Guide to Hula Hoop Making for Beginners
The chances are, when you fall in love with hooping you become a hoop maker to one extent or another. I started making hoops pretty soon after I found hooping. To begin with, my family and friends all got a hoop for Christmas, whether they wanted one or not. Not long after that, I became a Hoop Love Coach and began teaching hoop dance and fitness, so many hoops were needed for classes, festivals and events. A few years later, I opened my online shop – One Stop Hoop Shop. So it was official – I was a hoop maker. Without a doubt, hoop making is a craft, the more you do it, the better you get.
I have found that the best way to approach hoop making is to be resourceful and inventive with a little bit of patience thrown in. It can be fun, therapeutic and satisfying. It can also be puzzling, frustrating and hard work. I have written this article in the hope that it clears up some questions that may pop up and assists you in your endeavour as a hoop maker.
Happy Hoop Making.
MDPE (medium density polyethylene) This tubing is readily available in any plumbing supply shop or online. It is best used for beginner hoops due to its heavier weight. Colours available are blue, black and yellow. Tube sizes available are either 20mm OD x 16mm ID or 25mm OD x 20mm ID. The smaller is the most commonly used but the 25mm makes a heavier hoop and holds up well when making oversized hoops. You may come across mention of different psi (pounds per square inch) of tubing . This relates to the wall thickness. However, the two sizes mentioned above are standard plumbing pipes which pretty much covers all requirements for a beginner hoop so there is no need to complicate things much further.
Polypro (Polypropylene) This is generally only available online. It comes in clear and also pretty much any colour you want. It is lightweight and very responsive. Not ideal for when first learning on-body hooping but absolutely essential for learning off body moves and flow. Various tube sizes are available but the most commonly used are Standard 19mm (3/4″) OD and Skinny 16mm OD (5/8″)
HDPE (high density polyethylene) This can be purchased online from USA and comes in clear and coloured. I am told it performs in a similar way to polypro.
Connectors are made of either polycarbonate, polypro, pex or barbed plastic. Which is best? It’s personal preference really. For a 20mm MDPE beginner hoop use either pex or a grey barbed connector. For a 25mm MDPE beginner hoop, the 20mm MDPE makes a great connector.
For a polypro hoop you can use either polypro or polycarbonate. I like a polypro connector when I make a fixed connection. And polycarb when making a coil down hoop. But both do a good job in either type of hoop. Where one fits perfectly, the other may not. Read on…..
Awkward or poorly fitting connector? The fact is, plastic tube extrusion is not precision engineering. This means that the slight differences that can occur during the manufacturing process, either on the inside diameter of your tubing or the outside diameter of your connector material, or both, can play havoc when trying to make a lovely connection.
Connector Trouble Shooting Tips
Connector won’t go into tubing? Warm the tube (not the connector) in boiling water for a few minutes then push connector in.
Hoop gone a bit egg shaped? Warm the connector up in a cup of boiling water and straighten it.
Connector just not sitting right? Try a different length connector.
For an adult size beginner hoop, the general rule of thumb is to measure from your belly button to the ground to arrive at the hoop diameter. Going bigger than this is also good as the bigger the hoop, the easier it is to get it going and keep it up. A hoop diameter of anything between 90cm to 100cm will suit most adults.
Material used for a beginner hoops is usually MDPE tubing due to its weight. 20mm is the standard size used but 25mm is a good choice for tall or larger stature people.
Polypro hoops are generally smaller in diameter than beginner ones. A good average size would be around 85cms.
Twin polypro are often smaller again. A good average size would be around 80cms
To work out the length of tubing needed for a hoop, multiply the diameter you want by by 3.14 (Pi). Eg. 90cm x 3.14 = 282cm
A final note about hoop size, don’t get overly hung up on precise hoop sizes if you are making them for yourself or classes. A few centimetres here or there won’t make much difference.
FIXED OR COIL DOWN?
A fixed connection is just that, once the hoop is made, it does not collapse. Great for class and event hoops. The connector is either riveted in, held in by friction or hot glue and tape. I now rivet all my fixed connection hoops because it makes the most secure join.
A coil down hoop is made by riveting a connector in on one side and adding a push button to the other. These are great for a personal use hoop. These are also referred to as travel hoops.
Sectional hoops have the same type of connector as the coil down hoops but break down into between 3, 4 or 5 separate sections. These hoops are the most transportable of all.
DECORATING & GRIP TAPE
Beginner Hoops – At the very least, you will want to add a spiral or two of grip tape. You can also add extra colours by alternating the grip tape with vinyl tape. For a lovely bling hoop, you can choose from a myriad of sparkly, mirrored or colour shift tapes. If you are using a metallic tape, always add this first, then vinyl, then grip.
Polypro – Coloured polypro is so pretty, you tend not to add any tape. The great thing about a totally naked hoop is that there is no maintenance. To add some grip to your naked hoop, take a piece of sand paper and lightly rub the inside edge of the hoop. For natural translucent polypro you can decorate in the same way as a beginner hoop. You can also add a run of grip tape around the inside surface of the hoop if you wanted an all sparkle hoop without the spiral effect.
Guest blog post by Tamsin Marley of One Stop Hoop Shop UK
My name is Tamsin Marley, I live in the south of England and I’m truly passionate about sharing hoop love with the world around me. I am the creator and owner of One Stop Hoop Shop, a UK based online hoop and hoop making supplies store. I am also a certified Hoop Love Coach, HoopYogini and most recently qualified as an Exercise to Music fitness Instructor. I have a full time job and a granddaughter so I’m quite a busy bee. If you have any questions please feel free to contact me. Full contact details are on my website www.onestophoopshop.co.uk. You can also contact me Facebook and Instagram.