Introduction: Coffee Cup Sound Proofing

Picture of Coffee Cup Sound Proofing

  Sound proofing is a foam material shaped with holes or waves in the exterior this absorbs or deflects sound waves.
   This will show you how to do the same with old coffee cups.
 Here's what you need, Coffee Cups A LOT of them about 16 per foot of wall.
But these are easily found where ever hot beverages are served. (or the garbage can next to that place).  Or ask the owner if you can set up a box for recycling them.
 Coffee cups are mostly made from  polystyrene and in my opinion is a horrible compound and should be eliminated all together.
  The only way to do this is to recycle it until the point that it is no longer possible to produce profit from it.  
  And a adhesive, you can use just about any kind, spray glue, hot glue, wallpaper adhesive  but i find that great stuff spray in foam insulation works the best for this project. You'll need about 8 -10 for a whole room or basement.

Step 1: Step One: Remove Wall or Add a Second One

Picture of Step One: Remove Wall or Add a Second One

 im just using a plywood board for example on how to lay the cups out.
  But works well in empty wall spaces, or as i did for a friend a layer of foam cups and carpet covered plywood did a amazing job, he can now use his basement to practice with his very heavy metal band with out disturbing his neighbors.
    Also filled ceiling in basement with cups the sound was reduced at least in half from the basement to the first floor. 
   P.S Your wall space may be thinner then the height of the cups , so you can just cut them down.

Step 2: Step Two: Gluing the Cups to the Wall

Picture of Step Two: Gluing the Cups to the Wall

 Now that you got your wall situation worked out time to glue the cups. Again i recommend Great stuff, a little around the edge or a small blob at the bottom are all you need.
   Now the way you glue them to the wall is important! But very easy you just glue them to the wall
one bottom first the next top first then bottom ect ect see picture.
now do this for the whole wall. It goes a lot faster if you lay a line of great stuff then stick the cups on.
  The key is to get them as close together as you can.

Step 3: Step Three: Replace Wall or Add to Interior Wall

Picture of Step Three: Replace Wall or Add to Interior Wall

Ok if you put the cups inside the wall you glued the cups to the interior of it. Close the wall back up.
  If your gluing the cups to a board, take the board and mount it to the wall you would like sound proofed cups against the wall. For extra sound proofing add a layer of carpet on the other side of the board.
 To attached it to the wall i just used some more wood and and wall anchors to secure it, as so not to crush the cups or fall from wall.
   There you go Sound proofing with recycled foam cups, Now get out there and build that recording studio in your basement you've always wanted.


k8e (author)2016-02-11

- Old fashioned egg 'plates' ? (hold 48-60 each) are made from some recycled crushed 'cardboard' / paper ? - put a couple cotton balls in each 'cup' and paste them on the wall (seems it would be cheaper too - and CAN use the dozen ones if you need to) - we used these many years ago when building walls in a recording studio - cheap is you eat eggs (or have a friendly restaurant save some for you). This worked well. - Don't forget - IF you are also dealing with windows - make sure the two panes are NOT parallel - we offset ours by less than 1/4 inch - adds a lot as there is no secondary transmission of sound between the two.

mozaart (author)2013-05-18

hi dear... tell me one thing that coffee cups should be covered by whole wall ? without any space?? and please u should explain well with diagram and take pic i am not getting your instructions bro

d1ndian (author)2012-03-01

I wrote an instructable about sound proofiung your room last year. Give it look, its easy and a little different method.

eblisster (author)2010-04-25

I don't know whether or not this would work for sound proofing or insulation;  I'm more concerned about how flammable it would be. Seriously, this sounds like a conflagration waiting to happen! 

spacker (author)eblisster2011-04-20

Ten points for the use of the word 'conflagration' in a legitimate sentence!

jvet (author)2011-03-18

For sound absorbion , middle tone ( not all ofcourse )

the best " cheap " solution is to use cardboard egg containers , !.
you need allot less of them, and behind them, stone whool

for bass you coud better use a flat surface , like wood or glass,
midd and bass, layers of cardboard, and carpet ,
Hang them onto wood free from the wall and floors so they can vibrate on there own.

but the easyest way is to use , heavy curtains ! ( all the way to the ground , )

think about the garage door ! there often flat and thin ,

so you need to combine the cheaper solutions ! ( als for professionals sound proofing you need diferent types of foam and forms! .)

areyouserial (author)2010-08-25

I built a music recording studio in a commercial location with neighbors so we had to ensure complete sound-proofing. We achieved it through the use of fiberglass insulated staggered-wall construction, two layers of carpet padding under the floating wood floors, wood floors that didn't touch the walls with the perimeter sealed with silicone and a drop ceiling with six inches of fiberglass insulation.

MatrixDweller (author)2010-05-06

One problem...styrofoam cups and great stuff make for some pretty toxic smoke in the case of a fire. Building codes state that styrofoam must be covered so inwall might be ok, but onwall is not. It's most likely against building codes to fill a wall with cups and expanding foam.

Filling  wall cavity with anything will help with sound proofing. Using cups and great stuff might not be economical though as the great stuff gets expensive. Figure a batt of insulation might be $4 per wall cavity. To soundproof you need to do two things, add mass (lots of it) and seal up the room air tight. The great stuff will helf you accomplish #2 but not #1.

As for this as an acoustical treatment, closed cell foam is not very effective as an absorber and great-stuff is not very absorbant either. You need rigid mineral wool or fiberglass boards. Your construct would be more of a reflector.

creep144 (author)2010-04-25

 The truth of it all is that it doesn't matter what you use inside the wall. It's not what you use, it's what you don't use. By that I mean that the dead air space is the only thing that stops the transfer of sound through the wall.

LoganMackey (author)2010-04-19

For all those who said i didn't do this or it does  not work, please send me a foam coffee cup and i will make a video insulating my garage.
i will probably need about 40000

yanksguy (author)LoganMackey2010-04-19

I'll call your bluff.  Name and address please.  Also, to be fair, you need to measure decibel levels pre-foam cup and then post-foam cup.  Have Ipecec play a couple of songs (set to 11 on the amp) before and then after.  Purchase a sound level meter ( and check.

It's not that I don't think that you did it, but that the sound insulating efficiency of foam cups is not enough to do what you say it did.  Maybe the neighbors were freaked about the neighbor who had 40,000 hot chocolate encrusted foam cups that were piling up around the garage, and figured that earplugs might be the wiser option than upsetting the crazy next door.  Not that you are crazy.  No, I'm not saying that.  There are other variables involved here, that's all I'm saying.

LoganMackey (author)yanksguy2010-04-23


LoganMackey (author)yanksguy2010-04-23

done send me your email i will give you my address i am currently saving them to do my garage, ANY ONE who wants to collect foam cups for me AWESOME! i need alot! jsut send me a message here and i will give you my address

LoganMackey (author)yanksguy2010-04-23


Age: 50
Gender: GUY
Member Since: Jul 20, 2009
yanksguy has not posted any instructables yet...

seems like the people who are the most critical are people who haven't done anything to contribute.
Your a pro user why?
LoganMackey (author)2010-04-23


makerboy112 (author)2010-04-22

Your suppossed to use drink carriers for soundproofing.

StrangeRover (author)2010-04-21

... but clever and eye-catching it is!

StrangeRover (author)2010-04-21

Sorry to say, anyone who know a few things about sound knows the difference between acoustic treatment (egg crate foam; this project; pyramid foam; etc) and soundproofing, which is meant to stop sound from entering or exiting a room or building.   This one definitely should be called acoustic treatment rather than soundproofing.

And how anyone can stand to drink from those Styrofoam cups is beyond me...

Duckism (author)2010-04-15

regardless if it works or not... if you read the instruction on the contest it says using "paper" coffee cup, but you are using foam here....

Kryptonite (author)Duckism2010-04-18

You could probably do both.

Duckism (author)Kryptonite2010-04-18

don't know... but the words "paper coffee cup" surely showed up quite a few times on the contest

Kryptonite (author)Duckism2010-04-20

Fair enough. Paper coffee cups would still work for this, and I think that's the main thing they're looking for, if they're looking for any difference at all.

yanksguy (author)2010-04-19

Better wall insulation reusing materials:1)  pull up local Craigslist on your computer; 2) search "insulation"; 3) go pick up free or cheap insulation; 4) put it in your walls.  What to do with all of those thousands of foam cups?  Recycle:$FILE/M-343.pdf

It was a nice thought though.  Probably the carpet did more than the cups did.  Now if you could fill that space with packing peanuts then it might work.

MrSalvador (author)2010-04-18

if he didnt want t odo it himself( obviously he didnt do a wall ) then why would you expect other people to do it?

LoganMackey (author)2010-04-13

People have been using egg cartons for this too, google egg carton sound proofing, Same idea.

craig3 (author)LoganMackey2010-04-14

If your basing this off of eg cartons then it wont do anything, egg cartons are good for holding eggs and making caterpillars, they do almost nothing for sound proofing.
Have yo tested this out yet?

LoganMackey (author)craig32010-04-14

 There are MILLIONS of things you can do with a egg cartons! 

craig3 (author)LoganMackey2010-04-14

what ever, main point is its sound blocking quality, or lack of

LoganMackey (author)2010-04-13

Ugh its got to be a paper cup? o well i guess it doesn't work with paper cup.
Great stuff sicks to anything, Plus it fills in the gaps between the cups.
 YES it works very well, i did this to a friends basement, im trying to find some pictures i did this a few years ago. They had a heavy metal band called Ipecac (shout out).
  And kept getting noise complains when they practiced and had no money. But did a show at some ones house and they used foam cups afterwords they had garbage bags of them. so we filled the ceiling, Then at a local high school foot ball game they sold hot coco and cider so we got like 1000's.
   use like 8 cans of great stuff, 4 people took like two days. Later they added a layer of carpeting to the plywood, that there neighbor was tossing out.
  They use it to record.

but i guess this disqualifies my coffee cup sound proofing form the coffee cup contest, polystyrene is such a worse hazard then the wax paper cups.

JakeTobak (author)2010-04-13

Did you actually do this? I can't imagine Great Stuff working that well as glue.

lemonie (author)2010-04-13

The cups need to be paper and you need to actually do it for the competition.


theRIAA (author)2010-04-13

I don't think this would work.. at all.

About This Instructable




Bio: I am currently taking over my grandparents farm, and working towards getting off the grid, and a sustainable life.
More by LoganMackey:Sweet Potato Hash: Paleo BreakfastRecycling Bin sort and recycle your garbageA Greener Life
Add instructable to: