DIY Speaker Box Covers

Hide your ugly speakers with this DIY speaker box cover- click through to learn how to make your own.Hi. It’s Mandi from Making Nice in the Midwest. Admit it! You hate how ugly speakers usually look. It’s a first-world problem, for sure, but it’s not too difficult to remedy. Of course, if you want a stylish set of speakers, you could just go out and find a really expensive set that suits your taste. Or you could make your own speaker box cover, like I did!

We were gifted a nice receiver with speakers from my in-laws, but I balked at the thought of actually setting up those boorish black boxes in my home. Yes, movie nights would be all the better thanks to those speakers, but, but… the whole setup just looked so ugly to me. Thanks to these simple DIY speaker box covers, though, I get to enjoy surround sound without sacrificing style. Why didn’t I think of this sooner?

Check out the instructions below to make your own set of sleek and unoffensive speaker box covers.

Hide your ugly speakers with this DIY speaker box cover- click through to learn how to make your own.Supplies:

-1/2″ and 1/4″ baltic birch lumber (See formulas below to see what size to trim the pieces.)
-speakers
-wood glue or Liquid Nails
-large circular drill bit (size depends on speaker size), jig saw, or a circle cutter for a drill press (that’s what I used)
-compass to draw a circle
-measuring tape
-duct tape or wood clamps
-wood filler
-paint + primer in the color of your choice (I used white.)
-sandpaper in 180 and 320 grit
-screen material (I used a starchy loose weave white fabric that I found in the utility fabrics section at JoAnn.)
-hot glue gun with glue

Untitled-3Step One: Cut your plywood to size. I recommend using baltic birch plywood because its thinner layers make for a strong material less likely to chip during cutting and drilling, and it won’t warp over time. If you decide to stain your boxes instead of paint them, the grain looks nice too. Also, the most important thing about birch plywood in following these steps is that it is actually 1/2″ thick, unlike other plywoods, which might say 1/2″ but actually measure differently. If you follow the formula below and you are not using 1/2″ thick plywood, substitute the thickness of the plywood you are using in place of .5″ in the formulas below, and multiply the thickness by two to substitute for where 1″ appears in the formulas below.

First, measure the height, width, and depth of the speakers you wish to cover. Then add 1/4″ of wiggle room to each of these measurements for your final height (h), width (w), and depth (d), which will be plugged into the formulas below, working in inches not feet. Be sure to account for any portions of the speaker that stick out beyond the walls of your existing speaker box. You will be cutting out 5 pieces of wood for the front, back, two sides, and top of the speaker box. The bottom is left open so you can just slip the cover over the top of your existing speakers. Follow the formulas below to cut the exact sizes you need for your own speakers. As you cut out the wood, place masking tape on each piece and label it to make assembling the box easier. Note that the formulas below are for the dimensions you will cut your wood; you don’t need to multiply out the formula. The x stands for “by”. (i.e. 4″ by 5″)

back piece: w” x h”
side pieces: d” + .5″ x h”
top piece: w” + 1″ x d” + .5″
side pieces: d” +.5″ x h”
front piece: w” + 1″ x h” +.5″

diameter of the front circle: w” – .5″

You may cut the circle before cutting out each piece of wood, or afterwards. I personally think it’s easier to do afterwards. If you are using a jig saw to trim it out, locate the center of the front piece and draw the circle with a compass, then trim it out with the jig saw. If you are using a circular drill bit or circle cutter for a drill press, just mark the center of the front piece and work from there. Make sure to thoroughly sand around the circle opening after cutting. Then sand the fronts and backs of each piece of cut wood.

Step Two: Assemble the box. Start with the top side laying on your work surface and glue the sides and back to it and to each other. The back will be bordered by the top and side pieces. Wipe away any excess glue and tape or clamp the pieces in place. Then, with the back piece resting on your work surface, glue the face piece into place, again wiping away excess glue and taping or clamping into place.

Step Three: After the wood glue has set up enough to be handled (check recommendations for the glue you are using), apply wood filler around all of the connection points of the box and also onto any areas which have been chipped or marred. Use a craft spatula for this, and really glob it on well. I didn’t worry about filling the areas on the back of the speaker box since it won’t show when it’s on display, but that is up to you!

Untitled-4bStep Four: After the wood filler has set up (follow the recommendation for the type of filler you are using), sand down the entire box using 180 grit sandpaper. It took one piece of sandpaper per small box I worked with to really smooth everything down. I used a power sander and wore a respirator, which made the whole job pretty easy. After you’ve felt along the box with the back of your hand and can tell that it’s smooth, get out the 320 grit sandpaper and sand it all down again to make it extra smooth. Ever so slightly round off the sharp edges of the box while you’re at it.

Step Five: Drill holes into the back piece of the box so the wires have a place to go. I accidentally forgot about this step until I was halfway through step six, so lookout and don’t forget like I did! I didn’t carefully measure the hole placement because they won’t be seen from the front. I just eyeballed it and got them pretty well centered any way.

Step Six: Wipe away any dust or debris and give the boxes a few light coats of primer on the inside and outside of the box. This can take a while because of all of the sides that need covering, and the fact that you don’t want to put wet paint against your work surface. Patience, my friends! After the primer’s mostly or totally set up, begin painting the boxes with several light coats of your finish paint. Make sure to get a satin, gloss, or semi gloss paint, not a flat finish of paint. If you’re worried about the paint finish sticking while it’s drying, because maybe one side of the box hasn’t cured but it’s resting on your work surface, rest the box on wax paper and it will be less likely to stick.

Step Seven: Cut out your screen material to.25″ shorter (in height not width) than the size you cut the back piece of wood for the box. I had these leftover practice pieces of wood, so I used them as a template. The pieces you cut don’t have to be perfect, just at least .5″ larger than your hole opening. Leave the corners instead of cutting the material into a circle.

Step Eight: Heat up the hot glue gun and dot a bit of glue around the hole opening on the inside of the box. Don’t use too much glue or it will seep out into the front of the screen. Feel free to be generous with the glue deeper into the corners, though, since that area isn’t likely to leak onto the front of the screen. Quickly, but carefully lay your screen material into place, pressing especially in the corner areas where you placed extra glue.

Hide your ugly speakers with this DIY speaker box cover- click through to learn how to make your own.Now your speaker boxes look sleek, shiny, and are ready to be slipped over the top of those ugly black ones. Hooray! Put the wires through the back of the boxes you made, and connect them to your receiver. Enjoy the sounds that come forth from the box, unhindered by the ugliness of the old speakers. Oooh yeah.

Hide your ugly speakers with this DIY speaker box cover- click through to learn how to make your own.Hide your ugly speakers with this DIY speaker box cover- click through to learn how to make your own.Between cutting out the the pieces of wood, assembling the boxes, filling, sanding, and all of those layers of paint, this project isn’t exactly a quick one. But if you’re really looking to improve the little details in your home, I’d say making your own speaker box covers is worth the effort! Nice looking speakers make your favorite tunes even more enjoyable.

Mandi

Credits // Author and Photography: Mandi Johnson

  • This is so great! I would love to see how the subwoofer turned out! I need to do something similar to mine. Also, what kind of record player is that? I love the look of it and am in the market for one. I just found your blog and am excited to read more. Thank you!

  • They look so cute, million times better than the dull speakers
    Lauren
    livinginaboxx

  • These are adorable! Such a great idea. I’m not really very good with tools but the husband is so maybe we can make it a joint project! 🙂

  • It’s something that I haven’t noticed in my own home, but if I was a professional sound tech, I probably would want to build the speakers from scratch- but I think that’s a bit too complicated of a project for most of us who aren’t professional audio engineers. 🙂 I read this post about building speakers as an inspiration to making these boxes: http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/how-to/tips/4274625

  • After I finished the speakers, I finished the gallery wall behind my tv with some strategic pieces meant to help the TV blend in better with the arrangement. You can check out my post about it here: http://makingniceinthemidwest.com/2014/01/29/cut-a-bold-photo-mat-for-a-t-v-gallery-wall/ It might give you some ideas for dealing with that black tv!

  • This is seriously a great DIY and I might try it once I get some free time on the weekend. Saving it in my DIY projects folder ASAP! Thanks for sharing!

    rae at lovefromberlin

  • What! These are awesome! I love seeing when someone tackles a harder DIY and it turns out really nice. Thanks for sharing.

  • Love this!! My husband insists that his speakers sound best if they’re on the fireplace mantle, of all places, and I hate looking at them. This is the perfect solution to finding something both of us can live with. Finally! Thanks for sharing.

  • Brilliant ! I would definitely paint some pattern on these pieces of wood…

  • The speakers look really neat! However, maybe I missed it, but how does adding a new case to speakers affect the sound quality?! I think it could be worth a mention. Depending on the price/quality of the speakers the materials and case affect the sound a lot. Probably won’t make much of a difference to cheap PC speakers etc, but could really effect something of higher precision and quality.

  • These are so neat and look really great. Such a good idea. Now if only I could get up the nerve to actually try using power tools!

  • These are the cutest things, I’m going to remember these when we redo my daughters room 🙂

    http://wellingtonchic.co.nz

  • I don’t know why I haven’t thought of doing something like this? My one objection to my white living room is the big black TV and speakers. I’m tempted to do this but what shall I do about my 42″ flat screen? I can’t really box that in!

    Sam
    Http://mamfamakesblog.co.uk

  • I wish I had a circular drill like this, such a great idea! xx

    www.creativityandchocolate.com

  • This is so cool! I love it 😀 Thanks so much for sharing!

    xo
    Camilla
    http://kapteinmoe.blogspot.no

  • I haven’t noticed a difference, but I’m sure that a slight one exists, considering the physics of how sound travels. I wouldn’t do something like this in a professional recording studio, of course, but for my home, a minuscule difference in sound quality isn’t going to make a difference in my life. 🙂

  • I’m finishing up one for my big bass speaker tonight! It’s actually easier for a big speaker, in my opinion. The only difference is that I have to cut a 4″ hole in the front, and then a bigger hole in the side since the sub woofer has two speaker points. 🙂

  • This is PERFECT! We just got a surround sound system and I have been fighting the whole process because they were such eyesores. Now I;m going to make these so they blend into the walls. YAY!

  • what a cute idea! i would love gold 🙂

    Molly {Dreams in HD}
    http://www.dreamsinhd.blogspot.com

  • Awesome and unique idea – you hit another out the park with your very thorough, easy-to-follow directions. Your ideas are always so useful. Thanks so much.

  • Doesn’t look too tough! And they’re nice and inconspicuous!

    http://cuddlyasacactus.wordpress.com/

  • Looks really nice! Do they still sound the same? It seems like the sound might be dampened by going through another layer, and by possibly bouncing around in the box.

  • This is such a great idea, Mandi! I love this DIY. 🙂

    Zoe
    http://thatszoe.blogspot.com

  • What a great idea. Our speakers are kind of large, so I’m hoping we can use this tutorial and make larger speaker box covers.

  • Yes! This is perfect to dress up ugly speakers!

    http://juliettelaura.blogspot.com

  • I love this idea! How fun!!

    xoxo
    Taylor

    www.welcomehometaylor.com

  • What an awesome idea! You can even decoupage it:)

    http://elierey.blogspot.com/

  • Your DIY makes them look so much better! I’ve been having the same problem – I will have to try this out!
    x Katherine

  • what a freaking cute idea!! ah, i love this

    xxoo,
    nikki

    www.dreaminneon.blogspot.com

  • This is great. Why do all less expensive electronics have such terrible design?

  • Great idea! I like especially the white color, it looks so sophisticated 🙂

    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

    www.dressedwithsoul.blogspot.de

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