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Friday, May 30, 2014

How to Make Your Own Hula Hoop!

Hula Hoops have been around for quite some time – I remember playing with them all the time as a kid.  Who would have thought that as an adult I would return to that pastime with an equal or greater sense of enjoyment?  In the past decade or so Hula Hoops have been making a tremendous come back…they are a great form of exercise and there are many challenging tricks that you can learn.

Making your own hoop is a wonderful craft and much simpler than you might think!  

What you will need: 
  • PVC Pipe and Connector
  • Pot with 3/4 Water
  • Scissors
  • Duct Tape
  • Hoop Tape
  • Mini Saw
  • Sand Paper


  1. Choosing the PVC Pipe.  There are various different sizes of pipe to choose from, and the weight and thickness determines how light the hoop is and how fast it will spin.  The usual size options are determined by skill level:

    1" Pipe - Beginner level.  This is the heaviest and therefore will move the slowest.  It is great for work outs and learning the basics.
    3/4" Pipe - Intermediate level.  This moves a bit faster and is great for learning tricks.
    1/2" Pipe - Expert level.  This pipe size is very light, and the hoop will move rather quickly.  It is great for cardio work outs and advanced tricks.
  2. Choosing the Size of the Hoop.  The size of the hoop is also determined mostly by skill level.  Usually it is best to start with a larger diameter and as you advance move to smaller hoops.  For a beginner, you usually want to start with a hoop with a diameter from the floor to your belly button or just below.

    The size does not have to be exact; merely hold the PVC tubing up to your body and eye the size you want.  Make a mark with a pencil.
  3. Saw the Pipe.  Hold the hoop firmly and carefully cut the pipe at the mark.  This is what it should look like once it's been sawed.

  4. Bring the Water in the Pot to a Boil.
  5. Connecting the Hoop Ends.  Hold one end of the pipe in the boiling water and count for 60 seconds.  Pull it out of the water and insert the connector, leaving half of it sticking out.

    Now hold the other end of the pipe in the water for 60 seconds and then slide it over the rest of the connector; squeeze and hold them together tightly.  Place the connected part under running cold water for a few seconds to help the plastic cool.  Once you are done it should look like this:



    Notice that the connection isn't perfect - that's okay, we will fix that and you won't even be able to tell.  Also, it is a bit hard to notice in the picture but there are little plastic "frays" where the pipe was cut - this is okay as well and we will take care of it in the next step.
  6. Clean and Smooth the Pipe.  With a damp paper towel, wipe down the hoop and remove any dirt.  Using the sand paper, rub over the connection and smooth out the little plastic frays.  (You may also use a nail file for this step.)

  7. Seal the Connection.  Grab the duct tape and cut about a 3" piece, then cut that down the middle.  Going right over where the pipes are connected, wrap the duct tape around the hoop.  Do it softly as you place it on the pipe and then squeeze once you've gone around to make sure you don't get any ridges.  Reinforce the connection in the same way on each side and really make the connection strong.  I usually put 2 - 3 layers of duct tape.
  8. Pick Out Tape.  There are three main types of tape used:
    - Shiny/Glitter Tape
    - Electrical Tape
    - Gaffer Tape

    There are various places to purchase tape from, I usually buy mine from Identi-Tape - they have a HUGE variety of colors, styles, and sizes.

    I usually have a pattern of one or two glitter tapes, one electrical tape and one gaffer tape.  The electrical tape helps keep the glitter tape down, the gaffer tape helps give traction to keep the hoop from sliding off your body.  The glitter/ shiny tape easily slides off your skin, especially once you are sweating so this is something to keep in mind.
  9. Applying the Tape.  You will be wrapping the hoop with the tape at an angle - which is determined by how many different tapes you are using.  The more tape, the greater the angle.  Hold the hoop tapes you have chosen together and put them up against the hoop to get an idea of how much room you need and what angle.  Remember, that there will be some overlap, so you want to undershoot the width.
  10. First apply the glitter tape, keep in mind the angle.  This will take the most time.  Unlike the other types of tape, this kind is not very forgiving.  Work slowly and be patient, if you mess up and have a crease, unwrap the tape and re-apply.  It can be somewhat tricky to keep it smooth and even, but just slide your hand over it as you go along and don't try to make it PERFECT or you will drive yourself crazy.  Remember that there will be other layers you will be adding and in the finished product small mistakes are not noticeable (especially once the hoop is moving around you!)

        

    For this particular hoop that I am making I used two different glitter tapes. I apply both glitter tapes first.



    As you can see, the spacing is not perfect, but that is alright because once the other tapes are added, it will look even.
  11. Next apply the electrical tape.  Overlap part of the electrical tape with the glitter tape to help hold the glitter tape to the PVC pipe.  This tape is MUCH easier to work with and it is stretchy so it is very easy to apply and great for fixing mistakes.


  12. Finally apply the gaffer tape.  This tape is also pretty stretchy and forgiving, so simply apply, also providing some overlap.  



    And now you are ready for some hooping! 
Happy Hooping Everyone!




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