Shipping a hula hoop or traveling with a collapsed hula hoop can make the shape pretty weird/wonky when you first put it back to its normal size. Before you freak out and think your hoop is messed up forever, rest assured knowing that it was a perfect circle before your hoop smith sent it or before you packed it for travel… so it will go back to perfect again, it just needs a little help from you. I made this little video to show you how you can fix the shape of your hula hoop. It’s simple… but I think some people are just so scared they might mess something up, especially with LED hoops. Don’t worry… your hoops are not quite as delicate as you might think. Be gentle but firm, and these methods are perfectly safe for led hoops too.
Most people have heard of the ‘letting it breath’ suggestion, meaning to undo whatever it is that is holding the hula hoop into a collapsed form and just allowing it to stretch itself out for some time. This definitely isn’t a bad idea and it does help, but I am usually too impatient for that and its not always necessary. I will say that if its a polypro hoop and its very cold shipping/traveling weather, definitely let the tubing warm up before trying these shape-fixing techniques so that you don’t risk breaking it as polypro becomes more brittle in cold temperatures. Allowing the hoop to ‘breathe’ will allow it to slowly uncoil some, but it will never uncoil fully. If you decide to be patient and do this step, when you do connect it together the shape may still look off. It would look more normal than if you tried putting it together right away, but you can still benefit from this demonstration to get it to that perfect circle that you love so much.
When the hula hoop shape is off it is usually either a little flat looking right at the connection, or it is a little bit bowed in at the connection. Which one of these you are experiencing is usually related to how it was collapsed. We choose to collapse our hoops small enough that the two ends of tubing meet back up and cross over each other, so the Velcro straps we use are wrapping around 3 points of the tubing, and we use two straps. Collapsing small like this usually results in the bowed in shape initially. We do this small collapsing because it forces the tube to stay in a curved shape during shipping/travel. Coiling them less than this can often result in the ends of the tubing sticking out straight which I find to be more annoying to fix the shape when the hoops trying to be flat/straight in the connection area. The tubing rolls purchased from extrusion companies come very tightly coiled. We usually stretch them out before cutting anything off of them, but sometimes we use these techniques to get a perfect hoop from a freshly opened roll of tubing.
The first shape fixing method is the more well known/obvious one. When the hula hoop is connected, you can pull up at the connection while your foot is on the opposite side of tubing. If it is an LED hoop, just make sure the hoop is fully connected into the ‘on’ position. Having the LED hoop in the ‘off’ position and pulling on the connection can put too much stress on that insert tubing and bend/break it, but as long as its fully connected its perfectly safe. If the shape is only slightly off, this method is usually enough to make the hoop a perfect circle again. If it still looks ovular, bowed in, or wonky, give the next shape fixing method a try. Most people might not think to try this, but it works really well even for the extreme wonky hoops. You open the hoop at the push button, and one side at a time pull the tube nice and straight and hold it for 30 seconds. Basically the hoop is over coiling, so your just straightening it back out some. It looks a little scary, but it works like a charm….and is perfectly safe for LEDs as well. Hopefully this article and video helps you to fix the shape of your hula hoop into a perfect circle of happiness again!