Remove Overspray for under $40

Airbrushes produce overspray. Plain and simple. For those who work indoors, overspray is a dangerous lung hazard, and it can linger in the air for hours. We all know that a proper mask offers protection from overspray, but masks are often not worn for a variety of reasons. 
Here is a simple way to reduce your exposure to overspray of water-based paints in a small room of your home or studio, and it won't cost you a lot of money.

The most common way to clean air is to move it through a filter designed to capture and remove particles. This involves a filter that is designed to remove particles from the air. Common HVAC filters have a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) that rates the overall effectiveness at removing particulate matter from the air. A MERV rating is a numerical value ranging from 1 (lowest efficiency) to 20 (highest efficiency) and tells the consumer how well the filter captures and holds particles and dust of a specified size range. 
A higher value MERV rating equates to finer filtration, meaning fewer dust particles and other airborne contaminants can pass through the filter. A higher MERV rating seems like it would automatically be better, but it's not. The higher the MERV rating, the smaller the pores are for air to flow through the  filter. This can create more resistance in airflow, thus making it inefficient. Remember that we want to move air quickly before we breath in any contaminates.
Airbrush overspray measures from 2 to 8 microns, usually averaging around 5 microns in diameter. This falls into the category of a MERV 8 filter. For those who want to arrest smaller particles, a higher MERV rating will do the job, but as the numbers become higher, air is moved more slowly, and many of the particles will linger before passing through the filter. Merv 11 would be the upper limit before efficiency becomes an issue.
Moving Air
We need a method which allows us to pull air through the filter, and an inexpensive way would be a box fan. In this case, I purchased a 20" box fan by Lasko for $16.88 from Walmart. Its quiet and has 3 speeds.
Next I found a 20 x 20 MERV 11 filter for $13.88. A MERV 8 would probably be even better because its less restrictive for air movement.

To hold everything together, I used a pair of 36" bungie cords for $3.66
I strapped it all together, making sure that the filter was placed so that the fan pulled the air through the filter.

Where to place it. 
 For this system to work the best, you will want to place it as close to your spray source as possible so that the overspray is pulled INTO the fan. Next to your workstation is best, NOT in some remote corner of the room. Allow the fan to run for a while even after you've finished spraying to reduce overspray traveling to other parts of your building.


Bottom line: Not everyone can afford a spray booth, and most of us don't enjoy wearing a respirator all day. This little system provides a solution to both problems with a total cost: $34.42 (plus tax).

Good luck with your artistic endeavors. Spray Safe!


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Michael Broughton

March 03, 2019

Thanks, that’s amazing and will give it a go.

Rodney Smith

March 04, 2019

What a great idea !!! I was going to buy all sorts of air ducting equipment to do the same thing.
Very cool. Thanks

Russ Castro

March 06, 2019

Simple and affective,thank you for sharing

Brian Tanner

March 10, 2019

Basically what i built after a visit to Dru’s class.
Very effective.

Gabriele Polizzi

May 04, 2019

Such a good article! Thanks for sharing your experience and advice, H&S first of all!!


May 05, 2019

Thank you! It’s helpful for me! I’m trying to do the same!


May 05, 2019

That’s a really good idea. You can use it where ever you spray :-) Thank you for sharing.

Silke Goss

May 07, 2019

Wow, thank you! I’m headed to Wal Mart tomorrow… :o)

Thanks. For Always. Taking time to educate us all Drew they say your class is the ultament getaway

May 08, 2019

Theodore Goebeler as you can see. I placed the wrong fields lol

Steve Schlager

May 23, 2019

Excellent tip! Thanks!!!

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