Do you enjoy painting furniture or cabinets like I do, but worry about overspray and paint dust? Then you need a spray booth in your life, and today I’m here to show you how you can build one yourself.
I’ve been working to get settled in my new shop, and love all of the space that I have to work with, but I’ve been struggling to figure out the best way to set things up for me to use my paint sprayer. It’s tempting to line up cabinet doors and spray, with all of the space I have, but the issue of paint dust and overspray is one that can’t be ignored. In the past, I’ve set up a barrier for overspray with my amazing Zipwall (which I love, and still use when I’m spraying kitchens – it’s wonderful for keeping the dust and overspray from going everywhere). Plus, it’s super easy to set up, which is a great time-saver. However, in my new space, the ceilings in my shop are too high for me to use the Zipwall, so I’m having to come up with another way to set up a spray booth and contain the paint dust and overspray. So today, I’m going to share my learnings with you on how to build a spray booth.
Spray Booth Supplies
Let’s get things rolling with a quick supply list. Here’s what you’ll need:
Let’s first take a look at my shop space so you have an idea of the logistics of all of this. Here is the view as I walk in on the side with the garage door.
And this is from the opposite end of the shop. The good news is that I have a great fresh air source with the door. Again, you’ll notice the ceilings and how they are not amenable to my Zipwall. Too high, and lots of stuff in the way up there as well. Time for Plan B.
I needed something that could contain the overspray, which also meant that I needed a “roof” of some sort to hold everything in. This is where an outdoor canopy comes into the picture. I suggest buying one with straight legs vs. angled ones, as it’s easier to add the plastic sheeting to a straight structure vs. an angled one (I’m speaking from personal experience here). So, something along these lines will work – a 10×10 canopy.
From here, I used plastic sheeting to add to the sides. Make sure you use the sheeting that has some weight to it, as you don’t want to risk it tearing or blowing around easily. The higher the ML count, the thicker the sheeting, so I would recommend around 4-6 ML – it’s a solid thickness that will make a durable barrier. You’ll need enough for three sides of the canopy.
You will also want to be sure that you cover the floor with rosin paper or something along those lines, and tape it down with masking tape.
From here, I needed to think about ventilation and air flow. I have the garage door to help let in fresh air, but I also added fans to help with the circulation of the air flow. Simple box fans will do the trick.
You’ll also need some air filters – I ended up using two smaller sized air filters – 16x20x1.
Here is how I set things up in my space. I highly recommend having someone help you set up your tent. It’s definitely a two person job (as stated by someone who assembled it by herself).
From here, I added the plastic to the sides of the tent – there are little velcro attachments at the top of the tent, so I put those to good use in keeping the tarp in place.
Then I taped the remaining exposed areas to get a tight fit. I also carved out space along the back of my spray booth for my filters. I know it’s not pretty, but it works. Notice that there is slack along the bottom with the plastic, so the paint dust and overspray can’t escape.
Here is a look at the back side of the spray booth. The box fan on the outside helps to draw out the air flow, and the filters keep the fan from getting gunked up with paint dust.
I added another box fan to the outside of the spray booth to help bring the fresh air in (via the open garage door).
Like I said, my goal was to minimize the paint dust and overspray. I put my drying racks behind the spray booth, out of the way of the air flow.
I checked the cabinets for paint dust with the new set up, and they passed the test. No dust! Hooray!
The only thing I think I need to add is some extra lighting. Maybe a clip light or one of those work lights, so I can see a bit better. But other than that, I’m really pleased with this setup!
If only I had spotted this awesome tent – I could have had a huge spray area (and then room for a party afterwards). 😉
Are you painting anything right now?
Barbara WhitakerMay 3, 2017 at 1:40 pm
Jenny: My husband owned an auto body shop for 35 years. In the off time, he would paint cabinets, furniture, etc for me. They had a factory spray booth that served many purposes: You increase quality of painting; your ventilation equipment is build to handle a lot of over spray; most importantly your equipment (mask, etc) are made to keep from causing a lung problem for you or employees.
If you do a lot of spray painting you should consider this option…I worked in Insurance Industry for 44 years, and paint/dust can be highly flammable. Just use caution and check with your insurance Agent, premium credits may be available with correct operating equipment.
JennyMay 4, 2017 at 8:54 pm
I wish I had a factory spray booth! I would LOOOOVE one! They are definitely pricey, and out of my range for the time being. Lucky for me I don’t spray a whole lot in the way of solvent-based products. There are some great waterborne products on the market nowadays, thank goodness. And I always wear a mask. 🙂 Someday!
MaryMay 5, 2017 at 2:55 pm
Do you run the plastic on only 3 sides & keep the front side completely open?
And do you run the fan in front while you’re spraying?
JennyMay 7, 2017 at 9:25 pm
Yes – the fan on the outside of the spray tent (where the filter is), helps to keep the air flowing.
DianeMay 13, 2017 at 7:45 am
Hello where did you get your expandable/stackable drying racks
JennyMay 15, 2017 at 7:42 am
They’re Erecta Racks – great invention!! https://erecta-rack.com
JasonJune 27, 2018 at 10:40 am
Is your shop in a multi-tenant space? I have questions about paint fumes – we are looking to expand out of our garage into a shop like yours, but the realtor has questions about fumes. We use this same booth in our garage and it works great, however I am concerned about using it in a commercial space – safety/health regulations, etc etc
JennyJuly 7, 2018 at 11:45 am
My shop is in a multi-tenant space, but I don’t have any issues with fumes. It’s a commercial space, so I’m surrounded by a lot of industrial types of businesses. And I have a huge garage door that opens up as well. It never gets too smelly.