DIY Cardboard Spray Booth

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Introduction: DIY Cardboard Spray Booth

I am always painting things in the garage and up until now, I have always dealt with overspray as well as dust and bugs getting in my paint.

I also have an abundance of boxes these days, like most people, from my online shopping habit. I decided to merge the two and create my own spray booth out of cardboard and other things I had on hand for almost no cost.

Supplies

Cardboard Box
Tape
Fan
Light
Knife

Step 1: Select Your Box, Tape the Sides

Find a suitable size box that will accommodate your fan, light and whatever you intend to paint. In my case, I plan on using this to spray guitar bodies and other things of that size.

I taped the sides of the flaps open to increase the depth and then folded the top flap back and taped it. We will be using this top flap for added stability to hold up the light in a future step.

Step 2: Cut the Hole for Your Fan and Filter

I am using a shop box fan I have on the outside to draw the air through the hole and then we will be adding a filter on the inside to catch the overspray as it is pulled out of the hole. I will tape the edges of the fan and the filter as needed in the future as I use it.

NOTE: Standard box fans have open motors and should not be used with solvent-based paints due to risk of ignition. I live in California where water-based paints are required and there is not that risk. Another option is to use a sealed motor fan to remove the possibility of ignition.

Step 3: Select and Measure the Light

I also had an extra shop light lying around that would fit perfectly. I placed it on top of the box to measure the holes and then drilled a hole the same size as the nuts and bolts I had available.

Step 4: Attach the Light to the Box

I had a box of washers, nuts, and bolts that made it a very easy fastener to use but you could use any other number of methods to secure the light to the box.

I also ran the cord for the light out and over the top of the box which works for my use. I will also probably find some clear plastic to cover the light and protect it from overspray.

Step 5: Add a Cover (optional)

One of the things I wanted to do with this booth was to keep other particles out of my paint as it dried. I used another large box to create a cover that could be easily added and removed while my paint cured.

Additionally, I am impatient and I know that without some way to look at my painted project while it dried I would be very tempted to pull the cover on and off to check on it. This would only introduce more particles into the box.

So I cut a hole in the box top and added a clear tape window to allow for easy inspection. The tape is on both sides to prevent anything from sticking to it.

Step 6: Cardboard Stands (optional)

With all the leftover bits of cardboard, I made a bunch of stands so I could prop my projects above the box floor where there was likely to be painted. It also protects against the project sticking to the fresh paint on the box.

Step 7: Make Cardboard Truss (optional)

I like to suspend guitar bodies and be able to spin them around to paint all sides at one time. With some of the other leftover cardboard bits, I made a triangular truss structure to hang parts from.

I scored the cardboard into tri sections and then folded them over. I secured them with tape to create the legs and truss structure and then taped them together. I taped the structure to the side of the box and then taped the other side to the roof with a cardboard bracket.

Now I can hang the parts to be painted and have free access to them in place of spraying one side waiting for that to dry and then flipping the part to paint the other side.

Step 8: Now It's Time to Start Painting

I now have a fully functional spray booth for almost all of my projects. Some of the best things about it are:

  • It took about 2 hours to make
  • It is disposable. When it gets to dirty I can just build another one.
  • It cost next to nothing to make.
  • It is very sturdy and light which means I can store it out of the way when not in use.

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    17 Comments

    0
    Y-Geo
    Y-Geo

    1 year ago on Step 8

    Hi,
    nice one, done this similar idea over the past years . one thing i did was cover the LED light panel with cling film and had it on the cover on the outside of a top cut out slightly smaller than the LED panel. the filter was the hardest thing for me.

    0
    Jimbull
    Jimbull

    Reply 1 year ago

    Cling film is a great idea! Thanks.

    0
    Y-Geo
    Y-Geo

    Reply 1 year ago

    You are welcome ! keep up the good work and be safe

    0
    Irishintx
    Irishintx

    1 year ago

    Nice job, i am looking at spray painting (leather stain) on my leather projects. Was trying to come up with ideas.
    Though i do not live in California and I use oil based stain, so off to internet to locate appropriate fan.
    Keep up the good work

    0
    Jimbull
    Jimbull

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thanks so much. Read the comments by TrotFoxG below. He is an Electrical Engineer and says "Your box-fan should be similarly 'safe' due to using asynchronous motor. It just isn't rated that way and therefore is MUCH less expensive" among other things about the safety of the fan." Perhaps that helps.

    0
    TrotFoxG
    TrotFoxG

    1 year ago on Step 8

    Remarkably similar to how I did mine, except I used a couple spare computer fans and didn't think of putting a cover on it. I've used mine so much that the cardboard started sagging from solvent and time.

    (PS: My tubeaxial fans aren't explosion rated but they are brushless which means no sparking. Your box-fan should be similarly 'safe' due to using a synchronous motor. It just isn't rated that way and therefore is MUCH less expensive)

    0
    Jimbull
    Jimbull

    Reply 1 year ago

    Good to know. Thanks. I do not have a lot of knowledge about electric motors so not too sure about the differences between brush and asynchronous motors, but I will be doing web searhes today on it.

    0
    TrotFoxG
    TrotFoxG

    Reply 1 year ago

    With flammable gasses the biggest concern is avoiding sparks. Most small DC or high-torque motors (like in old/cheap power tools, juicers or coffee grinders) have brushes that switch the power to the rotor. Those throw a ton of fire-starting sparks. Modern 'muffin' computer fans (properly known as tubeaxial fans) use brushless motors which have solid-state circuits that do the switching on the stator. Brushless motors don't produce sparks as part of their normal operation.

    After that you get into concerns about static buildup and certification testing which is where the explosion-proof motors really start getting expensive. For normal hobby use purposes though, where the gas loads are low and periodic, this EE doesn't think there's much of a concern. After all, if we get a puff of flame it's easy to stop spraying and put it out, as compared to an industrial setting where the flame could easily be continuous due to whatever nasty process a company might have going on.

    0
    RonGarza
    RonGarza

    1 year ago

    Great idea, Jimbull. It could also come in handy when soldering, also when melting plastic (I strip wires with an induction-heated scissor).

    0
    Jimbull
    Jimbull

    Reply 1 year ago

    Yes. Lot's of uses. Thanks!

    0
    Kardolf
    Kardolf

    1 year ago

    Is there a reason you left the cardboard flap over your viewing port? I would have thought it easier to just cut out the area completely, so I'm wondering if I missed something?

    0
    Jimbull
    Jimbull

    Reply 1 year ago

    No not really. You are correct it would probably be easier to just cut it off. I think I enjoyed the idea of there being a door made out of cardboard :)

    0
    maxman
    maxman

    1 year ago

    Very good idea. I work with lead. This could come in handy.

    0
    Figgycat
    Figgycat

    1 year ago

    Great idea, and one I can use for pottery glaze. Thanks!

    0
    Jimbull
    Jimbull

    Reply 1 year ago

    Thank you!

    0
    kymyst
    kymyst

    1 year ago

    Does your fan have a flameproof motor ? If not, you are at risk of starting a fire when using flammable solvent based paints.

    0
    Jimbull
    Jimbull

    Reply 1 year ago

    Great point! No it doesn't but I live in California and only plan on using water-based paints. That being said for those planning on using solvent-based paints they do make sealed motor fans or you could set up a venturi type of suction system. Maybe I will do an instructable on that in the future. Either way I will update this one to mention the fumes point you bring up. Thanks.