Building a DIY Ice Rink has been a wonderful addition to our backyard this winter!
Just a few days after Christmas, my family and I got to talking and decided that a DIY backyard ice rink ink would be the perfect addition to Fletcher Creek Cottage! We had a few more days left of Christmas break and we all felt like doing a family project before getting back to our normal routines. Winters in Northern Michigan are beautiful but can drag on and sometimes just getting outside and having fun is the best way to enjoy those long winter months.
Framing The Ice Rink
A friend of the family runs a small sawmill nearby so we gave him a call, hopped in the truck, and headed his way. He had a few 12 foot, 1×8 rough sawn boards that he gave us a great deal on. He also sold us a couple of solid oak boards for us to cut up and use as stakes around the perimeter of the rink. The ground was already frozen so having oak stakes instead of pine was super helpful. We framed up the rink using the 1x8s and staked the outer edge every few feet. Then we attached the 1x8s to the stakes with screws.
Lining the Ice Rink
Since this was our first time building an ice skating rink we wanted to keep it relatively small so we could manage it easily. We decided that roughly 30×60 would be big enough for us to skate but not too large to maintain. We built the ice rink next to the garden because it really the only area on our property that is level enough for an ice rink. After the frame was built, we used a heavy-duty 30×60 tarp similar to this one to line the inside and used a staple gun to secure it to the inside of the frame.
Flooding the rink and building the ice
After the tarp/liner was secured we used a garden hose to flood it. We let it fill up for a couple of hours and then let it freeze. Once there were a few inches of ice on the rink we added more water. The kids are really enjoying learning how to skate and it’s been really nice to have one more outdoor activity to enjoy this winter! And even though Christmas is over…my husband insisted on placing the Christmas tree in the center of the ice rink! He’s not ready to let go of his holiday cheer just yet and I’m glad! It looks really magical at night all lit up…even if Christmas is over!
We brought two of our DIY benches from the pavilion over to use while putting on our skates and to use when we want to rest!
Maintaining the Ice Rink
Thankfully we had really great temps for building good ice this past week. We’ve gotten some snow that made it a little slushy for a bit, but after shoveling it off and resurfacing it…it was fine the next day. We have been using a garden hose attached to an “Ice Resurfacer” to resurface the ice after we’ve skated for a while and are done skating.
It only takes a few minutes to resurface and then we just make sure to drain all the water out of it (and the hose) before storing it inside the garage. The ice has some imperfections, but it’s working great for us! We’re quite thrilled with how well it turned out!
We’ve already had so much fun skating around! It feels so good just to be outside and try something new! We’re so glad we decided to give an Ice Rink a try! In fact, we love it so much that the kids have already mapped out exactly where next year’s ice rink will go…and they’re wanting to more than double the size so they can get a Hockey game going!
I’m definitely going to need some more practice before participating in that…and a mouthguard, …and maybe some bubble wrap!
My parents have built an ice rink before and have accumulated an assortment of skates so we want to say a huge THANK YOU to my parents, Gary and Jan Bower for lending us all the skates and equipment!
If You’re New To This Like Us, Here Are Some Things to Consider before building an Ice Skating Rink :
- Make sure not to build your ice rink over anything like your septic or drain field.
- If you use a dark color tarp/plastic for a liner, it will melt faster on sunny days. We used a light gray tarp and it’s holding up great so far.
- Consider stringing lights! It gets dark so early in the winter. Having outdoor lighting around the rink makes it a fun evening activity!
- Think about how you’ll put on your skates. We put my DIY Benches on one end of the rink to sit on while we put on our skates. If you don’t have a bench you could use a lawn chair.
- This isn’t a “must” but bringing out a Bluetooth speaker and streaming your favorite playlist is a great way to make ice skating even more fun!
- Investing in an ice resurfacer like this one is something I highly recommend. My parents had one so we are just using theirs and it really helps keep the ice smooth. The one we have attaches to a garden hose and we use our garage Frost-Free spigot to run water over the rink daily.
- Large shovel or an ice rink shovel
- An Ice Rink takes daily attention to keep it smooth. If you live somewhere where it’s cold in the winter, it’s well worth the time and little investment to have though! It’s a lot of fun!