A handmade hula hoop costs about the same as a store-bought hoop, but it’s durable enough to last for years! You can customize your child's hoop to just the right size, and then she can personalize it with colored tape to make it her own. Here’s how professional hoop-dancers make their hoops out of irrigation tubing.
Note: The tubing comes in 100-foot rolls, so have your child get a bunch of friends together for a hoop-making party. (A roll makes about 12 hoops for children or 8-9 adult-sized hoops.)
Polyethylene irrigation tubing, 1” in diameter, 160 PSI (Be careful: some stores that carry irrigation tubing don’t carry 160 psi. Don’t settle for a lower PSI. Your hoop will come out frustratingly floppy.) 1” tubing connectors (one per hoop)
Ratcheting PVC cutter
Colored electrical tape, gaffer tape, or glitter tape
What You Do:
Have your child measure a length of tubing by holding it in a circle that rests on the floor and comes up to just below chest-height of the person the hoop is for. (If that seems large when you measure it, keep in mind that larger hoops are easier to use.)
Cut the tubing with the PVC cutter. (It’s possible to cut with a hacksaw, then sand the edges of the tubing, but PVC cutters are relatively inexpensive, about $10-12, and they make a clean cut quickly and easily.)
Have her dip both ends of the tubing in hot water for 20 seconds, to soften the plastic. It’s a good idea to heat the water on the stove or in the microwave, then pour it into a spill-proof travel mug.
Are her muscles awake? Good. Have her push hard to connect the two ends of the tubing to each other with the connector in between. Instruct her to push the ends together until they’re touching and you can’t see the connector.
Next, have her wrap a small piece of duct tape around the connection to make it extra-secure.
Finally, she can decorate and personalize the hoop by wrapping colored tape around it. Electrical tape works fine, or for a fancier look and a better grip, try specialty glitter tape or gaffer tape.