How-To: LED Hula Hoop

Craft & Design

CRAFT: Geek Crafts
By Brookelynn Morris
LED hula hoops are so beautiful to watch, and creating a custom hoop is a satisfying challenge. Twenty-one LEDs are used in this hoop; 6 are flashing LEDs that cycle through the colors of the rainbow. Each light is combined with a resistor and then wired together in a classic and simple parallel circuit.
Be sure to research each part and its specs when creating the circuit design. Each LED for this project was chosen for its similar voltage drop, making things simpler by requiring only one value of resistor.
The battery for this project can be a laptop battery like the one used here, or a few AAA batteries taped into series. Either way, the tube can be taken apart for the battery to be easily changed. Experimentation and thoughtful research will make this project successful.


Translucent plastic tubing, about 12′ I used HDPE plastic, 3/4″ outer diameter x 0.75 wall, “natural” color, product #58017 from The tubing must be translucent so that light can be emitted from within, and HDPE’s natural color is a translucent milky white. It must be stiff, yet easy to bend in a circle. The diameter is an important consideration: ” tubing is less expensive but trickier to fit the circuit and battery into, while 1″ tubing costs more but gives more options for batteries and their holders. A common package length is 100′, enough for almost 10 hoops.
Barbed pipe fitting to match tubing diameter, from the plumbing or garden section of a hardware store
White electrical tape
Switch Almost any kind will do, so long as it fits into the hoop.
3.6V lithium CMOS battery with axial leads
LEDs (21)
of any color, including multicolored flashers
22-gauge wire with white insulation
Stiff wire
like an unbent coat hanger
PVC pipe cutter
Measuring tape
Razor blade
Soldering iron and solder
Wire cutters
Needlenose pliers
Epoxy or hot glue (optional)

Go to MAKE: Projects for the full directions and PDF.

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I'm a word nerd who loves to geek out on how emerging technology affects the lexicon. I was an editor on the first 40 volumes of MAKE, and I love shining light on the incredible makers in our community. In particular, covering art is my passion — after all, art is the first thing most of us ever made. When not fawning over perfect word choices, I can be found on the nearest mountain, looking for untouched powder fields and ideal alpine lakes.

Contact me at or via @snowgoli.

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