Garage Paint Booth




Introduction: Garage Paint Booth

Using simple materials of tarp and pvc piping it's easy to create a garage paint booth. Keeping your garage from overspray all of everything is important.

This isn't a high end booth by any means. It's just a way to keep paint from going everywhere.

I will leave it to the reader to take the correct precautions for your health. A small booth like this will quickly fill up with paint particles that do nasty things to your eyes, throat, lungs and nose!

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Step 1: Gather the Materials

My garage is a double garage with an overhead garage door opener.
The distance between the outside track and the central power unit is somewhere around 10 ft. I didn't measure it. Make sure to measure the available room you have. It's possible to expand or contract the setup to fit whatever you have available in space.

(1) 18' 1/2 PVC pipe (mine was scrap)
6ft of 12 (or 14) gauge electrical wire (substitution will work, but I recommend this because it doesn't slip)
4 or more 3/4 PVC couplings
Clothes pins
Drill w/ bit sized bigger than the electrical wire.
(1) 10' x 25' tarp. 4mil is what I had on hand.
Additional tarp is required, but I had a scrap cut off from another project. It was roughly 16' x 10'

Step 2: Prepare the Materials

After measuring the distance between the two supports (in my case the garage door tracks) cut the pvc to the proper dimension.

Mine happened to be 7ft lengths left over from another project. Don't cut them so that they are right against the two supports. You want some 'play' between the mounts. Approx. 1 foot on either side would work.

Set the pipes aside and prepare the 3/4 pipe couplers. These are used as clamps to hold the doors to the paint booth. The doors being a tarp. The couplers have a sliver cut out of them which lets you slip it over the tarp and the 1/2 pvc. This catches the pvc between the 1/4 gap and holds it without tearing it.

I used a band saw to cut mine. It was an eyeball of holding hte 1/2 pipe to the edge and running a sharpie down each side. You don't want to cut the coupler in half, but you can't make it so tight that it tears the tarp installing it.

Step 3: Drill Through Hole Through PVC Ends

Depending upon your wire choice, pick the drill bit which will allow the wire to slip through.

I used 12 gauge house wire. It was scrap (see a pattern here??). I had a 6ft length.

In my case the outside door track was over a work surface. To make the 'wall' line up the outside edge I made that sides length longer to move the pipes out from the edge. (Remember when I said not to cut them against the supports?)

Thread the wire through the pipes and make a short loop from a short side of the wire. This loop will be what you wrap the wire through.

Step 4: Hang the Pipes.

First thing to do is pull the emergency connection on the overhead door.
Keep someone from absent mindlessly opening the door and crushing your paint booth!

It's pretty simple from this point on. Just wrap an end of the wire around the support. Make a short bend through the loop you made.

Repeat for both pipes on both ends.

The next step is easier if the two pipes are side by side. Check for obstructions to moving the pipes 'out' to the final position.

Step 5: Hang the Tarp

My tarp was 10' x 25'.

I unwrapped the tarp in the garage so that the full 10' was exposed with the 25' wrapped back on itself. I slid the wrapped edge up to the 'booth' setup and pulled the folded half over the two pipes.
It's important you don't use the pipes as a fulcrum to pull the tarp over. Guide the tarp over the pipes by lifting on one side and pulling on the other.

This part sort of sucks, fighting with tarps is something I hate to do.

You want to pull enough so that you can create a rectangle with the booth.

Assuming that you have the tarp loading from the left side of the booth, you should have a left wall, roof, right wall, and then a floor. The floor should be the right wall folded back. In addition the left wall should have the remainder of the tarp spread out into the garage.

Step 6: Add Some Walls

I had a thicker mil plastic i could use for the walls. They were cut fairly ragged, but it doesn't matter.

Just make sure they are wider than your openings and taller as well.

Grab two of your 3/4 couplers.

On the farthest opening hold a corner of the tarp up to the pipe wrapping it around the pipe. Slip the coupler over the tarp. Repeat on the other side.

Use clothespins (5 or so) to gather up the two tarps and hold them together.

Repeat the process on the closest side (where you will enter/exit). I clothespinned one edge and then at the top of the 'door' clothespinned it a foot or so down the long side of the existing tarp. This wrapped the tarps around each other, but i could still slide between them.

Step 7: Add a Hangar - Final Steps

I used a piece of PCV pipe just laid across the two pipes to serve as a hangar for this paint project.

The size was 7' x 4' paint booth. It's small, but I had smaller pieces to paint.

Some thoughts about this.

I found the smell of the paint was still everywhere in the garage. I am sure particles find there way around the garage. However, it was much better than just spraying without it.

In that confined of a space, even half a can of paint can become overwhelming. Proper safety is paramount!! Full respirator, clothing, etc.

I imagine humidity could become an issue in there. I was painting in the evening and it didn't seem to be an issue.

The tail left on the floor was a very helpful thing. I would come out of the booth, take off my protective gear and leave it. I was able to immediately escape inside without spreading paint throughout the garage or tracking it inside.

Wrapping up the plastic wasn't difficult, but I think unwrapping it without giving the paint time to dry will cause me issues.

Anyways, this worked out great for me. Took me 20 minutes to setup, 20 minutes to take down. Nothing compared to the time it took me to sweep up and clean the garage when I sprayed without it!

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    10 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    You should get yourself some kind or a makeshift exhaust system. A couple lengths of dryer hose with a couple of computer fans would do. they would not cause too much air movement but enough to clear the air inside the booth. Another suggestion is to heat bake the parts with one of those bathroom heat bulbs. I used to use one when I painted models and they can out rock hard. To tell the truth I would say a good heat baked paint job is almost as good as a powder coating.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Not a bad idea.. Would have to direct the duct work through a filter so I didn't paint the outside of the house. Thanks!


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

    I'm looking to build a paint booth as well, be careful when choosing your fans because if you will be venting potentially flammable fumes you cannot use a conventional electric motor since solvent may deteriorate the copper windings and increase the risk of causing sparks, which could react dangerously with the fumes.

    Look for brushless motor, induction motor or belt driven fan with external motor. To calculate air displacement (Based on NFPA ratings) , height of opening X width of opening X 100 CFM. (cubic feet per minute)


    9 years ago on Introduction

    thanks i have to paint some parts for my bike (the 30 year old paint job is pretty sad ant the chrome on some arts is shot


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I'm totally going to do this one day when I have a pneumatic painter gun and compressor, so good work.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Very nice idea! I've been wanting to paint a bike for my kid for awhile but didn't want to get overspray all over the finished garage walls. This is perfect!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome! Glad it sounds like it will work. With a bike, you may want to separate the top poles a bit more and maybe use more than one tarp/sheeting to give you some room. In thinking about it, another pole (three total) could allow this to be very wide.