend on how many walls on the box you want to insulate.
If you want the box to close completely, you need enough foam board and panels to cover the 6 walls of the box.
On the other hand, if one side of the box needs to remain open, you’ll only need enough to cover 5 walls.
How to build or soundproof a cardboard box
1. Get a box
Start with a box that is large enough for your project without being too big.
You can get a cardboard box from several retail merchants.
Simply ask and you just may get the perfect size you need.
If you need an extremely large box, then you’re better off heading to an appliance store or a furniture store.
They should have bigger boxes.
However, if you can find the size you’re looking for, get the size closest to what you want.
If not, then you may have to build your own or hop online and buy exactly what you need.
Check out this video on how to build a soundproof box.
A quick search on amazon for moving boxes brings up thousands of results.
Check out this option that has over 1000 reviews.
- Material: Cardboard
- Color: Standard
- Dimensions: 20x20x12
You want a sturdy box that will last for years.
The Pantryware Essentials Moving Boxes are heavy-duty, double-walled, corrugated.
It uses double-wall corrugated fiberboard which makes these boxes strong and highly durable.
2. Prepare your workspace
When doing any sort of DIY project especially if you’re doing them in your home, you have to protect your floors, etc.
Take sheets of newspaper and spread them on the surface where you’ll be building your soundproof box.
The newspaper acts as a protective layer so that the surface is not damaged by the adhesive spray or any other materials you’ll be using to build your box.
Ensure that the workspace is large enough since you’ll have to cut and make adjustments to the foam board and panels before installing them into your cardboard box.
3. Measure the interior of the box
Start by measuring the interior of the box.
You will need exact measurements so measure twice or thrice if you have to.
You do not want to make a mistake when cutting your soundproofing materials and wasting them.
4. Insulate the walls of the box
You will need 5 or 6 foam boards to insulate the walls of the box including the top flap.
The amount depends on how many walls you need to insulate.
These boards come in several sizes so choose the size that is best suited for the size of your cardboard box.
You may need to cut these boards so make sure you have your knife, scissors and fixed blade ready to make any adjustments.
Be sure to use the measurements you took earlier to ensure you get the right fit.
- Material: extruded polystyrene foam, paper
- Thickness: ⅛ inches
- Dimensions: 11×14 Inches
The Excelsis Design Foam Boards are made from the highest grade materials.
These boards are made from extruded polystyrene foam and laminated between 2 sheets of paper.
Although lightweight, they have a strong and rigid surface.
Each side of the boards features a smooth surface and they resist warping and bending.
These boards are acid-free since acid can damage paper.
This means that the boards are durable and will last a long time.
5. Attach foam board panels to the box
After cutting and making adjustments to the foam boards, you’ll need to attach them to the walls of the box.
To do this, you will need a strong adhesive.
The best type to use on this projective is a spray adhesive.
Spray a piece of foam board and press it gently to attach it to the walls of the box.
Repeat this process until all the walls of the box are covered.
Be sure to use the spray adhesive over your newspaper-covered surface so the newspaper can catch all of the oversprays.
Leave the panels to set before moving on to the next step.
This gives the adhesive time to create a more secure bond.
- Color: Clear
- Spray: Wide pad nozzle and controlled fine mist
- Size: 11 oz.
The Gorilla Heavy Duty Spray Adhesive is a multi-purpose adhesive that can be used on wood, foam, glass, leather, paper, plastic, metal and fabric.
It is easy to use and repositionable for up to 10 minutes.
However, after 10 minutes, it forms a permanent bond.
This spray adhesive comes with a wide pad nozzle which makes it easy to spray.
It outputs a fine mist so you have control over the way the spray.
This ensures that only targeted areas get the adhesive and nowhere else.
Best of all, the Gorilla Spray Adhesive meets the new VOC standards.
6. Install sound deadener
To make your box fully soundproof, you’ll need to apply a serious sound deadening material.
You will have to cut the sheets to cover the entire surface of the box.
Most of these materials come with an adhesive backing so all you have to do is peel and press it onto the foam board panels.
- Blocks up to 3 to 12 dB
- Dimensions: 34.5 x 4.5 x 4.75 inches
Dynamat is one of the best sound deadening mats out there.
It is primarily used in vehicles to help block sound.
This butyl-based mat blocks both heat and noise due to its thickness and composition.
It can also isolate vibrations which is one of the main reasons this particular mat is used in vehicles.
Dymanmat can block up to 3-12 decibels of sound so it is perfect for your soundproof box.
It comes with an adhesive backing that makes installation a breeze.
Just cut to size to match the walls of your box.
Peel off the adhesive protector and attach the cut sheets of Dynamat to the foam boards.
7. Attach foam panels
After covering the foam boards with Dynamat, it is time to attach some acoustic foam panels to the walls of the box.
- Reduce wave, flutter echos and reverberations
- Dimensions: 2″ X 12″ X 12″
The Foamily acoustic foam is wedged shaped to help reduce waves, reverberations and flutter echoes.
Each panel is 1 square foot and 2 inch thick.
This product passes the requirements tested in the CAL 117-2013 procedure which tests smolder resistant materials used in upholstered furniture
To attach the foam, you will need a different type of adhesive.
You need to use an adhesive that is designed to give the best and most lasting results.
All you need to do is cut and spray the back of the panels over your protected area then press firmly onto the Dynamat covered foam boards.
- Unique spray pattern
- Will not oxidize
- Size: 15 oz
Auralex FoamTak adhesive spray is the fastest and easiest way to attach acoustic foam panels to the Dynamat covered foam boards.
For a stronger hold, be sure to apply this spray adhesive liberally to the back of the foam panels.
This spray adhesive uses a unique spray pattern that makes using it to create a stronger bond easier.
FoamTak also has more actual solids than other spray adhesives which allows it to create a stronger bond.
It will not oxidize so the chances of it drying out and failing are little to none.
8. Test the soundproof box
Once you’ve followed steps 1 through 6, you have successfully completed your soundproof box.
The next thing you need to do is put the soundproof box to the test.
Place the box over the device you want to quiet down or in the box and listen to make sure that the noise level is reduced by a significant amount.
9. Make Adjustments if needed
If you find any issues when testing your soundproof box, you’ll need to make some adjustments.
One of the most common issues you’ll find is that not every corner or area of the foam panels has enough adhesive.
If this is the case, you will need to add some extra adhesive to certain areas.
If you have room in the box, you can always add more foam panels.
If you use sculpted foam panels, you need to turn the new panels upside down to apply them to the already attached panels.
However, keep in mind that sculpted foam panels are designed in such a way to absorb and reflect sound.
So if you obstruct the sculpture by using another foam panel on top, the noise-reducing properties may decrease.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. What can a noise cancelling box be used for?
People use soundproof boxes for various reasons.
If your water pump, generator or boiler is especially noisy, then enclosing it in a soundproof box can be a cheap solution.
However, be careful if your appliance suddenly starts making too much noise as it may be an indication of faulty parts, etc.
If the noise is excessive, consult with a professional before doing anything.
Once you received the all-clear from the professional, you can proceed to build your soundproof box and use it.
If you have a baby or older individuals in the home, you may not want to disturb them if you’re preparing meals late at night or early morning using a blender.
Putting a soundproof box over the blender will reduce the sound while it is in use.
It is cheaper than soundproofing a room so if you’re on a tight budget a soundproof box is your best bet.
If you’re a musician or someone who records audio, a soundproof box can help in various ways.
Enclosing your amp and microphone in a soundproof box will isolate sound effectively.
When recording, you’ll get purer sounds as the soundproof box will filter out ambient noise.
2. What if the box I have is too small?
There is nothing you can do to expand a small box.
You will need to buy a new box or install the materials on the outside of the small box.
Do note that your small soundproof box won’t look too pretty but it will get the job done.
3. Can egg cartons soundproof a cardboard box?
It is common to hear people say that egg cartons can help reduce noise.
However, it’s not quite clear how or when this rumor started but it probably has to do with the shape of the egg carton.
Unfortunately, it simply does not work.
An egg carton will thicken the walls of the cardboard box a little which will have very little effect on the sound.
The shape may be able to reduce reverberations and echos to an extent.
However, the results won’t be anything worth getting excited about.
Egg cartons are just too thin and not constructed to block noise in any way.
4. Can I use bubble wrap to soundproof a cardboard box?
Like egg cartons, bubble wrap won’t make much of a difference.
Bubble wrap is designed to protect items from being broken.
It is not intended to block sound in any way.
The first problem is that bubble wrap isn’t thick enough to add much mass.
Mass helps to stop sound and when there’s isn’t much, no sound will be affected.
The second thing is that the little bit of mass it does offer will decrease if the bubbles pop.
This means you will have to keep replacing it regularly.
Just stick to using proven soundproofing products that were designed specifically for reducing and blocking sounds when soundproofing your cardboard box.
5. Can I substitute any of the materials mentioned to soundproof a cardboard box?
Yes, you can.
You can find other alternatives in this best dynamat alternative post.
Regular acoustic foam only reduces airborne noise so vibrations aren’t dealt with.
This is why you need to use a product that tackles vibrations as well.
A more expensive alternative is Mass Loaded Vinyl but this is used in larger soundproofing projects.
It is safe to say that soundproofing a cardboard box is one of the easiest soundproofing projects.
It is so easy that you can do it yourself with just a few simple materials that can be found online.
Soundproofing a cardboard box is not as expensive as soundproofing a room.
It is a great temporary fix to reduce the noise of appliances in your kitchen or any other room in the home.
Best of all, you can easily store it away when not in use.
Just follow the instructions carefully and you should be able to build a soundproof box without any hassle.
Be sure to measure twice so that you don’t make any mistakes and waste your materials.