How to Make a Hula Hoop

jasonstrauss Jason Strauss may very well be the Godfather of hooping. Not only has he been sharing his excellent directions on how to make a hula hoop for years, and how to make a collapsible hoop too, it was Jason who gave the editors of hooping.org their first hoops the night that we met him. Many others who have encountered Jason over the years have hoop gifting stories to tell. Vera made her first two hoops using these directions. Philo followed the same plan but not having a blow dryer he used boiling water. While the primary difficulty involved with hoop-making continues to be simply finding the right tubing, visiting our Hoop Making archives for more tips can help you out too. Here’s Jason’s instructions as they originally appeared online for years.

How to Make a Hula Hoop

by Jason Strauss

Almost as much fun as hooping itself, making your own hoops allows you to share the joy with others! I’ve made and given away quite a few of them, but in order to implement my Master Plan (to overwhelm the world with hoopy happiness), we’re going to need more people making hoops. It only costs $4-5 to make a hoop, and you can make ’em pretty fast once you get going.

how-to-make-a-hula-hoop-1 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 $15-25 per 100′ — enough for 8 hoops)

[Having trouble finding tubing? Hooping.org has suggestions.]

how-to-make-a-hula-hoop-2 Other supplies you will need:

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)

How to Make a Hula Hoop 3 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.

How to Make a Hula Hoop 4 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….)

How to Make a Hula Hoop 5 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.)

How to Make a Hula Hoop 6 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.

How to Make a Hula Hoop 7 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.

How to Make a Hula Hoop 8 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.

How to Make a Hula Hoop 9Three finished hoops, ready for action. Now for a quick hooping demonstration.

hooping

How to Make a Collapsible Hoop:

Since I’ve been getting quite a few requests for collapsible hoop-making instructions lately, here are the basics. In addition to what you need to make a regular hoop, to make a collapsible, you need:

Four connectors per hoop instead of one
Bulk bungee cord
uncoated coat hanger wire
a power sander (or a lot of patience)
several pairs of pliers and several hands
Fair warning on two points: First, sanding down the connectors produces plastic dust that you do not want in your eyes or lungs. Wear goggles, do it outside, wear a mask. Second, the final step involves wiring together the two ends of a very taut bungee cord. It ain’t easy unless you have some extra hands.

Here’s how it works: Measure off a length of tubing to your desired hoop size, and cut. Now make three more cuts, to give you four quarters. Make unique scratch marks across each of the four cuts, so that you know how the pieces should fit back together. Sand the ribs off of one end of each of four connectors. See note above & do this carefully. Sand it partially off, then try to fit it into the tubing. It should offer some resistance, and not be totally loose. Keep sanding all four until the sanded ends can fit snugly into the tubing.

Heat one end of each of the four tubes, and slide the non-sanded ends of the connectors into each, up to the halfway point, leaving the sanded ends sticking out. Using the scratch marks as a guide, fit the hoop together. Prepare an 8 inch long piece of coat hanger wire. Now open the hoop at any of the four points, and snake the bungee cord all the way around until it comes out the other side. Pull both ends, or clamp one end and pull the other. Pull hard. Harder! When it’s really stretched (this is what will hold the hoop together when it’s really spinning), overlap the two ends of the cord. Wrap the coat hanger wire tightly around & around the overlapped bungee cord. Really dig the wire into the cord. Keep wrapping, and squeeze the wire onto the cord with pliers. When you’ve got it secured, cut off the ends of the cord.

You should be able to pull the hoop apart with some effort, but when spinning at top speed it should stay together. (If the cord is not tight enough, the hoop will open up when spinning, and pinch you.) The hoop will collapse into four parallel arcs, perfect for travelling.

******

Want more hoop making info? Dig into our Hoop Making Archives.

69 thoughts on “How to Make a Hula Hoop

    1. you can buy the “connectors” at any hardware store such as lowes and home depot. ask for INSERT CUPLINGS, those are the connectors that i use and they work great!<3

  1. A blowdryer would work, and hot water seems messy.
    I use my oven. It has a vent in the back to exhaust the hot air and I just hold the ends near this for a while and it gets plenty soft to put the connector in. A bbq qrill works well too. Hold the cut end over the bbq grill, keep it moving, and not for too long.

  2. I was wondering what the perfect kind of hoop to make for tricks is? I have larger, heavier ones but I am finding it difficult to lift up. As soon as I start to get it above my head, the weight drops to one side and falls down. So what size hoop and what kind of weight is perfect for a trick hoop?

  3. Hi, want to make my own hoop went in my local diy shop but could not find black tubing or conectors, no one knew what i meant,.. Can anyone in the UK tell me where they got there’s and what to ask for please,
    thanks x x

  4. I just bought some tubing from B&Q (25mm x 25m for about £20)It’s bright blue rather than black. I’m still trying to get hold of some suitable connectors as the ones I got are too fat even though they are 25mm! Then use orindary electrical tape for base coats and just keep your eye out for any exciting colours/textures for stripes etc.

    1. it took trial and era for me to learn where to find the irrigation tubing. for now on go straight to Lowes they have the couplings and the correct piping you need. when you find it you’ll know. the only thing is there are two different types. make sure you look on the coil for 160 PSI, that’s the weight you want.

      1. Not necessarily. I went to Lowe’s and they had the tubing, but only in sizes that were WAAAY to narrow or WAAAY to wide. I ended up having to order mine off of Amazon.

  5. The simple answer: It doesn’t matter.
    The complicated answer: The pipe that I use is just sold as 3/4″ tubing. I use polyethylene farming irrigation tubing, stuff like this. Now when you start talking to people who are experts with plumbing and such and they’re trying to sell you tubing and you’re telling them 3/4″ and they ask you if that’s the internal or external measurement, it’s really because they’re not making hoops with it. They’re trying to come up with the exact measurements for let’s say a sprinkler system connection. Whether it’s the internal or external measurement of whatever pipe you find doesn’t matter. The only difference will be the slightest difference in the thickness of your hoop.

  6. Wherever you get the tubing, thhey will have connectors to match. I use 3/4 inch tubing, but honestly… have no idea if that is the inside or outside diameter. I just know the corresponding connectors fit! 🙂

  7. Hi. I followed Jason`s instructions on how to make my own hoop but the hoop is FLAT on the side where the connector is and I have no idea why. One thing I can say is that the connector has a bit that sticks out so the two sides of the hoop don`t connect together perfectly…could that be the problem? Or could it be that the density of the plastic isn`t right? I am in a country where nothing is in English and the shop assistants in the suburbs where the only big hardware shop is certainly don`t understand what I want! There doesn`t seem to be a hoop-making-trouble-shooting spot anywhere in sight?? !!
    Thanks for advice…

  8. Hi,
    I was wondering if anyone has used battery operated led christmas lights to make an led hoop. I am looking for a strand that has a small enough battery pack to fit inside 1 inch tubing. Thanks!

  9. Woe is me!
    I went to Lowes to buy supplies to make my wife a hoop – all they carry now is 100PSI.
    I then went across the street to HD and they had nothing.
    Then on to True Value, they only had 100PSI.
    I live in W. Palm Beach – anybody find 160 PSI POLYETHYLENE FLEXIBLE COIL PIPE 3/4″ X 100′ here?
    Michelle I haven’t made a hoop yet, but I have researched making them.
    You need to remove those bumps in the middle so the hoop ends touch. I would do it with my dremal tool. But you can rub it off with anything coarse, a file, even a cement curb. Cut it off with a hacksaw. A super hot knife. Just some suggestions.
    I also read a hint to cut the double male connector as short as possible with your tube cutters which will result in a smaller flat spot.
    Another hint don’t use the first foot of tubing on the roll ends as it is usually flat.
    Another hint, use the boiling water method to prepare your ends for the insertion of the double male and as soon as you get the hoop ends to touch step on the connector and pull upwards on the other side of the hoop making it rounder.
    Another hint, you can also use a hair dryer to shape the hoop.
    Hoop this helps!

  10. Re: Hoop roundess/warped advise:
    Hi, I just made 3 hoops ……the biggest problem i am having is roundness…they are a little warped and not quite round…this is really effecting the hoop-ability…does anyone have an easy solution?
    thanks
    lori

  11. I tried making my hula hoop yesterday and I probalby should’ve done more research. I think I got polyethylene pipe instead of tubing (does this make a difference) Also it was only 1/2 an inch instead of the 3/4 or a 1 inch. The hoop was too flimsy and I couldn’t keep it up. Could this be because of the piping instead or tubing and the thickness? Thank you very much for any help.

  12. Hi. My doctor tells me I need to exercise more for my slightly high blood sugar. I decided to take up hula hooping again after about 50 years! Anyway, I made my first hoop yesterday and gave it a try. I haven’t had so much fun since I was about 5.
    I bought 100 psi tubing at Lowe’s that says “3/4″x100′ NSF PE 100PSI COIL”. Don’t know what it is used for, but it seems to work, except I kind of wish I’d gone with the 160 psi for more weight.

  13. For everyone that is having problems with keeping or getting their hoops round. When my hoops get misshapen after a car ride in the back seat, or hanging on a hook too long, I just lay them flat on the blacktop or cement in the sun. It rounds them out again. I think its the heat of the sun on the ground. But it never fails they always get their round shape! Hope that helps!

  14. I have been all over the site. It’s wonderful. I have instructions on how to make a hoop and everything. The only thing I can’t find is what is a good size for arm hoops? I want some smaller hoops for individual arm and leg workouts. Can you please give me an idea of what a good size is. Thanks!

  15. Hi,
    I found the 3/4 in, 160 psi tubing at my local True Value hardware store. If you call them and they don’t have it in stock ask them if they can order it. (After all, it is in their catalog.) You will have to buy 100 feet though. They also have the connectors. I don’t know if I like that particular weight though. It’s pretty heavy and hurts! I keep hitting myself in the head and face, and the diameter seems a bit big for my hand to get around. I have average size hands. But I am a beginner so maybe I just need some more practice. Also, I am having a problem with the flat spot on the hoop. I just read a post about cutting down the connector. I’ll have to try that. I’ll take any additional suggestions on that flat spot problem! Have fun hooping everyone!

  16. can anyone in the uk please help? i visited wickes and b&q for tubing but ended up confused. there is blue, grey or white pipe there – didn’t see any black – and no connectors. any suggestions?

  17. The problem every seems to make when buying the tubing is looking in the wrong place. You need to go to an irrigation company or a plumbing company that sell it by 100 feet. They all have it. 3/4″ x 100′ psi 160. This is the best tube for a hula hoop. The connectors, I actually bought at Home Depot. The 3/4″ wa too big to fit properly into the tube o I bought 1/2″. It is a little small, but after wraping one layer of electrical tape around it, it fit quite snuggly.
    My biggest problem is finding tape. Where in Canada can someone buy decorative tapes without ordering online?

  18. I just bought some 3/4″ 100psi 180 (not sure what the 180 means), white PVC tubing today at Rona. Comes in 10′, 20′, 50′ or 100′ lengths. Also bought various colours of electrical tape … black, yellow, white, red, blue, green, orange and yellow.
    Now I’m trying to find out online the proper length to make the hula hoop. 10′?
    Edmonton, Alberta

  19. Looks like someone asked this question before but I don’t think anyone answered it! I’ll try again: What kind of store does one go to to shop for gaffer tape in various colors? I know you can order it online, but I’d rather go to a store in town, if I knew where to look! Thanks, chezztone

    1. Simple electrical tape is available at any hardware store. Gaffer tape is a specialty tape that is typically used by film makers. Remember the term “Gaffer” in your movie credits? So if you have a store that caters to film making, I’d give them a call. Concert venues also use it to mark cords and stuff so maybe a theater supply place? You can also try visiting your local art supply store – they might have a tape section too. Or you can just order it online.

  20. hey! I’m looking to make an led hoop in the UK and have the leds but not the tubing… could anyone suggst where to find it? I’ve tried in b&q and other places…. i need HDPE so I’m told, needs to be clear and 3/4″… hard times! Cheers lovelies!

  21. Hey, I just made my first hoop! Lowe’s had 1″ poly tubing…tried using the hairdryer, but ended up just standing over a simmering pan of water with the tubing dipped inside for two minutes – it worked!

  22. Local supply for gaffers tape? Go to an electronics store or music store (like for bands/musicians). They use gaffers tape to secure cords on stage and also make removable stage markings. But be prepared!!! In San Antonio there is only one store that I could find (Altex) and they charge $22.00 per roll and it only comes in black or white. Trust me. Buy online.

  23. I found the tubing and connectors online for 3/4″ 160psi 100 ft coil. Search for Coil Polyethylene Pipe. I paid about $27 for the tubing and the coupling @$0.38.

  24. I made my hoop out of 3/4″ 100 psi tubing. it was too light for me so I added water. Now my hoop is droopy. I haven’t taped it yet. What can I do to get the weight, but not a flimsy hoop with the tubing I have? I’m not prepared to go get the 3/4″ 160 psi tubing just yet.

  25. Could blue painter’s tape be used for decorating a hoop if it was put down first so that the electrical tape would cover the edges of it? I love that color blue of the painter’s tape.

  26. After being so confused on what tubing we actually needed, my husband ended buying a 10 foot pipe of PEX 160 PSI with the 5/8 x 5/8 barb splicers. It worked for us. The 10 foot pipe makes a hoop 38 inches in diameter. So if you wanted it bigger you’d have to buy 2. The 10 foot pipes were only 5 dollars a piece. You can buy the PEX in larger coils, but it’s rather pricey that way. I’m excited to get started hooping.

  27. Hi, I am in Venezuela, where we don’t have the connectors — or “empates” as they say in Spanish. I ended up using 3/4″ polyethylene irrigation tubing for the hoop and 6 cm of 1/2″ PVC plumbing tubing for the connector. I sanded the PVC tubing lightly to give it more friction and it is holding wonderfully, so far on 15 hoops. Now, the trick is finding nice tape…

  28. For Canadians wanting to make their own hoops, I`ve been very happy with the white SuperPex 100psi tubing at Home Depot. Fairly heavy, and VERY rigid. They also sell the connectors. And electrical tape in various colors. Hoops cost about $6 this way.

  29. Lindsay,
    I work for an irrigation supplier and we get calls frequently from people looking for the tubing to make the hoops. The tubing is 100% safe to handle. The primary use for the tubing is low volume drip irrigation. Although, most sites will tell you to use 160 psi tubing, that isn’t the easiest to find since the tubing isn’t designed for higher pressure. So as far as any concerns with the safety of the tubing, there shouldn’t be…hope this eases any worries. Happy Hooping!!

  30. I’ve made a few hoops from black polyethylene irrigation tubing, 3/4″ 160 psi. Some of them are definitely not very circular. I thinks this makes them harder to use, especially if I’m trying to learn new tricks. Does anyone know how get a hoop to be closer to a true circle? It seems that the tubing at the ends of the 100′ roll I bought were straighter than the rest of the roll. Hoops made from the ends are worse than the others. It would be nice if I could use all the tubing and not discard the ends. Has this been a problem for anyone else?
    Thanks

  31. The ends are always straighter when buying tubing so you might want to avoid using the end pieces. Sometimes hoops don’t turn out so round too because we flatten them while forcing the connectors in. Polyethylene expands when heated and contracts when it cools. If the pipe is still warm and you’re holding it in a flat line while inserting the connector as it is cooling, your hoop will end up with a flatter spot.

    If you really want to know more about hoop making be sure to check out the Hoopmaking category (http://www.hooping.org/category/hoop-making/) for more info and you can throw out more specific questions in the Hoopmaking group forum too: http://www.hooping.org/groups/hoop-making/

  32. I’ve made many hoops and only now, trying to learn new tricks. I’m having a problem this time around. The tubing I was able to find is very light, and I think its making it harder to keep the hoop up. Is there a way to fill the tube to weigh it down?

  33. i made a hoop using the 100 psi 1″ tubing. i found after i put the connectors in it wasn’t circular and i also found that its too heavy for my small frame. the size is great but what can i do about the weight?

    1. It might just be a case of getting used to the weight if the size is right. Adult-sized hoops are naturally heavier than what you’re going to find in a toy store. That being said, you might want to try 100 psi 3/4″ tubing. Even regardless of the psi women tend to prefer it over the 1″ pipe while guys tend to light a little more girth and weight. As for the circular issue, some seem to have a tendency to “flatten” the pipe while inserting the connector and when it cools it maintains that. Even if you “flatten” it while inserting the connector, bend it into a circular shape and hold it like that while it cools.

      For more hoop making tips check out the Hoop Making Archives.

  34. I think there must be a typo in Jasons instructions for making the hoop. If the diameter of your hoop is up to 13′ , that would be gigantic!! Maybe he means the length of the tubing is 13′? That would mean the diameter would be about 3 feet.

  35. Standing the hoop on the ground, it should be above your waist! About 42-43″ diameter. I like the 160 psi 3/4″ tubing! These hoops weigh about 1 pound 7 ounces and are circular even to the end of the tubing! My husband does a great job of making them! No complaints!

    1. You could make your hoop in 2-4 sections, just make them even, and get 2-4 connectors. Put stationary weights in each of the connectors, even down into the tubing if you want. That should make sure its evenly weighted, and not moving around like water or sand. There is also always the option of the 1 inch 160 PSI tubing tripple taped, thats pretty dang heavy lol. Good Luck!

    2. Many people looking for a weighted hoop or want to make one don’t really understand that thee adult sized hoops described here are already heavier than anything you can buy in a toy store. If you follow the directions on how to make a hoop your hoop will generally weigh between and 1 and 2 pounds. I suggest trying it and if you find you would like something heavier add another layer of tape – it really does make a difference and you can keep your hoop very evenly balanced.

  36. Im in Australia and I have been searching for months for “hoop connectors” instead of using pop rivets and I have had no luck Ive been to the local hardware store bunnings with a picture of a connector and they have no clue it seems the only way I can get them is online and they are not cheap at all! I’m starting to think I will just have to try pop rivets like I was recommended to by another hooper… Unless someone can suggest an alternative….

  37. I’m just getting into this hooping bug 🙂 And am researching how to make my own hoops due to cost efficiency. I’m hearing that 100 psi is best for kids and 160-180 psi is best for adults. All 3/4″ inner diameter.
    Tractor Supply Co. seems to have what I’m looking for (for those of you in the New England area – So far, I’ve been able to find 100 psi tubing for kids here:

    http://www.tractorsupply.com/pvc-pipe/100-psi-polyethylene-flexible-coil-pipe-3-4-in-x-100-ft-3151591?zoneMarketInfo=2-16&reqUrl=%2Fpvc-pipe%2F100-psi-polyethylene-flexible-coil-pipe-3-4-in-x-100-ft-3151591&langId=-1&storeId=10551&storeCity=city%2C+state&catalogId=10001&storeZip=03060&ddkey=http:LocationBasedPricingCmd

    And have been able to find adult piping here:

    http://www.tractorsupply.com/160-psi-polyethylene-flexible-coil-pipe-3-4-in-x-100-ft-3182071

    Hope this helps anyone still looking!

  38. hi everyone im from México and i come 2 chicago just 4 summer vacations and i want star my own sell hula hoops led, i come 2 u because in México i dont know any person will make hula hoops led and many times i´ll try make my own hula hoop led but i dont know why always i scrub up and the material its so expensive and i wanna know tips 4 buy material here and make the hula hoop, can u help me with this ? do u know how or who make hula hoops led i will go back 2 México next tuesday so appreciate all tips i can get, have fun and nice week smile 🙂

  39. So I bought the tubing and the connectors, and even though they are the right size connectors for the tubing I got, the connectors won’t fit inside the tubing. What should I do?

  40. im from the uk and want to make hoops using a pipe connector, i bought spring clips from fancy tapes, but the button is too flat once it is inside the pipe, has anyone else had this problem? its so frustrating, i have everything else but im struggling with this! ive used 20mm and 25mm mdpe tubing and no snap button seems to work

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