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Over the years my rink has morphed from a 19x30 to it's current 30x50 size. I have gone from just enough boards to hold the needed water, to enough boards to give me a minimum of 4" of boards (which keeps the puck on the rink). I have made round corners and added bumper caps. Most recently, I have added kickplates to help protect the liner from the puck, skates and shovel. The below article WAS my "How to" for this site, but I have ammended it to be more of a timeline for my personal rink and I created a new "How to" for the site

This is how I build my rink and it is not to say that you "HAVE TO" do it this way. At a minnimum this will get you headed in the right direction. Here is the process I have gone through to make my rink.

Find a spot for your rink. You want to go as big as you can and you want to find as level of an area as you can. For some the level of your yard dictates the location of the rink while others have no choice based on the size they want and they just have to deal with the level of the yard. See the following article... (Where to Build) Once you have found your rink location you have to figure out the size, shape and height of the boards that you will need to hold in the water for your rink.

The Size: You should go as big as you can, the bigger the better.

The Shape: Perfect square? Rectangle? Square corners? Round corners? Do you go around a tree or other non-movable object? (I go around a tree in one corner of my rink)

The Height of the boards: In order to know this you will need to find out just how level, or not, your yard is. I already have an article on how to do this here... (Leveling Your Rink)

Make a list and get the supplies. Now you can go to the store and get your supplies. Your list will vary depending on the material you use.

My list looked like this... (my rink is 30x44)

Quantity Description
1 40' x 60' white tarp (purchased here)
1 Box Deck Screws (3")
1 Box Sheetrock Screws (1-1/4")
20 Simpson Strong Tie (flat plate 4" x 6")
20 2" x 10" x 8'
40 2" x 2" x 2' stakes


As you can see I used 2x10s to build my frame, you can use 3/4" plywood cut down to the height you need instead of using 2x?. If you use plywood you will need to find shorter screws for the "strong ties" as the ones I use will come through the plywood and damage your liner.

Assemble the frame. Here in Eastern Massachusetts I put my frame in around Thanksgiving so I don't have too much difficulty driving in the stakes, plus it isn't bitter cold yet. I lay out my boards roughly where they will end up and use the "strong ties" to create one long piece of framing, securing them with the "sheetrock screws" (the "strong ties" are on the outside of the frame). Once I have all four sides attached I join the corners and secure them using a "strong tie" that is bent in half to make an "L". Overlap the framing at the corner and secure with two "deck screws", then screw the plate so that it wraps both sides of the corner.

Secure the frame. Once you have all four corners tied together you will need to stake off the frame. You can use the following article as a guide to staking your frame... (Staking Your Frame)

Congratulations, you now have your frame complete and now you just have to wait for the cold to settle in. You will need at least three days of consistent below freezing (temps around 20 F) in order to freeze three inches of ice. So watch the weather forecasts and when you see a good stretch coming put in your liner and fill 'er up.

Install the liner. Installing the liner is a pretty simple and straight forward process. Unfold the liner, place it inside your frame, make sure the liner comes over the top of the frame and has about one foot of excess overhang. Here is where there are different ways to go, you can staple the liner to the backside of your frame and hope you gave enough slack to compensate for grade differences in your yard OR you can start to fill the rink with the liner loose and staple it once it has filled to the desired height. Personally i leave the liner until I have the rink full.

Start filling. You need a minimum of three inches of water to hold an average adult, so your "high" end (shallow end) is going to determine how much water you will need. Once you have filled the rink let Mother Nature do her thing and do not give in to temptation to "test" the ice. Personally I give myself a little room under the frame to reach my hand under to test the thickness of the ice, once I am sure I have at least three inches of ice I send the kids out to test it. I generally wait another day or two once they can get on the ice before I give it a try.

NOTE! Now that you have your rink you may want to read some of the articles on "maintenance" so you can get the most out of your investment. (Tips & Tricks)

Modifications. October 2, 2007

This year I am going for rounded corners, see how I made them here.


UPDATE. January 18, 2011

Over the years there have been many modofications to the rink, here is the current materials list...

Quantity Description Cost
1 40' x 100' white sheet of poly (cut into two 50 foot lengths) $280
1 Box Sheetrock Screws (1-1/4") $10
20 Simpson Strong Tie (flat plate 4" x 6") $30
10 2" x 12" x 12' $200
27 2' x 1/2" rebar $50
6 3' Radius corners (the 2 extra allow the rink to go around a tree) $60
30 Pool noodles split to form a "C" (bumper caps for the boards) $30
4 Red rope lights (18' lengths connected as one) $48

All materials were purchased from Home Depot except for the liner and pool noodles. The liner comes from J. Freeman in Dorchester, MA and the pool noodles came from Walmart during their summer clearance in mid September one year. The corners have survived four seasons (including this one) and will need to be rebuilt with perhaps different material, but that is a summer project.

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