HVLP in a camping tent in the garage

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Forum topic by Denver_80211 posted 02-11-2020 08:13 PM 754 views 0 times favorited 34 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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13 posts in 768 days

02-11-2020 08:13 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question hvlp garage tent

I’ve had this idea that I could buy a cheap (300$) 12 man tent from Amazon, set it up in the garage (which is attached to the house) and use it as a spray booth for and HVLP system -Which I also have no experience with.

I would just buy the two together and after two hours of youtube, boom.. expert finisher checked off the list.

Anyway, I’m starting to have doubts and I wonder if others have taken this path? I get that I would need a full cleanroom sort of painting outfit and respirator. But.. is the spray so fine that it’s going to get out of the tent? Assume flaps are shut.

People use HVLP systems to paint inside all the time… surely this is ok?

Someone stop me if I’m making a huge mistake.. what am I missing?

34 replies so far

View Bill_Steele's profile


677 posts in 2410 days

#1 posted 02-11-2020 08:23 PM

I’m tuned in for this one—interested in the responses.

I’ve had a similar thought on getting a small tent to spray in—but thought of the tent as a means to protect the piece being sprayed from contaminants getting on it. I would prefer to spray out in the back yard. I would think to spray in the garage might introduce fumes into the house. I think it may be important to incorporate some type of ventilation to pull fumes and possibly overspray away.

View SMP's profile


1889 posts in 583 days

#2 posted 02-11-2020 08:25 PM

If you got money to burn sounds like a plan. Otherwise see if one of the much cheaper Homeright booths will meet your need, or buy the plastic sheeting and duct tape at the home center, or even splurge and buy the zippers made for this.

View Fred Hargis's profile

Fred Hargis

6049 posts in 3171 days

#3 posted 02-11-2020 08:29 PM

A lot of it depends on what you plan to spray. I spray only shellac and waterbornes inside (lacquer outdoors in the summer). My booth (if you want to call it that) is shower curtains hanging from the ceiling> You can get 8’ long ones from Amazon. I have a roughly 10’x 10’ area under the OH door to the (detached) shop. I suspended 1/5” PVC pipe from the ceiling and hang the curtains on it. It does contain the overspray. It does contain the odor. Even with waterbornes there is a smell that permeates the shop. With anything solvent cased it would (says me) be noticeable in an attached house….maybe not so much with waterborne finishes. But I certainly wouldn’t spend $300 on a tent to use for it Also, I doubt that 2 hours is enough to get the hang of spraying; but you are probably a much faster learner than me. So I guess I don’t think the HVLP is a mistake…but the tent may be.

-- Our village hasn't lost it's idiot, he was elected to congress.

View Lazyman's profile


4811 posts in 2065 days

#4 posted 02-11-2020 09:30 PM

If you are planning to finish some large tables or something, you may need something bigger but Rockler sells a Large HomeRight Spray Shelter that is basically what you are describing. It is actually on sale right now for $40. Here are the specs:
Assembled Depth: 72’’ at bottom; 30’’ at top
Assembled Width: 108’’ at bottom; 92’’ at top
Assembled Height: 66.5’‘
Collapsed Dimensions (in bag): 4-3/8’’ x 4-3/8’’ x 29-1/8’
LOL, Picture from Rockler listing:

-- Nathan, TX -- Hire the lazy man. He may not do as much work but that's because he will find a better way.

View MrUnix's profile


7833 posts in 2877 days

#5 posted 02-11-2020 09:47 PM

I have not used a tent, but hung plastic sheet from the ceiling in the garage to form a spray booth of sorts. I used it to spray oil based enamel and did not have any overspray escape the enclosure, even though there was a couple of inches at the top open to the rest of the garage. I got a roll of that brown paper, sort of like what the old paper grocery bags were made out of, and taped that down on the floor first. Worked great, but you really should have a positive pressure respiration system. i used one of those 3M half face respirators with appropriate filters but still could not remain in the ‘booth’ for very long.

Given that, I don’t see why a large enough tent would not work just as well or better.


-- Brad in FL - In Dog I trust... everything else is questionable

View CaptainKlutz's profile (online now)


2679 posts in 2172 days

#6 posted 02-11-2020 11:55 PM

+1 plastic sheeting
Have used (shower curtains) hanging from garage door tracks/rails to make a quick indoor spray booth. Tape curtain across the door and easy 3-sided booth is made. With a 1” pipe laying across the back of garage door tracks, can make 9×9 spray booth in single car garage. For a 2 car garage, need to support the center of cross post, and buy a lot of shower curtains. The couple of inches of open space at top is not a problem. Any over spray that gets out, will be dry when it lands (unless using old school 1 part enamel).

Using a tent? BTDTGTTS, tons of challenges to consider.

- Most newfangled tents use a rain fly on top, with ‘bug’ mesh screen covering the upper 2-3 feet of of tent for ventilation. Would need to find an old style solid wall canvas tent, or buy one of the expensive cold weather/high altitude tents to get one with solid nylon fabric to the top.

- Any tent used as spray booth will not be usable for camping afterwards. The walls will be covered in over spray. It makes the tent heavier, crack when folded, and carries odor forever.

- Spraying in any close space is dangerous. The air fills with paint fumes, and reduces the available oxygen. Need more than a respirator, you need a self contained breathing apparatus (SCUBA) to spray any paint in a closed space. Only way to avoid need for SCUBA gear is with ventilation, preferably negative pressure ventilation that draws fresh air into booth, and expels fumes while catching over spray.

- Floor of spray static booth (without ventilation) gets nasty sticky as you spray. Soles of you shoes will carry paint everywhere, so use shoe covers, or disposable shoes.

- Modifying a commercial tent to be a spray booth is lot of work.
: The regular door is too small for any large items.
: Cutting holes for ventilation fan/filters requires either sewing fabric or tons of duct tape. If you use duct tape it is impossible to fold the tent back up into small space, as the residue will permanently stick fabric to itself.

The HomeRight spray shelters solve several problems above.
- open bottom to allow use of fresh floor covering to reduce paint build up.
- Large door opening, with narrow depth to prevent working inside a close space.
- it’s not a tent that anyone wants to take camping.

Will offer an alternate solution:
Easy-Up Canopy

They offer side walls that attach to frame with Velcro:

it is very easy to modify a side wall to hold a box fan with furnace filters in front to gain ventilation out back of a 3 sided shelter. Tend to use mine outside, and only use 1-3 walls as needed to control breeze and keep dust off project. Would require a tall ceiling to use indoor, as the peak rises ~2 feet the height of adjustable side panels. They do sell domed recreational version with lower peak, but the legs are splayed and pre-made side covers are sold for them.

Have owned several for 20+years. The stronger commercial versions are not cheap, but worth the cost. The less expensive recreational units (and Walmart/Costco clones) use plastic hinges that break after couple years just like all the other plastic junk in your life.

Just noticed that easy-up has added ventilated work station enclosures this year. LOL

Curious why it took them more than a decade to realize how folks used them?


-- If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all, - Albert King - Born Under a Bad Sign released 1967

View therealSteveN's profile


5169 posts in 1252 days

#7 posted 02-12-2020 12:42 AM

If you are planning to finish some large tables or something, you may need something bigger but Rockler sells a Large HomeRight Spray Shelter that is basically what you are describing. It is actually on sale right now for $40. Here are the specs:
Assembled Depth: 72 at bottom; 30 at top
Assembled Width: 108 at bottom; 92 at top
Assembled Height: 66.5
Collapsed Dimensions (in bag): 4-3/8 x 4-3/8 x 29-1/8
LOL, Picture from Rockler listing:

- Lazyman

I’ll double down on what Nathann said here, plus raise you that unless you are making a lot of full sized furniture pieces that the small version of the same is even cheaper. OR if you got one of each, the small just to be used for table top projects, and the large to be used for bigger stuff, you would still be WAY under your 300 bux, and be able to take the whole fambly out to eat at the steak place, maybe 2 times even.

-- Think safe, be safe

View BattleRidge's profile


137 posts in 894 days

#8 posted 02-12-2020 12:58 AM

My finish area is in the basement of my home because it is climate controlled, convenient and away from general wood dust (my woodworking area is in a detached building). For a HVLP spray area, I created a collapsible room that is easily opened and can be closed when not needed (conversion is about a minute) with a painters drop cloth to protect the floor. The collapsed size is 8” x 12’ and the open interior workspace is 7-1/2’ x 11’.

The construction consists of three 2×4’s with 6 mil plastic hanging from each (I used .31 mil plastic to cover the non-moving wall). One section slides (via screw eyes) on two steel cables to the open position. Two sections then open and create the end walls (connected via screw eyes / hooks) and there is a second eye on one end to allow one wall to act as a large door for easy access.

I primarily use General Finishes water based products via HVLP, and also plan on spraying Behr Porch & Patio Floor Paint (Acrylic Latex) via airless sprayer (when I obtain one) for outdoor products.

I considered using a tent or other options but wanted something quick, easy and simple to set-up. As an option, my finish area is located on an exterior wall should I ever need to add a window / exterior ventilation but I do not do an overly large amount of finish work so the space is primarily to protect the basement from overspray and limit dust intrusion.

-- ~Art~

View Denver_80211's profile


13 posts in 768 days

#9 posted 02-12-2020 01:08 AM

Wow thanks EVERYONE. This was my first post so I wasn’t sure if I had done it right when it never showed up… I suppose it was getting the quality assurance approval tests.

I understand what everyone is saying and I think I’m still moving forward as planned. this tent would be entirely for finishing…
I think I would add
-thick paper floor covering inside the tent, plastic tarp under the whole tent
-some kind of changing station outside the door to remove shoes, etc
-some kind of air intake and outgoing fan with furnace filters to clear the air as much as possible.
-I understand the saturation of stuff in the air but I think with enough airflow and a full facemask with filters I can operate for 30 minutes or more at a time.
-This is as much about keeping crap off the work piece as containing over spray from the garage -I expect some level of smell no mater what.
-Yes I understand the plastic sheeting is cheaper but I think it’s also disposable and this setup could be used time and time again, it will be more easy the setup/tear down, better sealed.
-I have seen the rockler setup (and that silly picture)... I think it’s waaay smaller than a 12 man tent.. too tight

View Denver_80211's profile


13 posts in 768 days

#10 posted 02-12-2020 01:44 AM

Art, that’s an amazing setup. I just don’t have that much space to set aside on a long term basis. This would be a ‘park the car on the street, setup the tent and do your thing’ process.

View Denver_80211's profile


13 posts in 768 days

#11 posted 02-12-2020 01:47 AM

CaptainKlutz, that e-z setup tent is amazing -for 1700$+++ It makes me feel like I’m on the middle of the road track which is where I want to be. I just think setting up plastic sheeting will be slow and messy and prone to error, gaps etc

View BurlyBob's profile


7212 posts in 2943 days

#12 posted 02-12-2020 02:07 AM

I did basically the same thing as Art with cheap drop clothes hung for the track of my garage door and one on the floor.
Less that $15 and when done fold it up, store it in a box till the next time I need it. It takes about 15 minutes to put it up and take it down. The folding up is the biggest pain as I need a little help on the other end.

View d38's profile


142 posts in 940 days

#13 posted 02-13-2020 03:19 PM

I’m sure a tent would work, but agree, a DIY will work too, and less $$$$.
I built one out of PVC. Its 10’ long, ~6’ wide and 8’ tall. A 10’ span is too long, so I made vertices and a horizontal at 5’, using 3-way T connectors. Leave one end open, and wrap the rest in plastic. I put a box fan at the closed end with a filter taped to it to create some airflow, and catch the overspray with the filter before I blew it out into the garage.

View controlfreak's profile


568 posts in 279 days

#14 posted 02-13-2020 03:50 PM

I would think the trick is to create enough air flow to move the overspray to a filter in the rear of the booth but not so much that it pulls in dust or the booth walls. It is a delicate balance. I also see a problem in a spray booth without this balance. You will quickly find the interior unbearable and as all of the material covering the floor gets overspray you will resemble a bug on flypaper. When it starts sticking it will find the legs and sides of your work piece and colorful language will follow.

View AlaskaGuy's profile


5593 posts in 2987 days

#15 posted 02-13-2020 04:46 PM

-- Alaskan's for Global warming!

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