In this project we will teach you how to make a backyard ice skating rink. We also have a YouTube video of our entire process.
1. A Large Tarp. The size depends on how large you want your rink to be. We used a 30x60. Make sure to get a size larger than the skating area so there is enough tarp to cover the perimeter of your rink.
2. Perimeter material. This could be sand, PVC pipe or logs. More on this in step 1.
3. Access to water and a hose
4. A line level
5. Ice skates!
6. Outdoor Christmas Lights
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Step 1: Prepare a Level Area & Perimeter for Water
Preparation goes a long way. Most of the work in setting up a rink is preparing a good area for the water to freeze. Our particular ice skating rink is just under 30x60 feet. We bought a large 30x60 tarp to hold in the water while it freezes.
We needed to create a level area smaller than the size of the tarp by a few feet in order to allow the tarp to go up and over a perimeter to hold in the water. It's basically like building a really shallow pool. There are several materials that could be used to make this perimeter, but first make sure you select a very LEVEL area. You can pull a string tight over the area and use a small string level. Water will level itself out, but if you have an area that drops in elevation significantly you could end up with a really shallow side and a really deep side and use more water than needed.
Depending on your area, there are several materials you could use for your perimeter. We used sand (because we have a very sandy area). Initially we were going to cut down and use some medium sized logs for the perimeter. People also use PVC pipes as pictured.
We created the perimeter to be 2 feet less than our tarp. So 28 feet wide by 58 feet long.
Step 2: Position the Tarp
Be sure there are not any sticks or stones or anything sharp before laying the tarp. If you end up with a hole in the tarp it will be a nightmare to try to repair to ensure it holds water.
Use some rocks or bricks to weigh down the edges. Once you fill it with water it will stay in place, but in the meantime a good wind could cause the entire tarp to move.
Step 3: Add Water in Layers...
For this part we added enough water to just cover the surface. We let it sit over night to freeze and the next day we added more water. We ended up doing this for 3 days.
We did it this way rather than pouring all the water at one time in hopes that it would freeze faster in layers.
Be sure to get all the water out of your hose when done OR put it in an area where it won't freeze. We have a heated garage so we put it in their to prevent the water left over in the hose from freezing.
Step 4: Add Lights and Skate!
We had some posts nearby from our volleyball area. We attached some outdoor christmas lights and it really brought the entire project together, plus it is fun to skate at night!
If you want to see this project in video form, check out our YouTube video we did for this here-