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.


Cardboard Box

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.

Cardboard Speed Challenge

Runner Up in the
Cardboard Speed Challenge