Collapsible Spray Booth

Folds flat for easy storage

By Craig Bisgeier

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Ever since I mentioned it on the Traintools forum at YahooGroups, there has been a lot of interest in my collapsible spray booth.  I promised a bunch of nice folks that I would try to post plans, photos and instructions on how to build it.  So without further delay, here it is.


 Start off with a piece of sheet goods like plywood or Masonite.  I used 1/4” Masonite because I had a scrap piece lying around, but 1/4” or even 1/2" plywood would have worked as well.  The finished measurements of the base panel should be 18” wide x 16” deep.  

I made a frame of 1x2’s to fit underneath it and give some support to the base panel.  Again, I had some ripped plywood 1x2's lying around from benchwork construction so I used it.  You could use any 1-by stock you happen to have.  Cut two parts 18” long and two 14-1/2” long.  I drilled a couple of 1" holes on either side so I could clamp the booth to a work table easily, you don't need ot do this bit it's a nice option.  Then glue and screw them to each other and to the panel.  Pre-drill the screw holes so the lumber doesn’t crack.

 If you want to, paint the panel when it is assembled.  You don’t need to; it will soon have all kinds of paint on it anyway.


 In the plans below you’ll find patterns to cut fabric for the hood.  Choice of fabric is a personal one – thick fabrics will allow less air to filter through the walls, but are more difficult to sew.  Thin fabric are easy to sew but may reduce effectiveness as air is drawn through the walls.  On mine, I used light cotton fabric and brushed it with thinned shellac after it was finished to seal the fabric from air infiltration.  Thinned Polyurethane would probably work well too.  Even thinned latex paint would probably seal it well.

 Cut one top, one back, and two sides from whatever fabric you choose.  You’ll note on the patterns that there are two sets of lines on each panel – the outer line is the cut line, the inner line is the seam or hem line.  The inner lines are 5/8” inside the cut lines, and you are expected to either fold these edges under and sew them to stop the fabric from fraying, or sew two parts together along these lines.  I used french seams which enclose the edges inside a pocket so they don't show at all.  Mark them with a marker and use them as a guide when sewing the parts together.  If you know someone who sews it will be easier for them to do it for you, they will already understand most of this.


 Set the back to the top along a long edge, good sides together.  Pin and sew one side to the top and back, good sides together.  Then the other side.  Double-fold the edges all around the hood and hem them, trapping the edges inside the hem.  Turn the hood inside out, the nice seams should be showing on the outside now.  

Bring the two parts together, with the fabric hood overlapping the edges of the base panel by about ¾”.  Glue the hood to the base panel along the back and a little more than halfway up the sides, and tack it in place with staples or brads. 


 When the glue has dried, take a couple of screws and drive them into the sides about 6” from the front of the opening, leaving them to protrude about ¼”.  These will support the wire hoops that give the hood its shape.

 Get some long lengths of heavy wire, I used 1/8” thick wire normally used for frames to support the grids for suspended ceilings.  Bend an eye loop in one end (Wide enough to fit around the screw head in the side of the base), and hook it on the screw on one side.  Hold up the hood and measure the wire against it to the peak in the back along the side, and mark it.  Place a 90* bend in the wire, measure 18” out from there and put in another 90* bend.  Finally measure the distance from the first bend to the eyeloop, put in a second eyeloop and cut the wire to length.  Repeat with another wire for the front edge. 

 When I made mine, I included a couple of small loops inside the hood to pass the wire frames though and hold them in place.  You could do this, or just stitch around them in the corners to do the same things.  Once this is done the hood is just about completed.  Hook all four eyeloops around the screws in the side, and your hood should nearly be supporting itself.  To keep it from falling back, you can tape / glue some Velcro to the free edges of the hood in front, and when these are connected it will hold the hood up and steady.  Release the Velcro and the hood should fold back for storage like the top of a baby carriage.


 You will want to have a fan hooked up to this booth to vent away fumes and paint particles.  I suggest a separate mounting with a high-volume suction fan that connects to the hood with a 4” dryer hose/tube.  The nice thing about this is you can mount the fan outside a window or garage door and it will vent the fumes out of the area where you are spraying.  I used a special quick-disconnect fitting on the hood and the hose, which lets me hook up the hood in moments and also disconnect it at will.  These fittings can be found at woodworking stores along with heavy-duty 4” dust collection hoses. 

 I cut a 4” hole in the back of my fabric hood to mount the flange.  I made a styrene cover for the inside and ended up pop-riveting the parts together through the fabric, along with some caulk to really seal the edge.  This worked out really well and went pretty quickly.

 There is plenty of room to put in a furnace filter over the vent at the back if you want to.

 When I use my hood I clamp it to a card table I keep in the garage and run the vent tube outside.  It’s quiet and I never have a problem using it. 

 Improvements might be to have a clear plastic window in the top to let in more light.  One person suggested making the hood from a clear vinyl shower curtain, which was an interesting idea (but it would be more difficult to sew).

I hope this helps you!

Craig Bisgeier


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