Build an Amazing Climbing Wall Volume!

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The Video shows the entire proecess!

Got a bare climbing wall? Add some texture!

Reccomended Products:
Epoxy Resin

Hardner for Epoxy Resin

T-Nuts with Screw Holes

T-Nuts with Prongs (Cheaper, but a bit more work.)

Angle Gauge

Step 1: Cut Out the Panels! Plan Included in Pdf.

You should use 20mm or 3/4" plywood. I used my CNC to cut out the triangles since that is easier, but you can also draw the shapes on the wood and cut them out with a bandsaw, jigsaw, handsaw or best a circular saw. Drill the holes to match the size of your T-nuts. In my case its 13mm. Measure twice. Cut once!

Step 2: Bevel the Edges! Its Easier Than You Think!

All angles are specified. They are a bit difficult to get your head around. The angles between two faces are given on the plan and half of these angles make the angles on each panel.


Most table saws can only cut to 45°, so to cut more acute angles you have to place the panel vertical as in the third picture. I used the white particle board as a sacrificial backing board to widen the base of the panel. Otherwise your blade would need to touch your fence. Its clearer in the video. When the blade removes the wedge along the edge, the whole board would only rest on a pointy edge which is not ideal. Hence, the sacrificial board.

Angle Gauge
My Amazing Table Saw

Measure twice, cut once! Watch your fingers and use push sticks!

Step 3: Drill Pocket Holes.

I found the best way to join the panels is by using pocket holes. A pocket hole jig helps, but you can also free hand them with a 10mm or 3/8" drill. The holes get filled later anyway and won´t be visible.

Step 4: Time for Glue Up!

This is where it all comes together. Add wood glue to all surfaces and join the panels with screws. Make sure everything is aligned correctly. Then join both halves together. Use plenty of glue and screws! If your cuts where not accurate you can smoth out the gaps later.

Step 5: Fill the Holes With Epoxy Putty and Hide Any Mistakes.

Mix the epoxy well and add some saw dust from earlier to create a putty. Fill all the holes and sand them flat. Afterwards mix some epoxy with the sanding dust and fill any remaning holes. Sand them again to get a super smooth surface.

Epoxy Resin

Hardner for Epoxy Resin

Step 6: Sand the Edges to Your Liking.

Sand the edges, this is supprisingly easy and takes only a few minutes with a palm sander. Also sand the pointy ends. Otherwise they will break of during use and transport.

Step 7: Paint! the Most Satisfying Step!

So how do you get a perfect sand texture? Here is how I do it.

Which paint do you use?
I use 2 component acrylic automotive paint designed for heavy machinery. It is advertiesed as super durable. You can also use epoxy or polyurethane based paints. There are soooo many paints out there. Find a good store and ask for advice. The advantage of 2 component paint is that it cures with itself and not with the air. So even thick layers will get hard.

I also tried 1k alkyd resin type paint. The problem with that is that first it needs to gas out over a day or so and then it reacts with oxygen in the air to harden the paint. This can take weeks! And multiple layers can block the oxygen from layers underneath. Its cheaper but can cause grief when it stays soft for weeks or months.

How do you prepare the paint?

Clean of all surface dust. You can use a primer, but there is no need to. Weigh both parts of the paint according to the data sheet. The rule for 2k resins is to mix until you think it´s enough. Then mix some more. Otherwise you could ruin it.

How do you paint it?
Use a brush or a roller to apply a coat of paint. Straight after that sprinkle fine silica sand over it. You can get it in any home improvement store. The grain should be 0.1-0.7mm in diameter. This will make a texture just like in your climbing gym. Resist the urge to touch the sprinkled sand. Just sprinkle and let it sit. It will look patchy at first but only the sand in contact with the paint will stick. You can brush of the rest once the paint is cured. If you start patching it up you will just ruin a good paint job. After the first layer has cured dust of the excess sand. Add some more layers of paint depending on the viscosity of the paint.

Enjoy! Your volume should look amazing by now!

Step 8: Almost Done! Add Screw Inserts and Drill Holes for Mounting.

Use M10 t-nuts or 3/8" if you live in America. There are screw in type nuts which I used, but you can also get hammer nuts that are supposed to be hammered in. That doesn´t work very well in plywood, so if you want to use them you should pre drill holes for the spikes. Screw in t-nuts are much more convenient.

Drill some holes for screws and counter sink them to mount the volume to the wall. Make sure the mounting screws don´t stick out.

T-Nuts with Screws

Step 9: Done!

Mount that thing and enjoy that feeling of having created something that wasn´t there before. You are a maker!

DIY Summer Camp Challenge

Runner Up in the
DIY Summer Camp Challenge

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    23 Discussions

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    CarsonR6

    6 weeks ago

    Thanks for posting, this is the first time I've seen a DIY rock climbing project that looks professional - amazing work.

    Do you have any tutorials for your wall?

    I'm planning to make a 20' x 20' bouldering wall, but haven't been able to find any DIY tutorials like yours - most are garage walls that are flat plywood and simple framing. Hoping to know how to frame overhangs, make non-rectangle transitions, secure to wall, ceiling, and floor, etc.

    2 replies
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    AviadCCarsonR6

    Reply 6 weeks ago

    I built a 20' X 16' wall earlier this year. Here are a couple videos of the final product.
    I don't have instructions for it, but can share a 3D sktechup file of it. It has all the dimensional wood, layers, etc. This is an outdoor climbing wall and I had to build int around the geomtry of a tree. But it is essentially a free standing structure. The wood is treated lumber (including the plywood). The plywood is 3/4" and painted with deck wood (10X rustoleum). Now I'm adding volumes to it.


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    CarsonR6AviadC

    Reply 5 weeks ago

    Thanks for sharing! Great to see. Would love it if you could share the 3D sketchup file if you don't mind! I'm just getting started in Sketchup, so it would be a great place to see how the pros do it :)

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    RomanS134

    Question 8 weeks ago

    Hello! Thanks for volume !) could you tell me why I can’t open the angle guide? Is it open for premium users only? Thanks!

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    rogertcrobertbreyer

    Reply 10 months ago

    sorry, i was totally wrong. they are simetrical ;) your software needs to work it out.

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    rogertc

    10 months ago

    awesome :) ! i have 2 doubts though:

    -Why the holes in minute 1:19?

    -Why the holes in minute 1:22? Are they the same holes as minute 1:12 but done manually (without pocket hole jig)?

    1 reply
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    Max Makerrogertc

    Reply 10 months ago

    The manual holes were done because the pocket hole jig has the wrong angle for this. The angle needed to be steeper, so I did it by hand, but with the pocket hole drill.

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    MarcP84

    1 year ago

    Hi, can you provide a link to the exact paint you use? Where do you purchase it? Thanks so much for the awesome instruction!

    1 reply
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    Max MakerMarcP84

    Reply 1 year ago

    Since I bought them in a local german shop, I cannot unfortunatley. Sorry, any durable 2k outdoor paint should work.

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    reiverdean

    1 year ago

    Whats the exact type of paint you used? I tried finding the 2k type you mentioned, but ended up buying a 2 component U-pol paint. It seemed a little thin, compared to the stuff you applied.

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    Max Makerreiverdean

    Reply 1 year ago

    My stuff was very thin too. Thinner than water it seemed. I gave it a few coats.

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    hdorsett09

    1 year ago

    What size screws did you use to anchor the pieces together?

    1 reply
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    Max Makerhdorsett09

    Reply 1 year ago

    4.5mm x 45mm up to 4.5mm x 80mm. I recommend Torx screws and buying a good quality Torx bit. A 5$ bit will last 3000 screws. A cheap one from a set sometimes only 20. I also recommend buying screws as big packs since you always use more than you think.

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    SiDawg

    2 years ago

    Those things are called "volumes" huh? I hate how things somehow end up being known by generic words that don't really describe what they are. Like how people call sharpening sticks "steels". Yes, it is made out of steel... along with millions of other things. Or in this case, yes, this is something that has volume... (opposed to what... an object in 2 dimensional space??). Literally everything in the known universe has volume. (Or is it everything is energy and nothing has volume? I dunno... one of those)

    OK Rant over: your "thing that adds an alternate angle on to a climbing wall" looks awesome nice job :) Let's just agree to call it, i dunno, a "Cwangle"

    3 replies
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    SiDawgMark 42

    Reply 2 years ago

    What am I going to do with all these Cwangle shirts??

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    Mark 42SiDawg

    Reply 2 years ago

    Invent a Cwangle, of course.

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    AndyS147

    2 years ago

    This volume looks pretty great. Can you comment on how well the paint/texture is holding up in a gym setting? If it's holding up decently, would you mind sharing the brand and variety of paint you used, including primer? It's been proving very hard to find something that will hold up to even home gym use.