How to make a collapsible Hula Hoop.
Parts for this hoop can be found at http://www.thespinsterz.com/supplies/collapsible-hoop-kit.htm
How to make a hula hoop, complements of Jason Unbound http://jasonunbound.com/hoops.html
The poly tubing usually used for irrigation is ideal for making hula hoops. Most hoopers use either 160 psi 3/4″ diameter pipe (my favorite) or 100 psi 1″ diameter. If you want a lighter hoop, or are making them for kids, use 100 psi 3/4″ tubing. (Note: 160 psi 1″ will make a very heavy hoop.) Tubing usually comes in 100 foot coils, and can be found at irrigation supply stores, and at some Home Depot and Lowe’s-type retailers. (Prices range from $15-35 per 100′ — enough for 8 hoops)
[Having trouble finding tubing? Hooping.org has suggestions.]
* Ratcheting PVC cutter (the best way to cut tubing – see below)
* Insert-connectors (1″ connectors for 1″ tubing ; 3/4″ for 3/4″ tubing)
* Colorful tape (electrical tape works well)
* hairdryer (to soften the tube ends – soaking in hot water also works)
Choose your hoop size – and cut. (My hoops are usually between 11’6″ and 13′ in circumference, but instead of measuring you could just make a loop that stands somewhere between navel and shoulder height.) You could use a hacksaw or a sturdy blade, but to make a safe, clean & easy cut, I’ve invested in a $12 ratcheting PVC cutter. It works beautifully.
The two ends will be connected with an inserted connector. These should be available wherever you buy the tubing. Make sure you get 1″ connectors if your tube is 1″ in diameter (and 3/4″ connectors only if you have 3/4″ tube).
At this point, you can add weight or noisemakers into the hoop. For extra weight (a better workout – and perhaps a bruised waist), pour in a cup of water or sand. For noise, pour in 20-30 small beans or corn kernels. (Note that you can’t easily get these things out once the hoop is made, and that you might not always want to have a noisy hoop….)
The tubing ends must be heated to make them pliable enough to accept the connector. A few minutes of focused hairdryer heat will do the trick, as will soaking the ends in hot water. (You can also carefully hold them over a stovetop gas flame, but you really don’t want to start melting the stuff.)
Quickly grab a connector, and push the two tube ends together over the connector. If it doesn’t go in, you need to heat it up more. The connector should disappear entirely within the tubing. As the tubing cools, it will contract around the connector for a strong seal.
I don’t think it’s needed, but I usually duct tape the seal.
At this point you could also apply some padding. Matt recommends wrapping copper pipe insulation; I like Rubatex pipe insulation that fits over the hoop..
Now comes the fun part: Decorating!
I tend to make colorful candycane stripes of electrical tape. You could also duct tape the whole thing, or leave it black. A huge selection of tape, from the mundane to the fantastic, can be found at identi-tape.com
Three finished hoops, ready for action.