How to Set Up a Spray Paint Booth

Updated March 23, 2017

Spray paint is a convenient and cheap method for covering large surfaces with a new coat of paint. The downside is that spray paint creates dangerous and noxious fumes that can make it difficult to find a proper location to apply the paint safely and effectively. Spray paint is also somewhat messy and unpredictable. Spray cans use pressurised gas to force paint through a thin nozzle, but these nozzles can become clogged, causing paint to pour out in weird directions with lots of force. Making a spray paint booth will allow you to use spray paint without worrying about health concerns or messes.

Measure the size of the object you wish to paint. You'll want to have a good idea of the necessary space when constructing your paint booth. Most states have very strict compliance rules about permanent spray booth enclosures, so it is wise to consider building a temporary spray booth to avoid possible legal repercussions. Keep this in mind when planning for your spray booth, as it will help you decide what kind of materials and tools you will need to make an adequate spray booth.

Decide on a location to set up the booth. Try to choose a place that has good ventilation and lots of open space. You'll need to have access to electricity for your fans. It is best to put the booth as far from your home or garage as possible to avoid having paint and fumes negatively impact the environment.

Locate a box that can accommodate the object you wish to paint. Cardboard boxes will work fine for temporary projects and are often desirable because they are very cheap and come in a wide range of sizes. Wooden boxes are another good option, as they can be easily reused and are less porous than cardboard. For very large projects, you may wish to use an old camping tent instead of a box. Tents have the added benefit of being malleable so that they can fit around oddly-shaped objects.

Use your utility knife or saw to cut an opening in one side of your container that is slightly smaller than your fan. If you are using a tent, you will not need to cut an opening anywhere provided there is a door or mesh window that can be unzipped to provide an opening to the outside.

Place your fan directly outside of the hole. Use duct tape to create a seal around the fan. Remember that you want the fan to blow air out of the container, so make sure it is facing the right direction. Be sure to position the fan so that it faces the outside air, or a very well-ventilated location.

Make a hole opposite the fan if your container does not already feature a second opening. You'll want the hole to be about the same size for the sake of air pressure. This opening will be used to cycle in fresh air from outside.

Place a bed sheet over the second opening. Use duct tape to secure the sheet to the outside of your container.

Power on the fan, and mist the bed sheet with water using your spray bottle. This will create a constant flow of air. Apply the spray paint through a small opening in the bed sheet. When the bed sheet is wet, it acts like a filter keeping dust and debris from entering the spray booth. This is important because the increased air movement will make spray paint dry faster than usual. If dust and debris begin whipping around inside of the booth, they can become stuck to the surface of the paint and create problems for applying a clean coat.

Things You'll Need

  • Box fan
  • Bed sheet
  • Duct tape
  • Tape measure
  • Utility knife or saw
  • Spray bottle
  • Cardboard or wooden box (optional)
  • Old camping tent (optional)
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About the Author

Jacob Stover is a writer and editor from Ann Arbor. He has been writing professionally since 2009. His work has been published in the "Wayne State University Literary Review." He holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and film studies from Wayne State University.