For those who enjoy woodworking, making toys is a source of great fun and satisfaction. You can create a number of entertaining gifts, such as hula hoops, for the children who inspire your wooden toy projects. Building a wooden hula hoop may cost more than purchasing a plastic version, but the process is fun and challenging, and the result is long-lasting.
Cut a 2-by-4-inch piece of wood to make 10 strips. You can do this using a wood strip cutter jig (a specialised table saw jig). The strips should measure approximately 1 inch by 1/8 inch. They should be long enough (approximately 75.40 inches) to make a circle when bent, such that the circle has about a 24-inch diameter.
Heat some water. Put the wooden strips and hot water in a PVC pipe. This holds the strips straight so they do not assume another shape as they soak. Lumberjocks.com advises soaking the strips for approximately 15 minutes to make them flexible.
Supply round forms and tension for the inside and outside of the hoop. Wrap the strips around a spare tire, so the space the tire occupies becomes the circle inside the hoop, and then wrap a ratchet strap around the outside of the wood-encircled tire, to form the circle on the outside of the hoop. Do this with each strip, one over the other, overlapping the strips slightly to make them continuous. This way the strips do not all begin and end at the same point, which will make the finished product stronger. You will need to glue the strips together. Allow time for the glue to dry (overnight should be sufficient).
Remove the hoop from the ratchet strap and tire once the glue is dry. Sand any rough spots and edges. Paint the hoop in the colour(s) of your choosing. Allow the paint to dry.
Lumberjocks cautions that these instructions yield a finished product that is about 24 inches in diameter. The standard size for a hula hoop is about 28 inches. You may use materials other than a ratchet strap and spare tire to give the wooden strips their shape, if you require a different size. The size of hoop that results from these instructions should suffice for a young child.
Use caution when cutting the wood strips and in soaking them in hot water. If children are helping with this project, complete these steps yourself.