Can You Airbrush Indoors? Simple, Safe Options to Do It

Inexpensive options to make indoor airbrushing easy for you

The simple answer is Yes, you can use an airbrush indoors.  What you need to be most concerned with is:

  1. Safety:   Not breathing in the aerosol paint, primer or varnishes.
  2. Cleaning Up:  Overspray of paint getting where you don’t want it.

Safety involves a few precautions.  You can wear a mask or respirator to filter out any particles in the air.  You should be in a well ventilated area.  You can use a spray booth with an exhaust fan that sucks in all excess spray and vents it outdoors.  

Keeping your work area clean is more a matter of preference.  If you have a large space and don’t mind the overspray (meaning any spray that doesn’t go on your miniatures, models or other projects) you can simply spray wherever.  Most people opt for a small enclosure to catch overspray. This can be anything from a simple cardboard box to a nice airbrush spray booth.

Airbrushing Indoors Safely

The biggest safety concern with airbrushing indoors is breathing in the aerosol paints or whatever you’re spraying.  Acrylic paints, while non-toxic and not flammable, really shouldn’t be inhaled.  

I paint in my office on the 3rd floor of my house.  I have a few things I use to keep from breathing in anything I shouldn’t when I use my airbrush:  

Airbrush Spray Booth:  This is designed specifically for the job and does most of the work.  It’s a small enclosure to spray in.  Mine has an exhaust fan with a filter.  The exhaust connects to a hose, which I have pointed out my nearby window.  

The cons to this set up are that it’s loud, it requires a nearby window and power source.  Remember you’ll also have your compressor going and the drone of the spray booth means it’s not a quiet hobby.  

Having said all that, I feel like it’s 100% worth it.  I use it every time I airbrush anything.  Having it suck in any spray and vent it outside is invaluable to me.  It’s not really that loud anyway, I just pop on some earbuds and listen to music.  

Masks and Respirators:  Two very inexpensive pieces of safety gear.  Because I have the spray booth venting outside, I typically use an old cloth mask I had from covid. Works great.  No issues with it at all.  

I also own a respirator which is maybe a little overkill, but for spraying anything not acrylic, I use it.   It’s comfortable, only cost me around 30 bucks, and I’d feel 100% safe even without my airbrush spray booth.  If you are concerned with spray and dont want to drop the money on an spray booth with an exhaust, this is an easy fix.

Air Purifier:  This is just an added layer of protection.  It’s more about keeping the room feeling fresh and odor free.  Miniature Painting as a hobby requires a lot of products that leave a smell behind.  Paints, solvents, glues, inks, varnishes, and more.  Having this around does the job.  It’s small, relatively inexpensive, and not loud.  

Airbrushing Indoors: Cleaning Up

When it comes to keeping things relatively clean there are really only a few suggestions on top of the Airbrush Spray Booth I mentioned above.  If you have that you’re mostly set.  If not, just maybe something like a cardboard box or DIY set up can work for you.  

Other items I personally use are:

1.  Cleaning Pot:  This is almost a must have.  I use it all the time.  Not only cleaning the airbrush but also for shooting through some flow improver before painting anything.  It’s invaluable to me and keeps spray contained.

2.  Craft Mat:  This is a simple silicone mat I use to keep the desk free of overspray.  Simple, inexpensive, useful.  

  1. A simple bucket or large bowl of water.  I use this constantly to clean and spray into when changing paints in my airbrush.  It keeps things simple and easy.  I just keep it by my workstation and I have a cover over it when not being used.  Mine is an old one I had handy, this is the closest I could find on Amazon.
  1. You’ll find me recommending baby wipes a lot on this site hah.  I just use them for everything in the hobby.  Cleaning up paint, glue, and whatever else.  I use them on the airbrush all the time when changing paint as well.  It’s just something I always have handy.  I use the costco brand ones but the Amazon wipes seem like the exact same thing.

So there you go.  You can absolutely airbrush indoors.  It’s a very common practice and I personally do it very often.  The biggest takeaway is to make sure you’re not breathing in any fumes or spray.  Especially if you’re doing this fairly regularly, you don’t want to be doing anything harmful.

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