Introduction: Easy and Inexpensive Ice Rink
I was going to build the PVC rink, but that stuff is pretty expensive, so I came up with wood design that is cheap and easy, and can even be used with a yard with a slight slope. It can be built in a few hours for under $50
Step 1: Materials and Layout
You will need:
A drill, saw, razor knife
Small box of 1.5 inch wood screws
Small box of 2.5 inch wood screws
Ten 8 foot 2x4 studs
Ten 8 foot 1x2 pine strips (4 cut in half)
20x25 foot piece of 6 mil plastic
This will build a 24 foot by 16 foot rink. Not huge, but fun for some 1/2 court hockey! It has been a great spot to teach my kids how to skate.
Unroll the plastic in the most level area of the yard
Layout the 2x4 studs three on the sides and 2 on the ends
Step 2: Screw Together
Screw each corner together with two 2.5 inch wood screws, and each seam also with two 2.5 inch wood screws.
Step 3: Wrap and Secure
Wrap the plastic over the outside toward the middle of the rink and stagger the 1x2's over the top of the studs and secure with the 1.5 inch wood screws at each seam and every 16 inches or so.
Don't pull the plastic too tight... a little bit of slack (2 inches or so) on the bottom will help raise the rink to level it in the next step.
Start in the corner with the 4 foot piece first to stagger the seams to give it some more strength.
Step 4: Fill and Level
Cut the excess plastic that is wrapped over the top, leaving 4 inches extra into the rink. Be careful not to cut the lining plastic!
Fill with water. If there is a slope you will notice it beginning to fill up quicker on one side faster than the other. Place scrap lumber under the plastic under the perimeter stud every 2 feet or so to raise the perimeter up to allow the rink to be level. Keep raising it as it fills. Mine was at least 10 inches thick in one of the corners. I filled it to be at least 2-3 inches thick at the low end.
The Perimeter begins to act like one of those inflatable 10 foot kids pools where the top ring rises, as it fills. I was very surprised how strong it was.
I watched the weather and built it on a day that was 40 degrees with the weather turning to 20 that night and lasting for a week. This made it comfortable to build outside, and I only had to wait 2 days for the ice to harden.
It has thawed and frozen twice this season, and each time I add a thin layer of water when it is a little above freezing to smooth the surface.
The rink can be made bigger if your yard allows. Just buy a couple more studs and a bigger piece of plastic.
Step 5: Recycle
At the end of the season I will store and reuse the 1x2's, cut up the 2x4's for outside firewood, and cut up and recycle the plastic.
We purchased a bunch of skates at the play-it-again sports store for $15-$30 each. Have fun!