How to build your own rink

Materials Needed

  • Sub zero temperatures
  • Level surface
  • A border to contain water
  • Water!

Bare Ground Base


  • A tarp large enough for your desired rink size plus extra all around to wrap tarp on inside and outside of wooden border. (A white tarp will resist melting)
  • Wooden border (frame) 2" by 8"
  • Extra lumber, brackets and screws to assemble frame. (Build brackets on outside edge of rink frame)

Directions: Assemble frame on clean ground. Lay tarp over the frame and tuck the material firmly into the corners and inside edge of frame. Fold remaining tarp up and over the frame and nail to outside edge. Flood the rink. (See flooding tips.)

Snow Base


  • 10-15 cm of snow
  • Shovel

Directions: Pack down snow so it is hard and level. Build up a dense low snow bank around perimeter of rink at least 30 cm high to contain flood water. Lightly soak your snow base and wait for it to freeze. Then, gradually add to your base over several days. (See flooding tips)

Flooding tips:

  • A garden hose nozzle set of spray allows for greater control
  • A lawn sprinkler can be set up and left for a while. Don't forget to re-position it!
  • If you have an incline, start at the top of the hill!
  • Too much water a once results in splintered ice. Build a foundation and add slowly.
  • Experiment with using warm and cold water. A nice hot water bath on the final crust helps smooth the surface.
  • Remember to bring the hose inside when not in use!
  • Specialized rink-surfacing tools that attach to a garden hose can be found on line or at hardware stores.

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