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DIY Paint Booth Step by Step Guide

So maybe I once painted a dresser in the garage with spray paint without using a booth. And maybe there was a layer of blue over everything in said garage.

I'm not saying this happened. Just that it's a possibility.


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When we moved to the new house, my husband, having learned from my (alleged) previous spray painting catastrophe, insisted that there would be no painting without building a spray paint booth. No if's, and's, or blue dust. So here's how I created my very own DIY paint booth.

How to spray paint furniture without a mess?

I took to the Google, as I'm wont to do, to see what I could find. At first, I thought I would get one of those pop-up tents with the sides that zipped up. I quickly realized that at over $100 just for the pop-up, sans sides, that this option was not in the budget. I did a bit more Googling and found this wiki tutorial. After reading through the instructions, I decided to make some modifications when I built my very own DIY paint booth.

First, though they don't give the diameter measurement of their PVC, mine is definitely smaller. Second, I chose to use 90-degree elbows, rather than connecting a T and a 90-degree piece together. This reduced the number of pieces that needed to be cut. I also eliminated the top bar that dropped down in the middle. This meant I wouldn't be able to hang anything from the top, but it also meant a lot fewer cuts and pieces.


Supply List for a DIY Paint Booth

      1. 12 10' 3/4" PVC pipe (plus one or two in case of bad cuts)
      2. 8 3/4" 90-degree side-out elbows
      3. 1 10-pack plastic drop cloths (affiliate link)
      4. A slightly more heavy duty tarp (I used a sheet from Goodwill)
      5. 1 roll of painter's tape (affiliate link)
      6. 1 box fan (affiliate link)
      7. 2-pack 20"x20" basic HVAC filters (affiliate link) (don't pay for the higher-quality ones. Paint particles are large enough that the basic filter will work)

diy paint booth ventilation

My supervisor/fan tester. She takes her job very seriously.

Measuring and Cutting

First, I had my dear husband cut the PVC pipes down to 7 feet long. I measured this out on the floor of my garage and 7' seemed like a good space. I'm only 5'6", so it gave me plenty of headroom and enough interior space for fairly large pieces of paint booth assembly While he was cutting the pieces, I laid down the plastic drop cloth and taped it to the garage floor. After feeling the material and walking on it for a minute, I decided to add another layer with a thicker drop cloth I had (a $1 sheet from Goodwill). This way I didn't have to worry about ripping the bottom plastic and accidentally painting the garage floor. I feel like that may not have gone over well with the hubs.

Assembling the DIY Paint Booth

Once I was done, assembling the frame was pretty straightforward. I laid out four 7'  pieces on the ground and connected them using the elbows. Then I added the upright poles with elbow connectors on top, and assembled the top side in a square on the paint booth assembly Finally, I got the ladder and tried to connect the top pieces. I highly recommend having someone help with this part. I did not (hubs had to leave) and it was miserable. The 7' poles are just long enough that they're too heavy to stay inserted and will bend the supporting pole and snap it. Or if you have a second ladder, you could prop up one end on the top of the ladder while you insert the other paint booth assembly After a lot of struggle, all the pieces were inserted and I started hanging the drop cloths. I started with the top piece and centered it front to back and side to side. I taped the edges along the pipes where they met, and on the underside of the top to the top paint booth assembly

Adding the Plastic

For the side pieces, I draped them about 2' in over the top, and tucked them around the sides, using strips of tape wherever the edge of the tarp met a pipe or another piece of plastic. I tucked the bottom under the bottom pieces of PVC and rolled up the excess on the paint booth assembly On the back, which I'm calling the side closest to the door into the house, I doubled up the corner from the side piece so I could use it as a doorway. I taped the corner of the drop cloth directly to the pole behind the overlapping piece from the side against the wall. On the front, closest to the outside, I added an additional drop cloth. This needed a lot of slack for the fan to be inserted later.

diy paint booth assembly

My husband called this my Dexter booth. I can confirm no serial killing occurred in the making of this post.


The basic structure was now complete. I used the painter's tape and attached one of the filters to the intake side of the box fan. Then I cut a hole on the front side of the booth. I propped the fan on two 50-gallon plastic containers and taped the plastic drop cloth around the edges of the fan so there was no opening on the sides for the paint to escape. I tested the filter on the fan using a spare piece of foam board I had propped up on the ladder and sprayed red paint through the filter into the paint booth assembly Not a drop escaped! Huzzah! I stepped inside and turned the fan on. And almost died (or so it felt, anyway). Since I hadn't left any opening for the air to flow in, the fan sucked all the air out, and all the sides and top bowed in, reducing the available space by half.


I took a pair of scissors and popped a few small holes in the top. This helped, but not enough. I took the corner I was using as a door and taped it about one-third of the way up from the bottom. This allowed for significant enough airflow that the sides only bowed a little and there was plenty of space to work.


Is there anything I would do differently next time for a DIY Paint Booth?

Looking back, I would plan a little better for airflow. Maybe make a few more holes than I did, or make the holes I did have bigger. So far missing the bar from the top to hang things from hasn't effected any of the projects I've done. The assembled product is a little flimsy, but more than adequate for just a paint booth. And there was no paint dust anywhere in the garage when I was done (much to my husband's appreciation).

diy paint booth assembly

The red spray on the filter is not helping to dispel the 'Dexter' description.

Once I was done painting, I took all the pieces apart and taped them together with painter's tape. I stored the bundle in the corner of the garage. Ready for the next time! Hopefully, this guide was helpful in creating your own Dexter-esque DIY paint booth. What have been some of your favorite furniture rehab projects?

How to create a spray paint booth - Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti


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Reader Interactions


  1. Jay says

    Did you glue the pipe together? Would you get more stability by adding a T connector – center – on top and the same for the sides? Great idea! J

  2. Thomas P Shoemaker says

    I built the same PVC frame but substituted 1/4″ white corrugated plastic cardboard for the sides & top. I used a paper punch and fixed the sheets with reusable zip ties. This was not as nearly economical as your version, (48″ x 96 in. sheet = $22 @ HD) but helped solve the rigidity problem. I also installed 3 24″x24″ filters on the top piece which helped with airflow. Hint: If you use corrugated plastic, overlap the sheets slightly at the joints and cover with painter’s tape for a good seal.
    Great plan. Thanks for sharing!

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