Thursday, September 24, 2009

What I Did On My Summer Vacation - Hula Hooping Edition

Did I ever tell you how much fun we had in July? I don't think I did and its about time we sat down in the lingering warmth of summer and reminisce.

LittleA had a friend birthday to attend this July and we thought about what would make a fun gift for a special friend who was turning 6. The little girls mama tipped me off that her daughter had recently been checking out some hula-hoops. Well that was all the encouragement I needed. I had seen some online tutorials and knew this would be the perfect time to try it out.

How To Make A Hula-Hoop

Now know that I had in my mind to create the hula-hoop as a mother daughter project. Side note I am a fairly crafty mama with a 4 1/2 year old who loves crafting. I checked out the instructions and this seemed a project we could handle together. What makes these instructions all the more fun is that on the day that we were setting out to make the hula-hoops my husband came home early from work and he wanted to participate too. GREAT! Except he was not keen on my girly instructions and he devised a MAN PLAN for making hula-hoops. You lucky readers can choose between the two steps for the project that works best for you!

Equipment To Gather:

  • Irrigation Tube - Poly Tube
    • I only found this in a giant 100 foot roll. There are usually a few sizes. I bought 100 PSI 3/4 inch - which makes for a lighter hoop - good for making them for kids.I think the whole rolls cost $25 at Lowes. It was enough for 8-10 hoops - depending how big you make them.
  • Hair Dryer (mom directions) or Burnz-O-Matic (dad directions)
  • Ratcheting PVC Cutter (mom directions) or Hack Saw (dad directions)

    • I will say for the record that if you are doing this as a one time project and you own a hacksaw...then purchasing ratcheting PVC cutters is probably highly unnecessary...the money would be better spent in the later steps on some really snazzy electrical tape. The cut with the hacksaw is not as smooth as it would have been with the ratcheting cutters - but you need to decide if that is worth the price of the cutters ($12 and up).
  • Insert Connectors
    • You just need to buy these to coordinate with the diameter of piping that you bought. I grabbed 8 of the 3/4" inserts. These need to fit inside your tube very snugly. This is what holds both end of the hoop together. You will need one per hula-hoop.
  • Tape
    • You can use electrical tape, colored duct tapes (saw fun colors at Target), gaffers tape, or the likes. I suppose you could even paint the tube if you prefer. I bought the multi-pack electrical tape from Lowes. I believe that it was about $13. This was the most costly portion of the project. Certainly if you were making these just for home fun - you could cut the cost of decorating them. There are a variety of hoopers online who have shopped at Identi-Tape with good success. There is lots of variety there. They even have a section specifically for hooping tapes that also includes other great hooping links on the web.
Time To Start Making Hoops
Supplies in hand you are now ready to go!

1. First thing first you need to decide how big to make your hoop.I read somewhere that the hoop should fall somewhere between your hips and your shoulders. So grab a piece of tubing and measure up. I prefer a larger hoop and find it easier to keep it moving.

2. Once measured indicate on the tubing where you want to make your cut. Now here is where mom vs dad instructions begin.
      • Using ratcheting PVC cutters simply snip the desired piece of tube from your total coil.
      • Take hacksaw and cut through the pipe. This tends to leave a bit of a ragged edge from the serration on the saw. At this stage you can either sand the tube end slightly. OR do what my husband preferred to do...melt the end slightly with the Burnz-O-Matic torch. Additionally you can just cover this small unsightly bit with some of your fancy tape.
3. Now we need to prep the pipe for the insert connectors. The connectors are made to create a very snug fit for the two ends of the tube. So snug that we found it near impossible to insert the connector and just push the two ends of the tube together to form our hoop. The tube needs to be heated up so that it becomes more pliable for the connector to be easily inserted.
    • Using your hair dryer heat both ends of the tube and then insert the connector piece and push the two tube ends together until they meet. NOTE: If you wanted to make a hoop with need to insert your sound material before sealing up your hoop. So pop in some beans or corn or bells - whatever you choose.
    • Using your Burnz-O-Matic torch both ends of the tube until they are softened. Notice the safety gloves.

    • Then insert the connector piece and push the two tube ends together until they meet. NOTE: If you wanted to make a hoop with need to insert your sound material before sealing up your hoop. So pop in some beans or corn or bells - whatever you choose. 

 4. You have made you just need to snazz it up. Decorating is fun and everyone can help with this step.
    • Our first step was to cover the small seam where the two tube ends joined with some tape. After that it was a taping free for all. The tape I bought was not nearly enough to decorate all 9 hoops we made. It also didn't allow for us to get real creative either - as we had 4 hoops we had to decorate. Next time around I would definitely spend some more time working on this part.

    •  Here is a great video from Identi-tape on how to tape a hoop

5. Give it a go. Now that your hoop is created it is time to give it a whirl. Or wrap it up and give it as a gift. we gave our birthday girl a hoop plus the book Hoop-La: The Ultimate Book of Hoop Tricks by Kari James.

Happy Hooping!

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