For 3 years now my family has been putting up a homemade ice rink in our backyard. The method was a very simple one only requiring a flat area, some PVC, a large plastic tarp, along with some extra tools, and of course water. This method is better then allot of the wooden ones for several reasons: wooden one are hard to put up and the wood will rot, aren't really portable, isn't really cheap for a vast area, and takes a bit more water (meaning more time it takes to freeze).
As far as I know, the Idea for the PVC ice rink came from my father, who was looking at building an ice rink. In his quest he found several professional ice rinks, that sold for allot of money (up to $600 dollars!), money that he didn't have. So then the Idea of the homemade PVC ice rink emerged!

Here are the instructions...

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Step 1: Materials and Pricing

For materials you will need....

36 - 4" schedule 20 PVC sewer pipe = around $5-$8dollars* (we will be using 10ft pipes)
4 - 4" PVC corners = around $3*
1 - 40' x 100' 6 mil polyethylene plastic liner = around $100* **

Total cost = around $300
Total use = around 3-5 winters

These are the basic materials for building your average sized ice rink, but it all comes done to the tarp size and how much PVC you have. Also be prepared for strange looks at the home builder's store if you try this, we wiped out most of their supply of PVC and over heard many comments that we must be building a really big septic system!

*these prices were from about 4 years ago, and we bought are materials in Maine, so basically prices subject to change.

** All depends on what the size is, ours was actually double what we needed, but was worth it.

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lcs500028 days ago
Is there a way to "chill" the ice
I live in Georgia it only gets cold in the night
jordosc lcs500016 days ago

With about $25k you can get an at home refrigeration system! You'd need to use it a lot to get your money's worth in that case. Better stick to a local indoor rink.

Gretajenn11 months ago
I wish I'd found this before I built my rink. How do I smooth out bumpy, chunky ice? I've tried everything; hot water, cold water, spreading water out with a push broom. Still....chunky ice!

I tried the email address and it bounced back. :-(

The best way to keep out bumps is to fill the rink in stages not all at once put down 55 gallons at a time until you have full coverage it will be smooth as silk

jaypeak Gretajenn11 months ago
If you have an iron with no holes in it, you could try that to smooth down the chunky sections.
Gretajenn jaypeak11 months ago
I'm hoping Mother Nature fixed it for me. We had rain which melted my chunky ice, then freezing rain, and now the high tomorrow is supposed to be 0. If this dang rink doesn't freeze up nicely tonight and tomorrow I'm not sure if anything will help it. I'll throw down plywood and buy the boys rollerblades!
biofueljunke9 months ago

even after one of the worst winters of my life I still think it would be cool to have my own flat sheet of ice to try skating or curling on... I guess if next winter is anywhere near as cold as this past one was ill build one and try doing something else than sit inside!

ruggster2 years ago
I checked this out and think it is cool but what advantage is there to using PVC over wood? For less than the price of the PVC you could buy PT and never have to replace those materials. I would think the set up and dissassembly would be easier with a simple circular saw and wood screws. Also, wood is much more forgiving than PVC.
jaypeak2 years ago
I've been making my rink following your instructions; so far so good. Did you end up making anything to go over the top of the corners? You mentioned maybe doing a wood triangle piece. I'm worried about skates cutting the plastic there. Thanks.
epiphanyMD3 years ago
Rink Size: 36 feet x 46 feet
2x10x8feet SPF Dimension Lumber [home depot]
20 pieces x $7/piece = $140

36 x 4" schedule 20 PVC sewer pipe [ home depot $20 with tax!].
= $720 for the PVC pipes.
Note: The layer that protects the plastic liner costs $720/3 = $360.

Whereas the 32x100ft 6mil poly liner only costs $200/2 = $100. [home depot]

Wood Total = $240
PVC =$820.

jfdestazio3 years ago
How do you compensate for ground that is not level? Our area drops about 6 to 8 inches.
xZCodmaNZx5 years ago
you spelled rink rong
you spelled wrong
 and bump, and "I". :) But we know what he meent.  :P
nolte9196 years ago
Have you ever tried using hot water to maintain your rink? If I remember from an episode of Monster Garage where they made a Zamboni, they used hot water. I think it bonds better with the ice or something.

Also, some people prefer to list their email like "zktech at aol dot com" so automatic webcrawlers don't find their email address as easily and add it to every list known to man. Although if I was writing the webcrawling software I'd look for that pattern too. Others include their email as a picture like this guy. That latter method probably works better.
instructors (author)  nolte9196 years ago
Hot water is a great Idea because it freezes faster (i don't get it either), the reason is because I don't get hot water from the hose connected to my house, and plus its usually below freezing most of the time at my house. Also thanks for the warning Ill be sure to change it!
the point of hot water is to melt a very thin surface of the ice to fill in the marks put by ice skated, i worked at an icerink
The hot water freeze faster because of evaporation. The process of evaporation substract heat this is why if you get wet with alcohol it feel fresh even at room temperature. Because alcohol is very volatile I hope you get the idea, sorry for my poor English
nolte919 lookas6 years ago
This would explain why the hotter water cools faster but at some point the hot water would be the same temperature as the cool-starting water. So why, at that point, would it continue to evaporate faster? I've heard of this phenomenon before, did a quick Google search, and found this excellent page. It does mention evaporation as one of five possible explanations, all of which could have an effect. This phenomenon has been observed with closed containers so factors other than evaporation must also be at work.

According to this site, hockey arena ice maker, Bruce Tharaldson, states why hot water is used: "The heated water, according to Tharaldson, is about 140 to 145 degrees Fahrenheit (60-63 centigrade); "the hotter the water," he says, "the more even a surface you'll get -- it melts that top layer when you cut across (the ice)."
 Hot water costs more money and is bad for the planet. use cold water and a large squeegee to put a thin smooth coat while cleaning the loose chaff at the same time. Try to reuse the liner for gardening or packaging, covering firewood, moisture proofing the basement, making a root cellar.
Facebook lists your email address as a picture on your profile page for just that reason
kalland4 years ago
I Have a problem!! I made a rink and it came out great BUT the january thaw came, made it into a pond and then refroze. The Problem is that when it refroze there are a ton of air pockets under a thin layer of ice.  Because it cracks when you walk on it it is ruined! What do i do? Shovel out the broken ice or flood it again?  There is not much room for more water.
pattyaitch4 years ago
'spelled rink rong???' Anyway I love it, and do thank you for this. I don't care about misspelled words, though good for a chuckle,. We've been planning to make a rink for a Granddaughter who is a figure skater. it's a trip of 50-70 miles to take her to practice. She could spend that travel time practicing on her own ice. Thanks again.
lava.tomato4 years ago
the hobo?
Nice project. Does it damage the grass? An easier way would be to clear the yard and flood it. :)
 We've done BY rinks for years, and when we take the plastic up,  the grass is actually quite a bit greener than the surrounding grass. The rink protects the grass from drying winds and frozen stomping damage,  holds moisture in the soil and may condense moisture as well. 
The clear liner sheet is usually not usable next year, blade  damage at edges  and mouse holes during the summer. We are planning to do some greenhouse/cold frames to reuse the plastic in Spring & Fall.
That sounds good. Too bad my parents won't let me try it. :(
 i tried to build a rink myself this year, if you want to know what not to do, i used wood boards and a plastic liner under the ice.  then again, i think it might work for some people because when i calculated the slope of my yard it was close to a foot from one end to the other. it is skatable so it was a success in a way
sharlston4 years ago
this is acctually really cool
Brilliant. I wish i had a big enough yard to do this although there isn't much better than going to the local pond and joining a quick pick up game of hockey with 8 or nine strangers. But this would definitely eliminate some of the problem with the pond by my house (giant hole from someone messing with the ice that has yet to fully freeze over[ watched people fall through the thin twice yesterday]
I would love to make the hand held Zamboni and take it to the pond to mend the ice but I have no hose there.
xZCodmaNZx5 years ago
 nice i plat ice hockey  this should be good

Hey I am trying to makes my rink on a soccer field because it is the flattest and most level place on the campus. the only thing is that there is grass on the field and the grounds people here are afraid that it will all die if we use it to make a rink on it. do you think that it will kill all of the grass? if you do, then are there ways to prevent that without moving sites?
Most grass, when dormant, can be covered without killing it off. Make sure it is uncovered and well watered before it is time for it to come out of dormancy though. Dormant grass doesn't use sunlight, so it shouldn't matter that it is covered. Your grounds people should know that!! :)
Caps? what caps do they come with the pipe or do you have to buy them separate?
how long did this step take you? How long do you think it will talk 9 teens and 2 adults?
carab5 years ago
Hi MAEKS84 or anyone else who may know the answer. We built a rink in our enclosed riding arena. We have been waiting patiently for the surface to sufficiently freeze. We have the barn doors open on the west side and the other sides have no openings. We have had well below freezing temps the past few days and nights. Yesterday we brought in a high velocity fan to circulate the freezing outside air. Our thermometer reads 21 inside the arena. Any suggestions??? REPLY[flag][delete]
You need to cover the area in thin lairs at a time. Let that freeze before you add the next lair. If you flood after dark, the sun will not be working against you. You can flood over snow if it is packed down real well. Flat ground is most helpful. In this case, you only put on enough water to dampen the snow at first. Use a nozzle on the end of the hose, the one you use on your delicate flowers. Once you get 1/4 to 3/8 or 1/2 of ice you can use the open ended hose. Again, think thin, thin, thin. I always flooded every night for about a week. Once ice has formed, try to flood as quickly as you can as this will give nice smooth ice. Just do not add to much water at a time as this tends to melt the ice below. INPORTANT NOTE If you use an outside fauset that was not instauled right ( it must slant down a little so it will drain ) it can freeze and crack makeing a leak in the house witch can go unnoticed for some time. Also, the fauset may freeze anyway. It would be best if you could run the hose from inside the house.
maeks84 carab5 years ago
I think the best solution is time and patience. Even at 21 degrees I think it would take a week or more to freeze. It's a pretty large amount of water that needs to be frozen. If I remember right, our temps got down to zero and it still took a couple of days. One idea my dad had was to run the water through lots of hose to cool it before it got to the rink. We weren't sure if that would help much though....
Looks a lot like this system in design, but a lot cheaper in price. Checkout the video page for assembly instructions.
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