Guilford of Maine fabrics is the industry standard for acoustic panel fabric. But their high price is pushing some towards other options, such as 12 oz cotton duck fabric, which is cheaper and has the right acoustic properties.
The good news is that you are not in uncharted territory. A lot of people have made their own acoustic panels, so there is a long history of proof that this is correct.
Some of the main acoustic panel fabrics that people have had success with:
- Guildford of Maine Fabric
- Cotton weft fabric
- Speaker Grill Cloth
For acoustic panels, we want all the sound to pass through. This is called “acoustic transmission”. The amount of sound that penetrates a piece of cloth. And you can check it yourself in a simple way: bring a piece of cloth to your mouth and exhale slowly against it. With your other hand, see if you can feel air passing through the fabric.
Remember that sound travels through the air. So this quick test with air will show us if air can pass through the fabric and if air, so can sound. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common materials used for acoustic panel fabric and talk about their pros and cons.
The best acoustic fabrics for acoustic panels
Guildford of Maine Fabric
In the world of custom-made acoustic panels, Maine-based Guilford has a strong position in the quality fabric market. If you’re making your own panels to have more aesthetic control over the space, Guilford of Maine almost certainly has the style and fabric for you.
And if you choose Guildford from Maine, you can be sure you will receive quality materials that will suit your needs. Since they specialize in fabric acoustic panels, they know which parts are best to match. For example, none of their panels are made of nylon, which can absorb moisture from the air and sag over time.
Guildford of Main fabrics have also proven themselves well in the DIY audio panel community, they have a lot of good reviews and buyers are thrilled with the quality and durability of their fabrics. Some of them are even cleaned with bleach, which is a nice addition that will ensure a long life with little maintenance.
One of the disadvantages of Guilford of Main fabrics is the price. You won’t be surprised that there is a price to pay for such a premium niche product. But if that cost is what it takes for your acoustic panels to blend in with your room and look really good, it might be worth every penny.
Cotton weft fabric
Another contender for the best fabric for acoustic panels is plain cotton canvas. Also called “duck cloth”, “cotton duck” or simply “duck cloth”. This fabric is woven a little thinner than canvas and no, it is not weft!
The name comes from a Dutch weaving term and simply means that this “duck canvas” is woven slightly thinner (with more threads) than regular canvas.
This is important for acoustic panels because the cotton duck fabric is breathable and there is enough to stretch it across the panels to be taught. 10oz or 12oz cotton fabric is ideal for acoustic panels, offering durability, breathability (so sound can pass through), and a high degree of customization.
It’s not uncommon to find a printed duck canvas that can be used to add to your décor, although there are plenty of aircraft options like the Mybecca Natural Cotton 10oz Duck Cloth (on Amazon). that will look beautiful in your space. It is also possible to take a cotton duck canvas and cut it according to your color scheme. Since it is cotton, it can be dyed any color
While the cotton duck fabric does stand out, it is at the price point. Unlike Guilford of Maine acoustic fabrics, cotton duck fabric is mostly a commodity and not a niche product. This means that the price is significantly lower, enough that you will probably still have less than three figures for the fabric, even if you collect as many as ten panels. It is a smart choice for a budget.
Speaker Grill Cloth
It seems like a no-brainer: the same fabric that covers the grilles of high-end speakers should work well, right? After all, if he lets the sounds of the speakers through him, then he should have no problem getting them into the acoustic panel. Speaker grill fabric is slightly lower on the list due to aesthetic constraints and price.
Make no mistake: the grill cloth will work with your acoustic panels, and even fine. But you will have a very limited choice of colors (mostly black), and the price is higher than duck fabric, although not quite up to the level of Guildford, Maine.
However, it is possible that your space is modern and/or dark enough for the speaker grill fabric to be the right solution for you. It has the right acoustic properties, and when it comes to actually make the panels, it has enough energy to stretch across the panel and stay stretched over time.
Last but not least, burlap. I think this description is not entirely correct … burlap would be the least expensive option. Burlap looks different – it either goes well with your décor, or it doesn’t. But if this happens, then this is a large expense for acoustic panels, which can be significantly reduced.
Burlap also tests all boxes for acoustic panel performance. It is sound permeable, light enough and does not sag over time. However, compared to other fabrics, it can be flammable to the touch, so if your decision counts for a fire safety audit, then this is it.
By now, you may have a better idea of what kind of fabric you want to use for your acoustic panels. If money doesn’t matter, Guilford of Maine fabrics can allow you to create panels that look very smart and fit into your space, perhaps even become a design element themselves.
However, if your budget is a little less, don’t worry: Cotton duck fabric gives you a variety of color options (dying though) without breaking the bank. And then there’s the speaker grill fabric and burlap for some of those more off-the-shelf aesthetic looks.
In truth, you can use any fabric you like, but be sure to do the breathing test above to make sure you pick a fabric that will do what you need to: let sound through so the material underneath can do it. work and catch him.