Updated for 2020!
I really enjoy making hula hoops because:
- It’s not messy
- It doesn’t require many tools
- It doesn’t take very long
- Anyone can do it!
Tools Needed To Make Your Own Hula Hoop
- Pipe cutters (ask around, somebody you know might have some you can borrow!)
- Hair dryer or pot of boiling water
- Scissors if you plan to tape your hula hoop
- Measuring tape
- A marker
- A box cutter or similar type knife
Materials Needed To Make Your Own Hula Hoop
- 3/4″ 100psi irrigation tubing
- 3/4″ connectors (1 per hoop, or 2 per collapsible hoop) (The price for these on Amazon fluctuates. If it’s higher than 2 bucks, check your local hardware store.)
- Tape for decorating your hoop
- Beads or rice to put inside for rattle (optional)
Where do I find tubing to make my own hula hoop?
The tubing only comes in 100 foot rolls or larger, so it doesn’t make sense to buy a whole roll if you don’t want to make several hoops.
But if you have a group of friends or family, or a class that you need to make hula hoops for, it works out great. You can actually make anywhere from 8-10 great beginner hula hoops for around 6-7 bucks each if you keep the design very basic.
Back in the day when I first started making hoops, you had to go hunting around your local hardware stores in the plumbing section for this tubing, and it was pretty hit or miss. But since Amazon Prime has exploded, you can now get a roll delivered to your house for pretty cheap.
I love no longer having to lug those big rolls of tubing back home!
How to Make Your Own Hula Hoop With Irrigation Tubing
First you need to know what size hoop you want to make. For most beginners I would recommend anywhere from a 38″ diameter up to a 55″. If your body is more petite, go for the lower end of that scale (38″). If you are a large person, go for the higher end. You can read more about how to pick a size here.
The diameter is the measurement directly across the hoop from one side to the other. So since you haven’t made the hoop yet, you have to figure out the circumference of the hoop based on what diameter you want.
Step One – Cut Your Hoop to Size
Find the circumference by multiplying your diameter (38″, for example) by pi, which is 3.14. So, 38 x 3.14 = 119.32 inches. If we divide that by the number of inches which are in a foot (12 inches), we get 9.94. So, we need 9.94–or about 10 feet of tubing to make a 38″ hoop. For a larger hoop you would just multiply, for example, 44″ by 3.14, which equals 138.16 or roughly 11 1/2 feet.
(By the way, I am not a math person. I remember defiantly vowing to leave math behind me forever after I barely passed a required college math class that crushed my soul.)
Use a cloth tape measure to measure out your tubing. Start with the zero at the edge of the tubing and move your hands along incrementally along the outside radius of the tubing.
Make a mark on the tubing once you have measured it out, and use your tubing cutters to make the cut. Try to cut the tubing as evenly as you can. This will help the tubing sit flush at the connection point.
Step Two – Insert the Connector to Create a Circle
If you want to make your hoop collapsible, you will need to cut your piece of tubing in half so that your hoop can have two connection points instead of one.
Once the hoop is put together, the two insert pieces will create swiveling joints directly across from each other, allowing the hoop to be folded down via a a figure-8 shape. You can go here to see our video on folding and unfolding collapsible hoops.
If you don’t need your hoop to be collapsible, you only need to install one to insert piece into the hoop, so you do not need to cut your tubing again after the initial cut.
This is where the hair dryer or boiling pot of water comes in to play. Either will work fine. You just need something to heat up the ends of the tubing, because the connector will be a very snug fit.
Heat up one end of your cut piece of tubing by holding the hair dryer a few inches away from it for 30-60 seconds (or dipping the ends of the tubing into water for 30 seconds as pictured).
Once 3-4 inches of the tube is nice and warm, grab your connector and shove it halfway into the tubing.
If you can’t get it to go in, don’t panic. Just continue warming the tubing up for another minute or so before trying again.
At this point, if you are making a collapsible hoop, you will insert your connector in your other piece of cut tubing. Once both pieces have a connector, you will then continue heating up the open ends until you connect it all into one big circle.
Don’t forget to pour a little rice or beads inside your hoop before you close it up, if you want your hoop to rattle! Kids LOVE this feature.
If you are making a non-collapsible hoop, you will just close the hoop up by shoving the open end of the tube onto the connector.
Once the hoop is tightly closed using a little elbow grease, set the hoop on a table or the floor and allow it to cool for several minutes.
Step Three – The Fun Part! Tape Your Hula Hoop
There are as many options for taping your hula hoop as there are stars in the sky. If you don’t have any experience with taping hula hoops, that’s okay.
You don’t have to get it perfect. It will be awesome no matter what!
If you are trying to decorate a bunch of hula hoops for cheap, I would recommend grabbing a couple of rolls of grip tape and just putting a single spiral on each one.
The main tip I have is to just keep the tape pulled taut at all times so it can’t stick to itself because you will never get it to un-stick (I’m not bitter or anything, bahaha).
(Some people use electrical tape on hula hoops, but it’s very slippery and doesn’t offer any additional grip, which is essential for a beginner. I do not recommend it for this reason, unless you plan to use it in combination with some grip tape.)
Each roll of grip tape is enough to tape anywhere from 5 to 10 hoops depending on what design you choose. You can do one color, two, or a basket weave pattern with several colors for a super grippy hoop.
If you want to add some sparkle tape, I recommend a 1″ wide paper-backed holographic tape. One roll is enough for anywhere from 3-8 hoops depending on size of hoop and how much of the hoop you are covering.
I love this option for a multipack of 25′ tape rolls on Amazon for a pretty good price. To cover a 38″ beginner hoop, you would need about 50 total feet sparkly tape if you intended to cover the whole hoop with it. So if you want to use two colors, it would take about 25 feet each.
How to Tape Your Own Hula Hoop
Taping with the paper-backed holographic tapes can be a bit trickier since it doesn’t really stretch much at all. It’s far more likely to wrinkle as you apply it.
The trick to applying wrinkle free, perfectly angled hula hoop tape is to pull on the tape really hard while simultaneously smoothing it down with your thumb.
Angle the tape so that you leave about a 1/8″ inch space each time you wrap the hoop. This will leave space to come back and add grip tape next.
When you get to the connection point(s) in the hoop, just tape right over it. You will need to pull on the tape very hard to keep it smooth as it goes over the the slight bulge in the tubing where the connector is.
Go slow and take your time. Don’t be shy about pulling on the tape to make it do what you want it to. As someone once helpfully told me, you’ve got to make that hoop tape your bitch!
Once you have wrapped the entire hoop with sparkly tape, go back and add your grip tape in the spaces between the wraps. This will seal down the edges of the sparkle tape and give the hoop much-needed grip.
Once you are done applying the grip tape, all that’s left to do is finish up the connection points if your hoop is collapsible. If you didn’t make your hoop collapsible, you are done! There is no need to do anything further.
For collapsible hoops, locate the two places where the tubing is cut, underneath the tape. Use your box cutter to slice the tape along each seam.
Now the hoop is free to swivel at the joint so that the hoop can be collapsed! To clean it up a bit, I like to trim the edges on both sides with grip tape, like this:
That’s it! You just made your own hula hoop!
If you have any questions feel free to leave me a comment.
Ready to begin your hoop journey? Enroll in my new Six Week Beginner Hula Hoop Challenge online course. You can access it 24/7 from any device and take it at your own pace 🙂