WHY would one want to do this? For me, it was because I wanted a glow stick hoop that opened up easily. My original was just a twisting collapsible but to open the hoop took more time than I wanted and I had to use a hairdryer until I managed to stretch one of the hoop ends out enough to just pull really hard on it. And now that one will no longer collapse safely due to said stretched out join and I have the busted lip to prove it.
This can be used to make a hoop that lights up with glow sticks, blinky buttons, fill it with glitter or even possibly LEDs (I don’t know if this would work; I’m not an electrician nor an LED hoop maker). You could even make a collapsible hoop that will coil onto itself like so:
Or make one that comes apart in at least three pieces. The choice is up to you! I just wanted to share my process with everyone here. Please, if you can think of an easier way, share it.
I’m distributing this under the Creative Commons Use License. You may use this tutorial and the photos and you may teach others this method but please attribute them to me, Kristen Teffeteller, and do not sell the text or the photos. I do not mind if you use my instructions to make connectors for hoops you sell but again you cannot sell the text or the photos themselves and if you re-post either one you must reference my name as the originator/author of these particular instructions & photos. Thanks and much hoop love!!
for collapsible or glowing interior hoops
*You may want to do this outside due to plastic dust!!**
- Quick-Release button connector for Telescoping tubing (available from McMaster-Carr at this page, down at the bottom. I’m using part #94282A250)
- Sandpaper (I used 3M SandBlaster 60 grade Coarse and a 3M fine grade block)
- Drill bit at least as big as the push button (for mine, the button is 1/4″ across, so I used a 1/4″ drill bit)
- Tubing for hoop, untaped (not shown)
- Heat source (boiling water, hairdryer, heat gun — not shown)
1. Cut a strip of sandpaper as wide as one half of the hoop connector and long enough to wrap around the connector.
2. Wrap sandpaper strip around one end of connector w/ sandpaper on the inside.
3.Grip the sandpaper-wrapped connector end in one hand and the other end with your free hand. Twist your hands in opposite diresctions back & forth to create a twisting, grinding action with your connector and sandpaper. Make sure you are sanding the barbs and the flat part next to the center ridge of the connector.
4. Do this for about a minute, then remove the sandpaper to check the smoothness. Keep going until you reach the desired smoothness of the connector end. For me, it still has to have enough ridges to hold inside of the hoop but smooth enough to slide into or out of the tube with just a little work. You do not want this popping open on you! Test this by pushing the connector into the end of your tubing. It needs to be a bit tough to get in but you should not need heat to get the sanded end pushed in.
5. Once at desired smoothness, insert barbed end into one end of the hoop (may need some sort of heat source to do this). Push the smooth end into the other end to assemble as normal. *Remember which end has been sanded!*
6.Using drill and appropriate drill bit, drill a hole into the hoop and through the connector to the hollow inside. To prevent from going too far, you can mark your drill bit with a bit of gaff tape the depth it needs to go — for instance, the tubing is about an 1/8″ of an inch thick, so I marked the drill bit at 1/4″ (estimating for tubing and connector together) from the drilling end with a piece of gaff tape. This way I didn’t drill through to the other side!
7. Once hole is drilled, ensure button will push all the way into the hole. If not, use a small drill bit to enlarge the hole, kind of like a mini sander. Go slowly around the inside edge of the hole until it is big enough for the button to push comfortably in and come out without any effort.
8. Open up the hoop by holding the non-sanded connector end (inside the hoop) and pulling the drilled, sanded end away. You may have to push up and down a bit to wiggle it out. Place the button connector into the sanded end w/ the hinge pointing away from you. Push in until the button pops through the hole.
9. Push down on the button and slide the connector back into the hoop. Push the connector end in until the button pops through the hole on the hoop.
10. With thinner tubing, you’ll be able to push the button in with just your thumb. On thicker tubing (like the 3/4″ ID HDPE tubing in the photos), you can use the end of a pen or just wedge a finger/fingernail into the hole to push down on the button to open the tubing.