July 4, 2009

Night Hoops

Filed under: Projects — Tags: , — laupre @ 1:18 am
Some of our hoops, decorated with colorful tape

Some of our hoops, decorated with colorful tape

Last summer I heard about making your own hula hoops. I found out that hoops you find in the toy isle at the store just aren’t that great, and a bigger, heavier hoop can not only make hooping easier, but it’s a lot more fun, too! Since then I’ve spent many hours outside hooping it up, learning some tricks, and surprisingly getting a great workout (and the bruises and sore muscles that can come with it, ha!).
I’ve made quite a few hoops now. I’ve tried a bunch of different sizes and weights to see how they feel. Smaller, lighter ones are great for fast spinning. Bigger, slower hoops are perfect for a relaxing spin. I’ve made most of them out of cheap irrigation tubing I picked up at the Home Depot, but after seeing some cool LED hoops online (starting at $100!) I decided I wanted a glowing hoop, but for cheaper. The cheap tubing I was buying is black and opaque, so I set off again in search of a better tube. I found Pex tubing this week. It’s a white and more transparant kind of tubing intended for potable water. After visiting some home improvement stores for tubing and my friendly neighborhood dollar store to score some glow sticks I just had to wait until it was dark and start spinning light.


Glowing hoops in the grass

Unfortunately, I couldn’t get a picture of the hoops actually spinning, but you’ll just have to trust me, they look really cool. The larger one is for me, and is about 13 feet of tubing and 7 glow necklaces. The smaller one is perfect for my favorite 8 year old and is 10 feet long and has 15 glow bracelets. The glow sticks work great for one night, but I’m planning on running leds through them for more uses.

Here’s a classic tutorial for making your own hoops if you’re interested:

For Portlanders looking for supplies:

The black irrigation tubing for regular hoops I get at the home depot on SE 82nd ave in Clackamas. They have it in rolls of that make about 6-8 adult hoops for around $20. I like the 3/4″ tubing and the grey connectors that fit at 28 cents apiece (you just need one per hoop) note: There’s also 1/2″ tubing that is a lot cheaper, but it just doesn’t work. It’s worse than the cheapie kids’ hoops you’re trying to replace.

These glowing hoops were made from “Pex” tubing. Besides their color difference from the other tubing, it’s also a little bit smaller (even though it’s also called 3/4″ tubing) so you’ll also need different connectors. I found 10 foot lengths of pex at the Lowes out by milwaukee for about $3.50. One of these is perfect for smaller people, but I like having 12-13 feet of length so I picked one up for the kiddo and kept looking. They only had some big rolls of it for around $45, but I wasn’t sure yet how well it would work so I wasn’t ready to invest that much yet. I looked again at the home depot, but in a different isle than my black tubing and found the pex there, too. They had one piece that was cut at 3/4″, but it was only 5 feet long. Luckily, I also found a roll of 25′ for $15.50, which is perfect to make two hoops my size!



  1. I havent made one of these yet. Sounds like a great idea! How do you keep the glow sticks from swooping to one side?It would seem after a while of hooping, they would bunch up….

    Comment by MommaGreenThumbs — August 11, 2009 @ 8:24 am

  2. These are great. I did this myself a week or so ago. They do look great while in motion. I do have some pics posted on flickr of mine if you want to take a look.

    Thanks for sharing!


    Comment by Erin "hoopette" — August 11, 2009 @ 3:31 pm

  3. I can see you you could attached the male/female ends together serially;
    my Q’s:
    – do the glow sticks rattle inside the hoop?
    – how long is shelf life of glow?
    – what is environmental influence of the chemical that causes the glow?


    Comment by hrs — August 12, 2009 @ 12:29 pm

  4. How is the PEX tubing holding up? Is it lighter in weight than the black tubing? I was trying to find the yellow gas tubing but no one seems to carry it around here because it isn’t used much in this area.

    Comment by Heifzilla — October 14, 2009 @ 7:11 am

    • The pex is great. I’ve been using these hoops like crazy for a while now (although I’ve added leds to them now) and they hold up just as well, if not better than the black tubing. The pex is a little smaller around, (I used 3/4″ tubing for both my black and white hoops, but the black has a 3/4″ interior diameter and the white has a 3/4″ outside diameter) so it is a little bit lighter than the black. I haven’t seen the yellow gas tubing, but that sounds interesting.

      Comment by laupre — October 14, 2009 @ 8:00 am

      • How do you add LED’s? I’m just starting hooping – going s hopping for materials this weekend, so its a long way off, but I’m curious!

        Comment by debbie — February 25, 2010 @ 9:07 am

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