Insight into Building a Spray Booth to Varnish Prints

by BC Admin on December 9, 2010 · 14 comments

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laminate canvas prints

We get asked all the time about how to set up a spray booth for varnishing prints. To many of our customers, a spray booth may be just be as simple and inexpensive as a 60 square foot area with sheets of plastic hanging on all sides. To others, especially those varnishing in higher volumes, a spray booth can be a bit more scientific. So which one is better?

Whatever gets the job done!

Here’s a video showing a custom spray booth, courtesy of our friends at Bellevue Fine Art who use our Glamour II print varnish to spray their prints.


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  • http://www.breathingcolor.com Paul Morales

    The “reverse hockey table” is a great idea. Very innovative for coating canvas. And very professional and clean. This is just 1 of numerous examples of how a spray booth can be set up.

    • Nick Friend

      I agree. I loved seeing this video. Bellevue shows us that the approach to varnishing canvas prints can be a form of art, in and of itself.

  • BC

    How dangerous is the spray do we really need to wear that type of mask?

  • Nick Friend

    Timeless and Glamour 2 are water based laminates (not solvent) and aren’t toxic, but when spraying the mist gets in the air around you, and if you don’t have a mask you will breathe it in. When doing this often, its just not very pleasant which is why most people wear a mask of some sort. You don’t need a heavy duty mask, even a cheap doctor mask will suffice.

  • Nick Friend

    Timeless and Glamour 2 are water based laminates (not solvent) and aren’t toxic, but when spraying the mist gets in the air around you, and if you don’t have a mask you will breathe it in. When doing this often, its just not very pleasant which is why most people wear a mask of some sort. You don’t need a heavy duty mask, even a cheap doctor mask will suffice.

  • Paul Cato

    This system looks great – if you’ve got an enclosed space and almost nothing to spray.

    Has anyone got an example of an efficient system to handle some volume – like maybe 60 prints a day, 36″ x 36″?

  • http://twitter.com/bellevuefineart Bellevue Fine Art

    Interesting to see all the comments.

  • Pingback: How to build a DIY HVLP Spray Booth for under $125

  • Jennifer

    I just tried spraying a few sample prints and I have a question about the surface I am getting.  It seems to be “pebbly”.  Is this the surface I should expect or should I be trying something differently?

    • http://www.breathingcolor.com Paul Morales

      Hi Jennifer,

      It sounds like you may have either used too much coating, or the pressure in your gun was too high. When I coat a print, I’ll coat in a “crosshatch” pattern, going left to right and top to bottom. If you’re using an HVLP gun with a compressor, try setting your PSI at around 40 lbs. This seems to be the “sweet spot” for most standard to industrial spray guns. If you are using a gun with a turbine, try adjusting your nozzle tip to spray less coating (more of a mist) and that should help.

      • Jennifer

        So how should the final coating look?  Should it be smooth? Or will it have a bit of texture to it?
        I am using an a/c Wagner spray gun as recommended in the under $125 video and I’m wondering if a compressor with gun makes a difference?
        And I am using Timeless as well – not sure if that matters.
        Thanks for all your help Paul!

      • Jennifer

        So how should the final coating look?  Should it be smooth? Or will it have a bit of texture to it?
        I am using an a/c Wagner spray gun as recommended in the under $125 video and I’m wondering if a compressor with gun makes a difference?
        And I am using Timeless as well – not sure if that matters.
        Thanks for all your help Paul!

      • Jennifer

        So how should the final coating look?  Should it be smooth? Or will it have a bit of texture to it?
        I am using an a/c Wagner spray gun as recommended in the under $125 video and I’m wondering if a compressor with gun makes a difference?
        And I am using Timeless as well – not sure if that matters.
        Thanks for all your help Paul!

        • http://www.breathingcolor.com Paul Morales

          Hi Jennifer,

          We use the Wagner Control Spray Plus in house (which includes a turbine), and I get great results without a compressor using Timeless. The finish should look smooth and without texture; of course, you can have a textured surface if you prefer as that will not affect the protective properties of the varnish.

          If you are trying to avoid any texture at all, try using a little less varnish. Also try to make sure the angle of the gun does not change when you are spraying (i.e. point it straight at the canvas throughout the entire print). Too much varnish or a change in the spray pattern can create texture. Applying an additional coat before the first coat is dry will also create texture.

          The type of gun/compressor is not as important as the technique. It does take a little bit of practice, but I assure you that once you have the process down it will be very easy from that point moving forward.

          If you need additional help or tips, please feel free to give me a call. Our toll free number is (866) 722-6567.

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