What use to be just backyard fun for children has gone mainstream with the big kids!
I use hula hoops in some of my classes. And today I hosted a Sunday Shape Up hoop class with Title Nine Portland. I also I host a DIY Craft a New Body classes at my studio. One of the favorites is the is the DIY Fabric Decorated Hula Hoop workshop. Hooping is so fun I thought I'd share this basic tutorial on making your own hula hoop. And when I say basic, I mean really basic. But this will give you a chance to try one on for size, so to speak. (The bigger the hoop the easier it is to hoop around the waist, but when you get into arm hooping smaller is easier, until you get stronger, then you can manage a larger hoop.)
Once you have picked a size that works for you, check back when I add a tutorial on decorating your hoop with fabric. Most decorated hoops you see out there are wrapped with electrical tape. I like using fabric because I find it more forgiving to work with. Plus if you recycle old clothing, sheets, and fabric scraps, it's greener than the tapes, and the possibilities are endless.
What you'll need
10-12 feet feet of irrigation pipe*
1 3/4" male-male coupling
1 cup of sand or water (optional)
pipe cutter or saw
hair dryer and/or soap
*big box stores seem to sell it only in 100 ft lengths. But the kind folks at your local hardware stores often sell it by the foot. I got some at Division Hardware a Do-it-Best store and at the Hankins True Value Hardware on Hawthorne. Tell them what you're working on and they'll direct you to the proper material. That white PVC pipe is not the right stuff.
What to do
cut your tubing to your desired length. 10-12 feet is average. Like I said, play around with the sizes, then pick your favorite to decorate. You can invest in a pipe cutting tool or use a saw. I actually use our finishing saw, which makes quick work of it. It's easier to measure out your hoop if you just loop the pipe into a circle that comes up to somewhere between your hips and rib cage from the ground.
Insert the coupling into one end of the tubing. I use a bit of soap to lube the coupling and insert the coupling into the tubing by hand. Then push the coupling in by pushing into into the floor. A towel or a some sort of padding will keep you from making little circular divots in the floor. Ooops!
Add the water or sand if you want to weight your hoop a bit. This step is completely optional. It weights the hoop a bit so it's easier to hoop around your waist. I've added BBs too, but it was annoyingly loud. You don't really hear the water at all. The sand, just a bit. Just pour it into the tubing from the open end. If you don't want to add weight to your hoop, just skip do the next step.
Heat the other end of the tubing or lube the other end of the coupling. Closing the hoop is more challenging. Heating it up a bit makes it more pliable. You can use a hair dryer. More soap can help as well. If you're indoors and heat it up be sure to open the windows for good air circulation.
Close the opening of the hoop by inserting the coupling into the other end of the hoop. You might have to wiggle it a bit to close it up. It really is a bugger to close so try some more heat if you can't get it to close.
Voila! You basic hoop.
Stay tuned! I'll be adding a tutorial on fabric decorated hoops, soon. Promise!