Folding Paint Booth





Introduction: Folding Paint Booth

I have a bunch of projects that I need to paint. Usually I just put a drop cloth on the floor of my shop but I am usually left with a cloud of spray paint hanging in the air and the overspray gets on everything. I finally decided to make a paint booth to keep the shop clean. Unfortunately I do not have a lot of room so I designed a folding paint booth that can be easily stored when not in use.

This is a relatively cheap project. The box fan was free and the plastic sheet and filter were about $30. You could always substitute cardboard for the coroplast and make it even cheaper.

NOTE: The motors on most fans are not sealed and could ignite paint fumes. Vent properly, use a sealed motor, or use only with water-based paints.


  1. 4' x 8' sheet of coroplast (corrugated plastic)
  2. Box fan
  3. 20" x 20" x 1" HVAC filter
  4. Duct tape
  5. Industrial strength velcro
  6. wood or steel rod


  1. Razor
  2. Straight edge
  3. awl or nail

Step 1: Prep the Fan

We want the filter on the back of the fan where the air is sucked in. Remove the protective grille from the back of the fan to get the best air flow and remove any obstructions for the filter. My power cord was routed out the back of the fan so I rerouted it out the front.

Step 2: Measure and Cut

My pattern is based on a box fan with a 18.25" opening and designed to give about a 36 x 29" working area. You can adjust the dimensions to fit your fan/space.

Layout your cut and fold lines on the coroplast with a pencil. Use a razor to cut it out. To help the parts fold, I cut along the fold lines through the outer layer of the coroplast on the outside of the folds.

Step 3: Add Velcro and Assemble

Add the velcro strips to the tabs. Fold and assemble everything to make sure it all fits as planned.

Step 4: Attach to the Fan

Line the funnel up with the fan. Use an awl or nail to punch holes in the funnel where the screws for the cover go. Use the original screws from the cover to attach the funnel to the fan. The extra flap on the base goes under the fan. Use duct tape to seal the funnel to the fan.

Step 5: Add the Filter

Use the duct tape to secure the filter in place. Make sure to seal the edges completely so no air/paint can leak past the filter.

Step 6: Add Bar

I drilled a hole on either side and inserted a 3/8" steel rod. This gives me an easy place to hang parts as they are painted.

Step 7: Test

Fire up the fan and check your airflow. You can see this plastic bag is sucked securely to the filter. During my first test with paint I hung a clean piece of paper behind the fan. There was not a hint of paint spray on it when I was done. The filter caught all of the overspray.

Step 8: Use, Fold, Stiore

Your spray booth is ready to use. Keep in mind this filter only collects the particulates in the air. It does not eliminate fumes. Always paint in a well-ventilated area or wear a respirator if needed. When you are done, pull apart the velcro tabs, fold it up, and store it out of the way. Now my shop stays cleaner and I find myself painting more often now that I don't have to worry about the mess or wait for perfect weather outside.



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    Something not clear: did the box fan you used have a truly sealed motor or do you use only acrylic paints? I will be painting plastic models (nothing large). I would probably use both acrylic and enamel paints applied by an airbrush. If you found a box fan with a sealed motor, I'd like to know where to find my one.

    1 reply

    The fan is not sealed. I mostly paint two part epoxy or water based.

    Nice idea!

    I will do it and add a strip of LED on the outside for good lighting

    Thanks. Though I don't have a box fan, I may try this with different fan (putting a round peg in a square hole method, hahaha). I do have a box but paint still manages to get out of it, and its a mess when I clean up.

    Awesome idea! So im not sure how high the risk of explosion is, but i think that using some common sense (ventilation and small projects only) would effectively mitigate many of the risks. For alternate air movement, someone could build a shroud and use a shop vac if you dont have a box fan. Also I would consider attaching a piece of coroplast in front of the filter with enough of an air gap around it so the air flows but the filter is protected from direct paint spray. I can see the filters getting clogged with paint quickly and that would help.

    1 reply

    Protecting the filter is a pretty good idea! Thanks, I may have to try that.

    WOW, one of the best ideas i've seen, i do a lot of wood working and when it comes time to spray shellac on a project i have to do it outside where the wind is going against you. this is outstanding

    It's probably best to avoid fan motors with brushgear. RC enthusiasts these days use brushless motors with speed controls that could be selected to work off 12V. I dont think the heat in the motor could cause ignition but it wouldnt hurt to check the flash point of the solvents in your paint to ensure that is the case. Come to that, the small fans used in computers are brushless and work off 12V. If you obtained several of them from old PC's they might shift enough air. Another thought is the way a Davy lamp or minor's lamp works. (see Wikipedia). It uses a fine metal mesh that air can pass through but a flame can not.

    It is possible to find Coroplast at graphic design company's,(often for free , or cheaply,) I've also found box fans at second hand stores.

    I want to second what RMME said. I build guitars and use lacquer and other explosive paints. I could not use this box though I would like to. Be sure you have ventilation i.e. outside with this box. If the fume build up is dense enough one spark from that open frame motor and you will have a small explosion and a flash fire using volatile paints, propellants and finishes. Thus the reason for explosion proof motors and sealed wiring.

    A safe alternative is to use water based finishes with this spray box of which there are plenty these days and compressed air propellant. Be safe.

    1 reply

    Thank you. I have updated the Instructable to warn everyone.

    Thanks for this great idea. Right now I have a large cardboard box I use for spray painting small objects, but this is better!

    How often would you recommend changing filters?

    1 reply

    Depends on how much you use it. Test the airflow with a piece of paper or bag. Once the airflow is diminished, replace the filter.

    A million thanks for posting this. I have a vent fan in my basement, but this will ensure that the "cloud" of particles doesn't linger. Excellent!


    WARNING ! ! If the fan motor is not sealed it may cause a fire or explosion or both!

    I use a sealed 4" 12V Marine blower motor connecter to a voltage transformer available from many on-line sources at a reasonable price (Mine from E-Bay). Works great!!

    1 reply

    Good point. Thanks for the advice.

    I like this idea. I would still use it outside (we have almost perfect weather year round in Mississippi). I may try extending the sides in order to paint some larger objects - chairs, etc. I already have one of these box fans. I will definitely be trying this in the future. Thanks for posting.

    I now know what my next project will be. No more needing good weather to paint small parts outside to prevent overspray in the garage... Many thanks for the design idea!