How to make a budget/DIY vocal booth (collapsible design)
It’s been a long time coming ever since I have my mini recording studio in my study room. It has been clear to me, even though with my mom’s help, we try to make the room it more pleasant looking by covering up the excessive window panels. Only one window panel remains open. Other than that, a heavy curtain was applied to this area of the room. Lots of crow sounds still can be heard from the back of the house or any part of the house.
So, I’ve been searching for a solution. Just a couple of weeks ago, I tried using a foldable mattress which was shaped into a booth, placed on a vacant desk. The top of it was covered with heavy curtain cloth. Additional towel cloth was also covering the back of me as I recorded but it was HOT!
Pics taken from my Instastory
This method did not last long as the mattress was heavy, not practical for easy storage. I didn’t really have the space for it to say the least.
Being a postgrad student, it’s my job to find solution through further research and research I did. There were abundance of choices and solutions. Using boxes, a makeshift tent etc. However, none of those were easily accessible methods for me even if they were cheap and supposedly easy to make. I need something functional and yet practical for storage. Then I came across this: https://www.instructables.com/id/Portable-Mini-Vocal-Booth/
That collapsible design was really impressive. Not only was it portable but it was easy stored. As I tried to gather my materials, I realize the cardboard I need to use make not be as wide or large enough for it to be effective. I went back to the drawing board again. Watching more Youtube videos like this one:
I really like Joe’s collapsible Ikea box idea but I didn’t wanna buy more stuff! By this time, I was ready to DIY a proper boxed shaped vocal booth and I went on to the Shopee app to purchase budget acoustic foam which I found here on this link: https://shopee.com.my/product/53478442/1819287880?smtt=0.0.9
Basically they looked like eggshell trays. As I wasn’t sure how much I’ll need and since it’s so cheap anyway, I got 12 pieces of acoustic foam for less than RM20.00 including shipping from China (that’s about 5USD). I got them in less than 2 weeks.
When I finally got everything, I piled my materials together which were cardboard boxes (which I got from my laptop purchase) and the acoustic foam. I started with the structure of a box and cut them to a desire height and width, making sure 3 panels were the same. Only one panel was smaller to cover the top of the box. I didn’t have enough for the bottom, plus I think that problem is easily solved by just using a scarf to cover the table top. As storage was a huge problem for me, I still wanted a collapsible design even with box structure. The flaps on the laptop boxes gave me an idea and I decided to reuse the flaps and made more to attach to one set of panels. Paper tapes are very good for making drafts of a structure and I constantly use it in this process of creating the skeleton of the structure. Eventually, the design came into shape and I was really happy with it as the flaps work very well.
I wanted my booth to still look cool and decided to use my age old hoardings from my teenage years: magazine pages of celebrity posters. I only did that on the outside of the box as the inside will be covered with acoustic foam anyway. Plus, the material of the paper is not soft enough and I think sound can bounce of from it. Once the decorations were done, the foam attachment wasn’t too difficult as I used high grade UHU glue to stick the foam to the board. Cutting the foam wasn’t too difficult with stationary scissors. The only challenge was to leave some space between the edges of the panels so that the foam has some space but sufficient tight coverings. The final result and process can be seen through this video. I hope this video gives a greater insight into my explanation though it’s not much but I believe pictures tell more than a thousand words.
The only materials I used were:
1. Card board
2. Acoustic foam
3. Stationary (Paper tape, strong glue, stapler. scissors, long ruler)
For this design, a steady table mic stand is best used and you’re good to go.
Summary of steps
1. Measure appropriate height and width of cardboard to be used on table.
2. Cut the pieces and use paper tape to temporarily put them together.
3. Use cardboard to make additional flaps. Place them at suitable location and tape them down too. Use stapler and glue for extra reinforcement.
4. Make holes wide and thick enough for the flaps.
5. Decorate outer side of the box with wrapping paper.
6. Stick acoustic foam to the inside of the box. Note the spacing between cardboard. A little tightness is fine.
P.S. I apologize if my steps are not very detailed in measurement but I hope this project gives you the idea.