How to Cover a Hula Hoop with Fabric

How to Cover a Hula Hoop with Fabric

Howdy folks!  I’m really excited to be a guest here on Go Gingham.  When Sara and I first met, we instantly bonded over our mutual world-view through eco-green glasses.  Her chick with sticks post was right up my alley.  She thinks my motto, “Mall is a 4-letter word” is hilarious.  So I was honored when she asked if I’d show you how I make my fabric-decorated hula hoops!

I love teaching my Hula Hoop Fitness classes.  What seems like kids play can actually be challenging for adults.  Not only the act of hooping, but the hand/eye coordination, agility and kinetic awareness provides an excellent gym-free workout.

Now, today’s post is about how to decorate your hula hoop.  Don’t have an adult size hoop?  No worries.  Hop over to my blog for a tutorial on how to make your basic hula hoop . Once you have your basic hoop, you’re ready to start decorating it.

 How to Cover a Hula Hoop with Fabric Materials Needed:

  • 1 hula hoop
  • fabric in colors and patterns of your choice. Cottons or cotton blends work best.  Avoid stretchy, gauzy or super thick fabrics.
  • adhesive such as Mod Podge.   I use a combination of the hard coat and outdoor formulas.
  • scissors or rotary cutter and mat.  If you are an avid crafter/seamster a mat and rotary cutter is a huge time saver.  If not use good, sharp fabric shears.  I don’t recommend ripping the fabric.  Too many frayed threads to deal with.
  • 1″ or 2″ paint brush or foam brush
  • Something to cover your works surface.  I don’t recommend newspaper for this because the print can bleed on to the fabric.  I use old sheets but you could use plastic dry cleaner bags or picnic table clothes.
  • bowl or something to pour your adhesive into.  Left over food containers, such as those for bulk peanut butter or yogurt work well.
  • sand paper (optional)
  • rubber gloves (optional)

The first step, if you so choose, is to sand your hoop a bit.  This will create a stronger bond.

Next, whether you sand it down or not, you’ll want to wipe clean and dry your hoop.

Now it’s time to start playing with your fabrics.  You can do a hoop in one fabric or do a blend of fabrics. Just like most of my projects this is not an exact science. Trust your creativity!

If you have a fabric fetish like me, this is a great project to use up those fabric scraps you’ve been saving but aren’t really big enough for clothing or large projects.  I like to gather remnants I think look good together, iron them out a bit if they’re wrinkled.  Here’s what I came up with.

How to Cover a Hula Hoop with Fabric

 Here are some fabrics that I thought I might use.  As you’ll see, things can change during the process.

 Once you have your fabric, it’s time to cut your fabric strips.  Like I mentioned, you can cut them with scissors or use your rotary cutter for this step.  Your strips should be about 1.5″ wide.  The length can vary.  Somewhere between 12″ -36″ should work.  Too short, they’re not worth it and too long, they can get tangled.  It’s best to cut fabric on the grain, since cutting on the bias makes the fabric stretchy.

How to Cover a Hula Hoop with Fabric

 I love my rotary cutter and mat. I used a pinking blade on a Olfa cutter.  A straight blade will work as well.

How to Cover a Hula Hoop with Fabric

 I always cut more than I need because I use strips for other projects, like my coiled fabric baskets or crochet rag rugs.

 Next up, it’s time to apply the strips to the hoop.  I prefer to pour my Mod Podge into a wide mouth bowl so I can easily dip my brush in it, plus I can blend a few different formulas together too.  I mix the Mod Podge Hard Coat and Mod Podge Outdoor formulas together.  About 1:1 ratio. (Is it sinking in that this is not an exact science?).  Oh, and the outdoor formula is really thick.  When I get to the last of the jar, I add a smidge of water (1 tablespoon or so), shake and pour.  I don’t want to waste it!

How to Cover a Hula Hoop with Fabric

For this step, I prefer to work on the floor, but you can use a tabletop. The squatting up and down does give you a great leg workout though!

Next, lay a fabric strip on your work surface, right side down.  Paint the backside of the strip from end to end with the adhesive.  You want to get a fairly thick coat on, and cover the entire surface area.

How to Cover a Hula Hoop with Fabric

 It’s kind of hard to see it, but there is adhesive painted on the backside of the fabric strip.  Don’t worry about it being messy or if it gets on the front side of the fabric.  That’s a good thing.  You’ll want the strip to be coated heavily so it bleeds through to the front side.  That will be its protective coating.

Take the strip, and on an angle, start wrapping it around the hoop.  I wrap my strips about 1/4″-1/2″ apart.  I don’t stress if the spacing is a bit off here and there.  Once you have that baby whipping around your waist, who’s gonna know, right?

As I wrap my strips I smooth them down and if there’s extra adhesive oozing out, just smooth it over the top surface of the strip.  The strips should pretty much be soaked through. This will create a protective coating once it’s dry.

As I work with each strip, I prop my wet hoop against the chair in my crafty room and on a sheet on the floor.  The adhesive is non-toxic and can be scrubbed off it gets on anything.

OK! Getting into the groove? Just keep painting the adhesive onto your fabric strips, and wrapping your strips until you’ve gone all the way around the hoop.

How to Cover a Hula Hoop with Fabric

 The wrapping begins!

 To finish off your hoop, you’ll come full circle and wrap the end of the last strip over the beginning of the first one.  If it’s too long you can just cut it off. I like to cut my ends at an angle.

How to Cover a Hula Hoop with Fabric

Here, I’ve come full circle, so to speak. I’m just lining up the last strip to overlap the first one. I’ll have to cut this last strip a bit shorter. I like to cut my ends at an angle.

 If you’ve done a thin coat and want to paint a protective coating, now is the time to do it.

Once you have your hoop wrapped and the strips are thinly coated with the Mod Podge, just let it dry.  If the weather is permitting, you can hang it from a tree outside.  Or just lean it up against the wall, with the wall and floor protected.  I give them about 24 hours before use.  They may be a bit tacky. It can take a few days for the surface to cure completely.

How to Cover a Hula Hoop with Fabric

It’s a gorgeous day, so I’m hanging my hoops out to dry on a tree branch.

 Care and feeding of your hoop

  • Best to store your hoop inside when not in use. A bit of moisture is not going to hurt it, but a good soaking should be avoided.  I live in Portland, OR so this is significant!
  • Just like hoops decorated with tapes, the hoops do get scuffed over time.  If you feel compelled to do so, you can re-coat it.  Or you can rip off the strips and start over when you want a whole new color combo.
  • If you want a heavier hoop you can add a bit water or sand to your hoop when making your basic hoop.

OK! Thanks for playing.  I hope you love your new hoop as much as I do mine.  Once you have your hoop, you can learn all kinds of tricks to impress your friends . YouTube has tons of how-to videos. The book, Hooping-A Revolutionary Fitness Program by HoopGirl, Christabel Zamor breaks moves down into easy to follow steps and includes a DVD.  During the summer I offer Hula Hoop Recess fitness classes.  And Sara is a hooper, too.  Have fun!


3 thoughts on “How to Cover a Hula Hoop with Fabric

  1. Hi Emily!
    I love this project. Whenever scraps (fabric or otherwise) can be used, it’s so good. Hula hooping is a great way to keep your core strong. It’s fun exercise!


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