How to Create a Paint Booth in Your Garage

Painting on the ground is messy and tough on ones back, and painting outdoors can lead to debris caught in the paints finish. This guide will walk you through creating your own paint booth for use in a garage (or on a patio that connects to sliding glass doors). Larger pre-fab paint booths can cost thousands of dollars, and smaller paint booth kits only allow painting smaller objects, but this booth will easily cost less than $100 US and will be able to handle both spray-paint cans and spray-paint guns.

If desired, adjust the paint booths size according to your needs. An 8-foot (2.43m) wide paint booth is suitable for a two-car garage or a large patio. For more narrow booths, adjust the length of the three 8-foot pipes and the top-middle two pipes.

Gather up your PVC and mark off the points where youll need to cut.

If youre using a saw to make the cut, account for an additional 1/16 or 1/32 of an inch (1.6 or .8 mm). This extra allotment is to accommodate for the blades thickness (called the kerf) and any un-level cuts made that need to be sanded down.

Most 10-foot (3.05 m) sections of PVC pipe purchased will actually be slightly longer than advertised. This gives contractors or anyone working with the PVC pipe a little leeway for making cuts. It is not uncommon to have 10-foot-2-inch (3.1m) pipes sold as 10-foot (3.05m) pipes.

For the example design, the sections you will need are (refer to the Tips section for a chart of pipe cuts):

Cut the pieces to length according to the marks you made.

. Use a small workbench (traditional definition) with two planks that act as a vise, or a table-mounted vise.

Cut the pipes with a PVC saw or clamp-style pipe cutter

. A bladed cutter will yield clean cuts but may be slower than cutting with a PVC saw. The saw will leave one smooth side and one rough side of the PVC pipe. Dont forget to cut the eight 2.5 connecting pipes to join pairs of connectors.

Lay out the pipes by size to aid in quickly assembling the booth.

At this point, ensure that the four bottom pipes (the booths legs) are reasonably flat and level. Since there are six 3-foot (91-cm) sections, choose four of these pipes with the most level ends. Set these aside for the bottom pipes.

As an alternative, use an extra four T connectors to serve as feet

. When the paint booth is complete, it will be heavy enough to stay in place.

During assembly, seeking anothers help is advisable. One person is capable of assembling the structure, but two people working together will result in a quicker, easier, and safer assembly. Be sure to plan out floor space to accommodate the booth. Secure each pipe by fully inserting it into the PVC joint. (It is extremely difficult to break 2.25 PVC pipe or joints with bare hands, so apply plenty of pressure to ensure a tight fit.)

Next, assemble the top-middle two pipes with the T connector and down-pipe

Last, connect all of the horizontal pipes to the two sides panels

. When working with the first fully assembled sides panel, lay it flat to insert the horizontal pipes that make up the booths ceiling and rear side. When all of the horizontal pipes are installed, gently lean it over on its top, leaving the PVC joints to support most of the structures weight.

The final assembly of this booth should be roomy enough to walk inside for shorter people. (Taller people may need to bend down a bit.) At this point, the booth is still movable, but only by alternating the movement between one or two legs at a time. Position the booth to allow for free walking access around all sides. Pull down a little on each corner to ensure that the structure is stable and secure.

Lay plastic over enclosure so that the 25-foot (7.62-m) length is covering the longest dimension, 8-foot (2.44-m) width plus 6-foot (1.83-m) side walls. There will be leftover plastic that you can cut and use later as a strip below the fan. Leave enough plastic around the front of the booth to fold over and leave dangling to catch excess overspray (6 in / 15.24 cm should be fine). Wrap the remaining plastic over the rear of the paint booth to cover the rear. Leave room to add your fan(s). This is where the quick grip clamps are useful in holding the plastic in place. The plastics weight should be enough to keep it from moving, but winds will easily push it off until the booth is complete.

Apply duct tape while cutting the plastic sheeting

, sealing off the sides of the enclosure. If your paint booth is installed in a windy area, make sure the plastic is tight against the PVC pipe. Use clamps to hold the plastic in place while you measure, cut, and place the duct tape.

Lay down the drop cloth inside the booth.

The 4-foot (1.22-m) wide cloth should be positioned so that the corners rest under each leg of the paintbooth. Make sure it is flat, and push out any creases or unevenness. Then lift each of the paintbooths legs, one at a time, to push the drop cloth edges under each leg. If the cloth doesnt fit right, or it doesnt line-up under the paintbooths legs, step back and visually inspect the legs. Each leg should be near-perpendicular to the ground (at a 90 degree angle).

Secure the plastic sheeting to corners, drop cloth, and the assemblys legs

. Start on one side, attaching the plastic to the drop cloth with the duct tape.

Using a small stepladder, cardboard boxes, or other temporary structure, place the box fan high enough to at least clear the middle PVC pipe of your paintbooth. Position the structure outside of the booth. If necessary because of limited space, place the stepladder so that it is approximately an inch from the rear, middle PVC pipe. This will place the legs of the ladder inside the booth, but they will easily be covered plastic. If you have the room, placing the ladder further away from the paintbooth will create more of a funnel effect, with better angles for deflecting paint dust.

Mount the furnace filter(s) with duct tape.

The suction of a box fan on high speed is enough to hold a furnace filter in place.

You can attach it either directly to the fan or taped to the plastic surrounding the fan.

Cut hangers to hang objects before painting. Locate a place to hang the painted objects if you plan to paint multiple items at one time. Also, keep a spray bottle full of water nearby to occasionally mist the inside of the booth. This will help prevent the paint dust from bouncing off the walls and drifting outside of the booth.

Cleaning up overspray and paint dust is not an easy task, but cleaning it up at regular intervals will ease the overall task. Clean off overspray on PVC pipe with the appropriate paint solvent for the paint youve used. Check the effects of the paint solvent on scrap PVC pipe (leftover sections) before using it on your paintbooth. Clean off overspray before disassembling your paintbooth for storage, as removing fresh paint is easier than removing cured paint. Discard the plastic and floor mat when storing your paintbooth. The plastic sheeting will shed flakes of paints when it flexes, and most painting mats are intended for one use only; they can hold only so much paint dust before they become ineffective.

When storing your paintbooth by disconnecting pipes, it may be helpful to mark individual pieces with their assembled locations. Disassemble as little as possible to fit in your storage space. If you have room, leave the sides assembled, but disconnect the horizontal pipes and middle down-pipe.

Can I create a garage paint booth big enough to paint a car in?

It really depends on the size of your car. If you have a small to medium-sized car, then you should be able to. Youll need to make an enclosure with at least 1 meter (3.3 ft) of walking space on each side of the car. Also, dont forget to properly ventilate your garage, as this will be too large of a task for a few simple box fans.

A paint booth is a small station, like an office or desk space, where a lot of painters, artists, etc. like to hang out and paint.

What size/circumference are the pipes?

The 2.25 PVC pipe in step 5 would be a 2 Inside Diameter pipe when youre buying it.

How can I learn the painting basics? Where can I study?

If my booth is 8-10 wide can I use 2 fans to suck the air out while 1 fan is bringing in fresh air?

Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered.

Working with PVC is a breeze if youre assembling a temporary structure. The pipes simply push into the connectors and hold with their own friction. This eases storage of the structure. If you need something more permanent, use a specialized glue for PVC pipes (referred to as PVC weld). This glue melts the surface of PVC to bond pipes together.

This structure can also be constructed as four flat frames of PVC which are then held together with

, nylon zip (cable) ties. With this method the PVC can be glued together, but the whole assembly can be easily disassembled for storage by cutting the zip ties. Be sure to remove the fan before disassembling the booth. Reassemble the structure when you need it with new cable ties.

Blowing air over plastic sheeting can cause a static charge to develop in the plastic, which can then transfer into the object being painted. In many painting applications, such as automotive painting, this will attract any dust to the object being painted, so even though there is very little dust in the booth, a lot of it could end up in your paint job. To help counteract this effect, avoid hanging objects too close to the plastic sheeting. If desired, running grounding straps or wire along the inside of the paintbooth may help.

When changing your paint booths width and including a middle support down pipe, calculate the two sides by halving the selected width, then subtracting 7/8 from each half to accommodate the width added by the middle T connector.

Make sure the booth is set in a well-lighted area. The thick plastic sheeting should allow enough light in to see, but will not be enough light to assist in creating quality paint jobs. If you do not have enough overhead lighting (fluorescent lighting is best), use position lighting to minimize the creation of shadows.

This paintbooth is really a poor mans version of a paintbooth. It is a tool, and if it serves its purpose, it is of value. You can spend time to make this paintbooth look neat and professional, but it may only be worthwhile if it is meant to be permanent.

Heres a quick list of possible pipe cuts for the 8 wide paint booth, using nine 10 sections of PVC pipe:

Pipe Pipe Cuts 1 8░░░░░░░░░░░░ 2 8(4)2.5░░░░░ 3 8(4)2.5░░░░░ 4 3,11 7/83,11 7/8░░░░░░░░░░░░ 5 433 6 433 7 26 3/82033 8 26 3/8202,7 3/42,7 3/4░ 9 5,11 3/4░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░░

= PVC pipe used (roughly equal to 2)

Note: 2 1/2 cuts are split into 2 groups of 4 (even though the 2 left over from one 8 cut section is enough). This is done because making a cut with only 2 of pipe to be held in a vise is cumbersome.

Design your own PVC mount to support the position and weight of box fans.

For this design, there are three middle PVC pipes that are 8 feet (2.4 m) long each. It can easily be changed to design a paint booth of any length. At 8 feet (2.4 m) wide, hanging heavy objects to paint inside requires a T connector and pipe running down for additional support. To do this, cut the top-middle pipe cut in half, minus a little, to add the T and down pipe. If you want to make a booth that is 6 feet (1.8 m) wide or less, or youre only painting light objects, you may not need the additional support at all.

Replace your filter regularly. The furnace filter will eventually fill with overspray and paint dust. Each time the filter is changed, either pull up the existing duct tape holding it in place or cut it out with a blade. If using a blade, be careful not to cut the plastic! It may be helpful to add the new filter with a different color duct tape each time so you know which tape to remove or cut, without touching the wrong tape.

Box fans are not rated explosion-proof so only water-based products can be used with a box fan because highly volatile paint solvents can spontaneously flash a potentially fatal wall of fire or erode the motor windings causing a short circuit and potential fire. Any spark from this short circuit could cause the highly flammable solvents and/or paint dust being drawn out of the booth by the fan to explode and burn the structure and occupants.

Ensure there is adequate ventilation wherever you build your paint booth and always paint with your box fan powered on.

Always wear a respirator and goggles when painting. If you can smell the paint through the respirator, you need to check that it fits well or change the filter cartridge.

Your exhaust fan will catch some overspray every time you paint because furnace filters will not catch every spec of paint dust. Be prepared to clean your fan blades after youre through using the booth. Otherwise, make this fan your dedicated paintbooth fan.

When painting for extended periods of time, take plenty of breaks.

Overspray and paint dust will spread over everything if not properly contained with a balanced air flow. There needs to be slightly more air pulled out versus air pushed into a paintbooth. Use an additional fan (or multiple fans) to bring fresh air to the open side of the paintbooth.

Paint dust will stain clothing if not removed quickly. Once paint dust absorbs enough moisture, it will turn into a permanent dye. Either wear old clothing that you wont mind getting stained or wear a painters suit that covers your arms, neck, and feet.

Take caution when there is open flame nearby, such as a pilot from a furnace, hot water heater, or stove, and do not smoke within 25 of perimeter.

Flammable vapors from such painting can be ignited by several sources in your garage. Local codes and/or fire regulations may prohibit such activity in your garage. Check first.

Paint laden air filters are highly flammable. Catalyzed paint (for example two component car paint) heats up as it cures and may cause your filters to self ignite and catch on fire. Once done painting remove the used filters and submerge them in water to reduce the risk of fire. Do not leave filters with wet paint in them unattended.

Call your Local Fire Department to ask if your garage booth is legal!

Read and understand all of the instructions for your equipment. Read and understand the technical data sheet (TDS) and material safety data sheet (MSDS) for the paint you are planning to use. Often these instructions include useful hints that allow you to paint successfully.

Nine 10 (3m) sections of 1.25 (30mm) PVC pipe

Thirteen 1.25 (30mm) PVC T connectors

Six 1.25 (30mm) PVC 90 degree elbows

One 10 (3m) x 25 (7.6m) package of clear Plastic sheeting, 4 mil or less (clear or translucent plastic to allow light through)

One 4 (1.2m) x 15 (4.6m) drop cloth (preferably with a non-tracking side to stop from tracking overspray around)

One tool to cut PVC pipe (hacksaw, PVC saw, or clamp-style pipe cutter that will cut 1.25 PVC)

One/+ packs of furnace filters. Depending on how much painting youll do in your new booth, you will most likely need to buy between 1 and 2 packs of 4 filters each. 20 (50cm) x 20 (50cm)is a universal size for most box fans, but select the size needed for the fan youll be using. You can use a better filter specifically made for paint booths, but it will cost exponentially more. A better filter will catch more overspray while letting more air through, but furnace filters are around $1 each (in packs of 4). Furnace filters are not perfect. If you use these, you will have to clean off some overspray from your box fan(s).

One/+ roll of duct tape. It will take at least one new roll of duct tape to seal off the plastic, fan, and filter.

One/+ cheap box fan to help draw overspray through furnace filters and out of the booth. Cheap Ones may sell for around $10. In an 8 (2.4m) wide booth, One will work for casual use, but two or more will catch and draw out most overspray. In a 4(1.2m) wide booth, One box fan should be plenty. Match your fan size to your filter. Regular box fans with a brush-motor will not ignite or explode with the concentrations of paint fumes in a garage with an open door. As an alternative, purchase a more expensive fan or blower that is specifically certified for painting if you plan to have limited ventilation or use extremely volatile paints.

A means of mounting your fan high enough to exhaust overspray from the top-rear of the booth. If your booth is 6(1.8m) tall, a 20 (50cm) box fan should be about 4 (1.2m) up off the ground. 4 (1.2m) Ladders work well if you have one or more free, but you may also find big cardboard boxes useful if your budget is a priority.

Metal hangers or similar wire to hang your objects to be painted

Optional: Quick grip clamps (ones that visually represent a bent X and open with a squeeze) to clamp corners of the plastic to the PVC pipe frame.

Workbench, vise, or other apparatus to hold PVC pipe while cutting

Access to a one-car garage or larger, or a patio with plenty of fair weather

Respirator rated to filter chemicals in the specific paint youre using

Goggles if using self-etching paint (any paint with acid)

Painters suit or old clothing you dont mind getting stained

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Portugus:Construir uma Cabine de Pintura na sua GaragemEspañol:crear una cabina de pintura en tu garaje: Italiano:Realizzare una Cabina per Dipingere nel tuo GarageFrançais:construire une cabine de peinture dans son garageDeutsch:Eine Lackierkabine in der Garage bauenالعربية:بناء كشك للطلاء في الجراج الخاص بك

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