Build an Easy and Cheap Tabletop Spray Booth

Build an Easy and Cheap Tabletop Spray Booth


I’ve recently been getting back into tabletop gaming and as part of that have been thinking about finally learning how to airbrush. I’ve also been trying to upgrade my whole gaming and modeling areas to make it easier for me to assemble and paint miniatures and play games. In the past, I’ve never had a place in the house to spray paint models, so I’ve been looking into spray booths (they call them spray “booths” even though they’re really spray boxes).

Buying such a booth costs around $70-$150, which seems a little pricy for what you’re getting (basically a box with a fan on the back). So, I started looking around for homemade versions and unearthed a ton of builds, most based on the same basic design.

YouTube player

This quick video run-through by YouTuber NeuesZiel is indicative of many of the projects out there. It basically involves attaching a bathroom fan (not a computer fan) to the back of a big plastic bin and then attaching an outtake dryer hose to vent the fumes out of the house. An bathroom fan can be had for around $30. My local Michael’s craft shop frequently has big plastic bins on clearance for next to nothing. I’m sure I could quickly and easily put one of these units together for less than half what a commercial unit would cost.


I also found hand-drawn plans for this booth design on the venerable Starship Modeler website (one of the oldest sci-fi hobby sites in cyberspace). These plans have the added benefit of showing you how to build a bucket-based indoor fume extractor if you can’t vent your booth to the outside. I’ll likely be setting up my booth on the laundry room counter which has convenient access to a basement window.

If you’ve ever built one of these fume extractors, I’d love to hear about yours, and see pictures. Please post in the comments.

3 thoughts on “Build an Easy and Cheap Tabletop Spray Booth

  1. roadbiker5k says:

    I made a similar paint booth a while back. I used two different containers and cut the bottoms out of each of them and then joined them together, using the smaller container as a plenum. I’ve got a cheap furnace filter and then a layer of polyester batting as filtration, as well as a couple of carbon filters to try and knock down the paint smell. The carbon filters don’t do much, but the others definitely help catch overspray that would otherwise go floating around my garage. I used a couple of marine bilge blowers (~$20/each when I bought them) for moving air, they have the advantage of being spark proof, so no worries with volatile fumes going through them.

  2. Larry Brown says:

    I was going to suggest what roadbiker5k said. A bathroom fan can cause fumes to explode if your using any kind of paint with a petroleum distillate.

    1. Joel Rybacki says:

      The AC motor of bathroom fans produce no spark unlike a brushed DC motor or universal AC motor. Not much concern of explosion from this setup.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. His free weekly-ish maker tips newsletter can be found at

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