Like the boys in Calling the Show, I make my own hula hoops (except for the green one. I didn't make that.). And like Jesse, I am awful at decorating them. I’m good up to the point where you connect he two ends of PVC pipe to form a hoop. But when I pick up the colored tape, I get lazy.
This is my first hoop, made just over a year ago. I was going for “dingy rainbow” here. The original tape job was even worse—red and green stripes with huge uneven gaps between, like Christmas puked on a piece of pipe. I made it with ½ inch PVC, so it’s thin and a little flimsy. This can make it fun to use around the waist or neck because it warps as it rotates, which produces kind of a slinging action, but it’s not so great for tricks.
My second effort was a little better in terms of structure. ¾ inch pipe, way more solid. Better for tricks. I did not, however, improve at all in the decorating department. What’s with the white sections? Is my hoop injured and bound with gauze? I don’t know. This one is, if possible, even uglier in person than in photos.
My third hoop was purchased online. I assumed this one would be better designed and decorated than anything I’d make. The solid green is a big improvement over my hideous rainbows, but the construction of the hoop itself isn’t all that impressive. It’s a little misshapen, and dented in a couple of places. It's smaller than the other two, which is good for working out, since it takes more effort to keep a smaller hoop going.
If you’re interested in making hoops, it really is easy. Pick your favorite size PVC pipe (I really like the 3/4 inch), measure (you want the hoop to come about to your bellybutton when you stand it on the ground), cut the length you need, then connect the two ends with a PVC connector. You can glue the ends or wind some extra tape around the connection point too, to keep it from coming apart. You can also put sand or water in the pipe to weight the hoop. Weighted hoops are said to give a better workout. I prefer unweighted hoops so they can double as exercise or trick hoops.
Then, the part I can’t advise you on—decorating. Get some pretty tape. Do a better job than I do.
And here is an action shot of Professor Anne leaping through a hoop.