04 November, 2013

Tutorial: Make Your Own Hula Hoops!

Step 1: Buy your supplies. 

Check list:

Whenever I look at Hula Hoop making tutorials online they all use measurements specific to American piping, like, what does 3/4inch 100psi even MEAN?!?! If you're from the UK you want 20mm MDPE water pipe which results in the perfect weight hoop - not too light and not too heavy. I've included links to where you can buy everything above but most of the supplies can be bought from DIY and craft shops. You may even find you can buy smaller amounts of pipe in store if you only want to make one or two hoops.

As for tapes I use Pro-Gaff gaffer tapes. They're easy to manipulate and fabric-like which provides grip. You can combine these with shiny sparkly tapes for an awesome hoop!

Step 2: Measure, Cut and Connect. 

Although hoops sold online tend to come in standard sizes (36" inches being particularly popular, 38" for those who like a bigger hoop and smaller for kids) when making your own you want the hoop to sit from the floor up to somewhere between your hips and chest. I personally like my hoops on the small size and go for hip height. Buying proper pipe cutters will save time and effort but there are many other tools you may have at home that you can use.

Connecting the two parts is the most difficult part. You can use a hairdryer or boiling water to soften the ends and slowly push the connector in. It can be a slow process and requires a bit of strength. Ideally if using a hairdryer you'd have two people, one holding the hairdryer and the other pushing the connector in but if you're clever you can hold the hairdryer between your knees, free up a hand and thus be able to do it by yourself! 

The second side of the connector sometimes slides out whilst it is still warm creating a rather large gap (you'll have a small gap regardless unless you sand down the middle of the connector). If you want to avoid the gap you'll need to hold the two ends in tight until the pipe cools down.

Step 3: Taping! 

Taping is fiddly but there are some things you'll figure out real quick as you go along. Shiny tapes must go on first as they generally won't stick to gaffer tape. Leave a gap between the tapes that is slightly smaller than the next tape you'll put on. Gaffer tape is fairly malleable so you can stretch it any way you need to but it also sticks together and ruins itself easily so never have any excess tape hanging down. It is time consuming and you'll probably want to kill someone by the end of it but...pretty hoops!!! There are lots of pretty patterns you can make and you don't have to just use two tapes, you can use as many as you like.

Step 4: Enjoy!

Making hula hoops rather than buying ready made works out cheaper but only if you need a large number of them. I made my set so I can start teaching my own class and also so I can start working with multiple hoops at home. I would love to be able to hoop on my knees, stomach, chest, neck and hands ALL at the same time! 

You can also in theory make your own polypro's, fire and LED hoops and there are tutorials for these all over the internet. Happy hoop making!

- Bex