When it comes to making a hoop of your own there’s more than one way to connect your polyethylene tubing. While a blow dryer is one way to do it, and the method that I used for quite some time, when the time arrived for me to construct numerous hoops at once I found that the blow dryer and the air heated pipe really dried out my hands, in a rather uncomfortable and sometimes painful way.
At Burning Man last year I took 500 feet of tubing and a box of tape along with me to make up hoops galore to give to people on the playa – and it was there, given the lack of electricity, that I started trying out the boiling water method. Filling up a camp pot with water and sticking it on the stove, not only was I able to connect pipes in what appeared to be a smoother and easier way, I could make dozens and my hands were just as comfortable when I finsihed as when I began. It’s as if the water not only heats the pipe to the temperature needed for it to expand for a connector to be inserted, but the water seems to act as something of a lubricant itself, making the insertion slick, smooth and simple.
I’ve been heating up the ends of my tubing to make hoops using a big ass pot of boiling water on the stove ever since. I find that submerging them for about twenty seconds works best. Leaving the tubing in boiling water for too long could result in the pipe ends melting, warping, making the connection ultimately less than smooth. So the next time you’re making a hoola hoop, think about doing it in the kitchen. If you’re anything like me, you’ll be glad you did!
– Philo Hagen