I’ve always enjoyed throwing darts, and find having a dartboard lying around is always an easy way to entertain friends. However, I’ve also always been bothered by the noise it makes, so have been looking for ways to make a dartboard quieter.
Surprisingly, there are quite a few things you can do to make your dartboard quieter. These tips are particularly useful if you’re not lucky enough to have a separate entertaining room or “man cave” in which to keep your dartboard.
I spent plenty of time experimenting and researching with my own dartboard to find the best ways to reduce the noise it makes. Below are my top tips, but most of them involve some kind of DIY, so make sure you’ve got your tools handy!
How to make a dartboard quieter
There are 7 ways to make your dartboard quieter, and my simple tips are as follows:
- Relocate your dartboard
- Use sound deadening methods on the wall
- Add more furniture to the room to deaden the sound
- Mount the dartboard on a stand
- Use an acoustic panel for mounting the dartboard
- Make a soundproof dartboard
- Use longer darts
These are the basic tips for reducing the noise a dartboard makes, and below I discuss each in more detail. Read on to find out more.
1. Relocate your dartboard
My first tip for making your dartboard quieter is simply to move it to another room. I know not everyone will have this luxury, particularly those living in apartments, but even moving further away from the closest people will make a difference.
The noise we’re bothered by when it comes to dartboards is called impact noise. This is created when the dart hits the board, and can be caused both by the dart and by the board rattling against the wall it’s mounted on.
More about impact noise in my article here.
Essentially, the noise gets absorbed into whatever the dartboard is mounted on, which will usually just be the wall. This is the same issue in almost any soundproofing problem, but one of the advantages of a dartboard is that it’s small enough to simply move elsewhere.
My most recommended location would be somewhere like a garage, shed, or even the backyard. If possible, mount the dartboard on a wall that’s not connected to any living spaces. This will be easy in a garage or shed because at least one wall will not be connected to the house.
Obviously, if you live in an apartment this option won’t be as easy. However, you can definitely make a difference by being clever about the wall you use. For example, mounting the dartboard on a solid wall instead of a stud wall will make a small amount of difference.
Similarly, you’ll have a much easier time if you mount it on an outside facing wall instead of an interior one. These walls are generally much thicker, and so won’t be as affected by the dartboard rattling against it.
However, this option obviously doesn’t solve the problem, it just relocates it. While this will be enough for some people, I imagine those same people have probably already considered this option. If you live in an apartment, I’d consider an option that manages the problem instead.
2. Use sound deadening methods on the wall
Sound deadening is pretty self-explanatory: it simply means absorbing or dissipating sound waves so they can’t travel through an object. You essentially stop the sound wave dead in its tracks, and there are plenty of ways to do this.
Your main issue with a dartboard, as I’ve mentioned, is impact noise. Therefore, putting a layer of something between the board and the wall that’ll absorb sound waves is a pretty easy way to solve the problem.
Any kind of sound deadening product is made from a very dense material, and the denser the better. The normal products are things like mass loaded vinyl or butyl rubber, which are both incredibly dense synthetic materials.
You can actually buy dartboard backboards (link to Amazon) that do a pretty good job. While they’re mainly built to protect the wall from stray darts, they use a very dense material to catch the darts. This same dense material is excellent at absorbing sound waves.
If you don’t want to buy a backboard, or you happen to have some materials left over from another project, then it’s also not difficult to make your own. I’d recommend using something like a car sound deadening mat, as this is perfect for this kind of job.
Cut it at least the same size as your dartboard, but make it larger if you want some wall protection too. Car sound deadening mats have a self-adhesive backing, meaning you can stick it directly onto the wall if you want to.
However, because it’s pretty sticky, I’d probably advise against this. When I was experimenting, I simply mounted it on a bit of wood and then screwed this to the wall. Even though the wood is in direct contact with the wall, no sound waves reach it from the board because they’re absorbed by the mat.
If you want to be really sure your sound deadening backboard is going to work, then use 2 layers. Packs of car sound deadening mats usually have around 30 sheets, so you won’t be short of materials. You shouldn’t need any more than 2 layers, and 1 should be plenty for most situations.
3. Add more furniture to the room to deaden the sound
Realistically, this isn’t going to be the most effective option, but many people are limited by space and rooms available to them. If that’s you, and you’re not able to try one of the other methods, then definitely give this a go.
Adding more furniture to a room is a simple way to reduce echo, and while this isn’t the biggest problem when it comes to dartboards, it can make a surprising difference to the amount of noise it makes.
Say you’ve got your dartboard set up in a free room in your house, like a spare room or office. If there are fewer piece of furniture in it, then your dartboard will seem to make more noise. This is because the sound waves bounce off walls and echo around the room.
When it comes to adding more furniture to reduce echo, heavy and squishy is best. By this I mean things like sofas or chairs, but heavy pieces like wardrobes and desks also work.
Try to get as much furniture into the room as possible, but obviously make sure it’s still possible to play darts and that you won’t be in anyone’s way. The last thing you want is for someone to step across your darts path because you’ve stolen all the chairs in the house!
Although it might be obvious, it’s worth mentioning that this option won’t do anything for the impact noise a dartboard makes. This means it won’t make things easier for people on the other side of the wall, but impact noise isn’t the only noise problem that needs solving with a dartboard.
4. Mount the dartboard on a stand
This is arguably the best option for people living in apartments because it doesn’t even involve building yourself a soundproof wall mount for your dartboard. In fact, I’d say that buying a stand for your dartboard is as effective as any other method.
By removing the dartboard from the wall, you’re cutting out the issue of impact noise reverberating through the wall and bothering other people. This is essentially decoupling, which is when you isolate 2 parts of a wall to stop vibrations passing through.
Although you can buy dartboard stands online pretty easily, it’s really not difficult to make one. All you need is some bits of lumber, some nails, and a hammer. Follow these steps to build your own dartboard stand.
- Decide how high you need the stand to be. This is decided by your height, and the angle at which you throw. If you already have one mounted on a wall, then just make your stand this high.
- Cut a square piece of wood to use as the dartboard mount. This needs to be at least as big as the dartboard, but I’d recommend cutting a large square so you’ve got somewhere to catch stray darts.
- Build a simple H-frame by cutting 2 pieces of wood around 2ft long, and then another the same width as the dartboard mount.
- Nail these together in a H shape and then mount 2 vertical beams supported by A-frames. These need to be the right length to put your dartboard at throwing height.
- Assemble everything with nails, and add glue to the joins for security.
- Sand down the rough edges and add some paint. I made mine gray and red to match my living room!
The video below is another way to do it.
While the major advantage of this option is that it completely removes the dartboard from the wall, its major disadvantage is that it takes up quite a lot of room. For some people, this is the whole problem, and so building a frame might not be the best idea.
However, you could make it portable by simply mounting a backboard on a collapsible A-frame. There are plenty of guides for building one of these online, but it basically involves screwing 3 bits of wood to a hinge. I’d probably recommend building a dartboard frame over buying one, simply because they’re pretty easy to make.
5. Use an acoustic panel for mounting the dartboard
Acoustic foam is a useful tool in soundproofing, but it isn’t actually designed to soundproof. The purpose of acoustic foam is mainly acoustic treatment, so it reduces echo and reverberation, which results in clearer sound. A detailed explanation is given in my long article on soundproof and acoustic foam.
While this might not sound like something you’d want when trying to make your dartboard quieter, acoustic foam does a pretty good job at eliminating the impact noise the board makes.
This is because acoustic foam has a very open cellular texture, which traps sound waves and stops them from echoing. Similarly, this also means it can absorb impact sound waves to an extent, as the material is quite springy. This makes it ideal for something as simple as a dartboard.
There are plenty of different types of acoustic foam on the market, but I’d recommend getting the thickest stuff possible. I say this because the next step is to cut a section out so that you can mount the dartboard inside the acoustic foam.
For this reason, it still needs to be thick enough to leave some foam between the dartboard and the wall. Ideally, this should be as much as possible, but you also want to make sure the dartboard is properly mounted in the foam.
You can either mount the foam directly onto the wall, or mount it on some MDF and then fix this to the wall. I’d recommend the latter option because you’ll need to use some glue to stick the foam down, and this can be difficult to get off the walls if necessary.
Unlike the sound deadening mat option, you won’t need to use more than 1 piece of acoustic foam. This is why you should look for the thickest foam possible, as mounting one on top of the other can mess with the foam sound absorbing properties.
6. Make a soundproof dartboard
If you don’t happen to have any soundproof materials lying around, and you can’t really stretch your budget to buying some, there is a much cheaper alternative. All you need to do is build a backboard out of wood and mount it.
Just be aware that this option is never going to be as effective as using soundproofing materials, but it can be a quick and easy solution if your options are limited.
The key thing here is how you mount it to the wall, rather than the materials you use. There are a couple of options for this, but either way follow the steps below:
- Start by choosing your wall. As I mentioned earlier, outside facing walls are better, and solid walls are better than stud walls.
- Build yourself a backboard using MDF. This is one of the best materials because the woodchip texture is ideal for catching stray darts.
- Measure the wood to size. A standard dartboard is 18 inches across, and I’d recommend making a much bigger board. A 30-inch square is probably more than enough.
- Use some adhesive protection pads on the back of the board. These are the things that you put on the back of picture frames to stop them moving or rubbing.
- These adhesive dots (Amazon link) are ideal, and aren’t too big either. Stick one on each corner, and I’d put at least 2 on each.
- Finally, mount the MDF as usual on the wall, ensuring the dots leave enough cushioning.
- Alternatively, mount the MDF on 4 individual wall mounts that leave plenty of space between the board and the wall. This option might lead to some impact noise, but it’ll still reduce it.
This is probably the best option if you’re just looking for a quick and easy fix. In fact, you could even cut out the board and put the adhesive dots straight onto the dartboard. However, this can result in some impact noise, so include the backboard if possible.
7. Use longer darts
I saved this option for last because it’s probably the least effective, but does offer some reduction in noise levels. I learnt from a friend of mine, who is very into darts, that using longer darts actually results in less noise.
Why does this work?
Apparently, longer darts make less noise when they hit the dartboard simply because there’s more dart for the vibrations to travel along. The energy that creates the vibrations that become sound waves has further to travel when the dart is longer.
Some of this impact energy is lost while travelling along the darts, and this does make a slight difference to overall noise levels. However, this option obviously won’t solve the problem of your dartboard rattling against the wall because there is still an impact.
I’d recommend using this option alongside others that are slightly less effective, such as adding more furniture to the room. This is also a useful option if you’re limited on where you can actually set your dartboard up. Just remember though, using longer darts really won’t do loads to reduce noise levels.
Some final thoughts on quiet dartboards
It’s surprising how many options there are for making a dartboard quieter. If you’ve got the budget, I’d always recommend using a dedicated soundproofing material, such as a sound deadening mat. These products are specifically designed to reduce noise levels, and so will be your best bet.
Similarly, as I advise with all soundproofing projects, try and use as many different options as possible. You’re much more likely to be successful if you tackle all areas of noise pollution, rather than just one.
Thanks for reading! Also check out my recommended products for soundproofing.