DIY HVLP Spray Booth for under $125

Recently we focused on Varnish, and the tips and tricks to best apply it. Awhile back we posted a custom spray booth video. Between the two posts —the emails, phone calls, and blog comments were robust. It became clear this was a subject that needed some more coverage. So for this week we give you the DIY(do it yourself) HVLP spray booth for under $125.00

While foam-roller varnishing is a great method for many printmakers, some find HVLP to be a much easier and more consistent way to varnish canvas prints. This is especially the case when varnishing large canvas prints and higher volume production runs, where it becomes increasingly difficult to use the foam roller method with consistency. The good news is, creating an HVLP Spray Booth for varnishing canvas prints is easier than you might have thought. While there are countless variations of how this can be accomplished, in this post, we’ll show you one example of how to create a “no frills” HVLP spray booth on a budget with items from your local hardware store.

In our example, we have chosen to build our booth in an unused corner inside of a large room in our building. By using a corner, we have already created 2 of the 3 sides needed for our spray booth. Painter’s plastic and tape are always great tools for many types of home projects because the plastic is lightweight and durable and painter’s tape does not leave behind a residue. Using drywall anchors and screws will provide a strong hold that won’t damage your wall. PVC pipe is very inexpensive and comes in many lengths and thicknesses. Utilizing the various lengths available as well as PVC elbows you could create an entire booth out of PVC pipe and elbows. Pegboard is a great choice for mounting the prints as the machined holes allow excess overspray to run through. This helps to keep the area clean. If you don’t have a compressor or are limited on space, the Wagner Control Spray Plus HVLP spray gun is a great gun to use. The package includes everything that you need to get started. The gun connects to an air hose that is connected to the turbine. This gun is very easy to clean as you can simply run warm water through it, provided you do so relatively soon after you have finished coating. The turbine runs on a standard 120 volt outlet.

Materials Used

Painter’s Plastic 9’ x 400’
Painter’s Tape 2”x180’
Standard PVC Pipe 1”x10’
Self Drilling Drywall Anchors
Multi-purpose hook
Binder clips
Wagner Control Plus HVLP spray gun

Total cost of supplies (including spray gun)= $125

Step by Step Video Tutorial


For your convenience, we’ll also list the costs of the recommended protective gear:

3M P100 Respirator= $30
3M Safety Goggles= $3

The total setup time was about 1 hour, including setting up the HVLP gun. It only took a few minutes to get used to the Wagner HVLP gun, and cleanup was as simple as running warm to hot water through it. All of the parts can be detached for cleaning purposes and can be put back together in seconds. This is just one of many ways you can build a spray booth on a budget.

About Breathing Color
Breathing Color® is a leading designer and supplier of award-winning inkjet canvas, inkjet fine art paper, photo paper and print varnish. Breathing Color is focused on the fine art and photographic markets with products for Epson®, Canon®, HP® and Roland® Printers that lead the industry in color and longevity. Breathing Color’s customers benefit from the highest quality at competitive prices by buying direct.

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  • Cpphoto

    What about overspray? When I spray inside a building the overspray ends up filling the building with the odor. Kind of like ‘second hand smoke’ you might say. I really expected you to have an exhaust fan of some kind – so is HVLP that different from spray can or conventional spraying?

    • Paul Morales

      Thank you for the comments! You make a very good point about overspray; something that was not covered in the video or post. The actual space we used for this booth was relatively open, but we did encounter some light overspray. The vapor from the sprayed varnish is actually heavier then the air in the room, so all the vapor will fall to the floor.This happens pretty quickly, and I’ve noticed that after spraying multiple prints the vapor seemed to vanish after only 5 minutes.

      After speaking with a few customers that have a spray booth setup indoors, I’ve gathered that some of them recommend using a fan positioned by a window (if any), pointing the window out as this will intake air in the room and exhaust that air outside.

      Spray cans differ tremendously as you are purchasing less at a time, thus increasing your total cost. These spray coatings are typically solvent which decreases the life of the print. And if you have a steady amount of prints, this can be too costly.

      If you have any other questions, please feel free to post below.

  • Jorge

    1 good HLVP sprayer $1,400

    • Paul Morales

      Hi Jorge,

      Which HVLP Spray gun are you looking at? Almost all of our volume users get great results with the Fuji 2903-XPC Mini-Mite 3 HVLP Spray System. The Fuji comes with an extremely durable turbine, so no compressor is needed. At around $550 it provides an industrial strength, long lasting spray gun without a very large investment.

  • Rod Schall

    I used to spray my prints. To get rid of the overspray, I installed a 20″ box fan in a window blowing to the outside. I put two closepins on the bottom and set a disposable furnace filter on it with the fan blowing. The fan held the filter in place and also the photos with the suction. If the suction was not quite strong enough to hold the print without it sliding down, I would clip another closepin to the grill to hold the print from sliding. As I spayed and the overspray went outside. Be sure there is nothing close by outside or it will get covered with partly dry spray. Of couse, this is limited to smaller than 20″ prints.

    • Paul Morales


      That’s a great idea! Innovative and affordable. A great addition to any Do it Yourself Spraybooth. 

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  • Alexandru Cardaniuc

    Purchased the recommended HLVP. How should I mix the Glamour 2 to get the right viscosity? Any recommended settings? 50/50?

    • Paul Morales

      25-50% water is a great working range for Glamour 2. More water will help if the humidity is very low. As long as you have an even, consistent flow from the gun, many different dilution ratios will work.

  • garage equipment

    There are several types of small spray booths
    that are constructed with the same basic principle as the larger
    versions. Often used in manufacturing or home hobby painting, the small spray booth’s main purpose is to draw fresh air into the booth and expel paint fumes while drawing the over-spray away from the object being painted.