How to make a hula hoop of your own. Happy hooping…
See how to make a hula hoop then explore the hooping community and find your kind. Turn a childhood game into something more!
When most people think of hula-hooping, it may conjure up memories of unsuccessful personal attempts at making a ring go round and round. Or folk in shiny leotards spinning with thirty hoops all at once. Or the acrobatic hooping skills of acts such as Hoop La La. Impressive as it looks, it certainly isn’t accessible to most people.
However, people’s perception of hula-hooping is changing and it’s time to get your hoop on! Toy hoops are notoriously difficult to use due to their flimsy construction. Today’s hoops are much larger and thicker, making them easier to hoop with (the bigger the hoop, the slower the rotation). They can also be decorated any way you like. You can make yours into a foldable travel hoop, decorate it with glow-in-the-dark paint and/or LEDs and even turn it into a fire hoop.
Hula hooping helps improve your co-ordination and balance. With hoop dance practice you can learn how to hoop on different parts of your body, then combine these with music and ‘off-body’ moves (known as hoop tricks) to create a dance all your own. Hula hooping is a free-for-all, irrespective of age, size, gender or ‘dance-ability’. Why not give it a try?
How to get started with hula hooping
1. Visit Hulahooping.co.uk to find other members of the hooping community and explore classes in your area. If there aren’t any, then YouTube is the way to go, with plenty of hoop-dance tutorials and performance videos. Some names to check out Hoopnotica, Hoop Girl and BodyHoops.
2. You’ll need to get your own hula hoop! If you manage to get to a class, the instructor there will usually have hoops provided so you can try out a size that’s right for you.
3. Or… Make one!
As a general guide, it is recommended that you start off with a hoop that measures somewhere between your navel and nipple. It is important to get a hoop that you’re comfortable with. As you progress with your hooping skills, you can experiment with different hoop sizes. It’s quite common for hoopers to own a variety of hoop sizes, depending on their style of hooping.
4. If there’s nothing near you? Start a hula hoop revolution (get it? They go round and round) of your own!
What you need to make a hula hoop:
- MDPE tubing (available from irrigation and plumbing stores). They come in a variety of thicknesses. The 2 that you’ll need are 25mm and 20mm. Start with the 25mm for a beginner’s hoop.
- Tape measure
- Marker pen
- Plastic tubing (PVC) cutter, which should be available in the same place as the tubing. Otherwise try DIY stores like B&Q or Homebase or your local tool shop.
- 1 x ½” connector from Fancy Tapes. (These are imported from the States and aren’t commercially available in the UK).
- Hair dryer OR bowl of boiling water.
- Rubber gloves
- Tapes to decorate the hoop, available from Fancy Tapes.
How to make a hula hoop – just add love and DIY
1. First, decide what diameter you want your hoop to be.
2. Most beginners start off with a 40″ outside diameter size. If you aren’t sure, measure a size somewhere between nipple and navel height. The bigger the hoop, the slower it will rotate. It’s easier to start hooping with a bigger hoop.
3. Work out the circumference of the hoop by multiplying the diameter by 3.14. For a 40″ diameter hoop this would be 40 x 3.14 = 125.6″ (I’ve kept the measurement in inches to avoid confusion, but you can convert it to work in cms if you prefer).
4. Use the tape measure to measure out 125.6″ and then mark this with your marker pen. Get the PVC cutter to cut the tubing there you’ve marked it.
5. Put on the gloves. Have the connector ready by your side. If you have chosen to use a hairdryer, turn it on to its hottest setting. Holding both ends of the tubing, point the dryer at the 2 ends. Spread the heat around the 2 tubing ends to speed up the heating process.
TIP: It helps if you have the concentrator nozzle on to speed up the process.
6. If you are using boiling water, dip the two ends of the tubing into it and hold it there for a minute, or until they have softened enough.
7. Once you are satisfied that both of the tubing ends have been softened, take the connecter and push it into both ends of the tubing. You should be able to get the tubing to go over the ridges of the connector. However, if all the pushing in the world isn’t getting the tubing to move, you may need to heat up the tubing again. This will be easier if you have used the hairdryer method, as you can concentrate the heat where you need it. Otherwise, just dip the tubing back into the water or run it under hot water.
8. Keep repeating the heating process until the 2 ends of the tubing slide over the connector so that the 2 tubing ends meet. You shouldn’t be able to see the connector (although you may still be able to see the middle ridge of the connector, but this shouldn’t matter). Leave the tubing to cool or use the cold shot button on your hairdryer, if it has one.
At this point, if your hula hoop is looking more like an oval than a circle, you can bend the hoop to ‘shape’ it.
But that’s it. You’ve basically made your own hula hoop. Congrats.
Ideas for decorating your hula hoop
Want to wrap tape around your hula hoop to get the classic look?
Get at least two tapes in contrasting colours. Start off with one tape, keeping the spacing as even as possible to ensure you don’t get too big a gap for your next tape. It’s easier to work standing up, keeping the hoop upright between your legs and wrapping the tape in an even motion around the hula hoop.
Repeat for the rest of the tape colours you have chosen.
You can put as few or as many colours on your hoop as you want. Remember that the more tapes you put on it, the heavier the hula hoop will be.
TIP: When you begin to tape your hula hoop, you may want to get your second tape colour and ‘measure’ the gaps between the first tape to ensure that they are even. It’s better to let the tapes overlap slightly to ensure there are no gaps. But even if you end up with a slight gap between tapes, that’s no bad thing and may even look deliberate!