Plans for Making A Wooden Hoola Hoop for a 7 Year Old Girl - By Rachel DeCou

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Blog entry by Mark A. DeCou posted 09-16-2008 02:16 AM 11258 reads 1 time favorited 33 comments Add to Favorites Watch

This blog entry today is somewhat woodworking related, and the content has mostly been provided by my daughter Rachel, a student of woodworking, at least in the way I do woodworking.

She’s been hanging out in the shop all afternoon since the grade school decided to call off school today because the Cottonwood River was up so high, cutting off roads around the County today. I’m enjoying her presence in the shop, but I hope the water is down tomorrow so she can learn something worthwhile at the school.

Rachel’s brother headed off with momma to the store, but Rachel decided she wanted to spend her afternoon in the wood shop with me. Riley did also, but he knows that he gets to eat out at Subway, or McDonald’s when he goes on a Store run. So, he opted for food rather than the wood shop, which I can understand.

Rachel’s favorite thing to do right now is to pack a sack lunch of bologna sandwiches and eat in the dusty woodshop with me. She prefers that over eating in the clean house. I know these days will pass quickly, and she will soon enough not want much to do with old balding daddy, so I cherish the bologna sandwich days.

And, something else you should know, is that Rachel is a pretty insistent girl.

By that I mean, that when she gets an idea in her head, it doesn’t leave easily. I’m the same way, so I understand her situation.

This afternoon, she decided that I should make her a Hoola Hoop. She had one from the store, but her brother broke it about a month after Christmas this year, so she’s Hoola Hoopless now.

I don’t know where the idea came from. She was sitting quietly watching “Greatest Hero’s of the Bible: Joseph,” a kid’s show on TBN that I recorded for the kids on the DVR (yes, I have satellite tv in the shop).

So, I’m sitting there a stool working at the workbench, Rachel is sitting on a stool watching the show, and suddenly she turns to me and says:

Rachel: ”Dad, make me a Hoola Hoop please.”

Me: ”I can’t do that, I only work in wood, and they are made of plastic.”

Rachel: ”You can make one, you can make anything

(author’s note: Rachel is still only 7 years old, and if she wants to think that I can make anything, then why would I spoil that notion? On the other hand, I’m 44 and still think that my dad can make anything.)

Me: ”Rachel, I don’t have time, I need to make some money, and a lot of people have sent me their money, and are waiting on their things to be built.”

Rachel: ”You can make one with wood, I know you can.”

Me: ”Even if I could, I don’t have time right now.”

(Author’s note: as you can see when two hard-headed people collide, nobody moves an inch.)

Rachel: ”Ugh! Fine, just fine !”

Me: ”Sorry honey, I just can’t make a hoola hoop today. You should have gone to the store with Momma and you could have gotten a new Hoola Hoop.”

Rachel: ”I don’t want one from the store, I want you to make one.”

Me: ”I’m sorry, I can’t do it today, just quit arguing with me.”

Rachel: ”Fine! I’ll make you a list of how to do it.”

Me: ”You’re gonna make me a list of how to make a Hoola Hoop? I’d like to see that.”

Rachel: ”Where’s the paper….. I can’t find any paper anywhere in this mess.”

(Author’s note: yes, the shop is dirty and messy, but there is paper in there somewhere.)

Me: ”The paper is on the clipboard over there.”

Rachel: ”Ohhh, there’s a spider web on the clipboard.”

Me: ”Give it here, I’ll brush it off.”

Rachel: ”Thanks Dad, do you think I’ll always be scared of spiders?.”

Me: ”Probably.”

Rachel: ”Ok, now let me concentrate.”

(Author’s Note: Rachel here’s that last phrase from me quite often.)

- – - – - -—- – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – -

At this point, Rachel sits down and writes out the plans for making a hoola hoop.

When she handed me the paper, she says, ”Ok, here, now you can build me one.”

I was so tickled with her list, I decided to share it with the other tender hearts on LJ, as there will be other busy people that need a “plan” like this one.

So, I scanned it, and I hope you enjoy it half as much as I do.

How to Make A Wooden Hoola Hoop – By Rachel DeCou 9-15-2008

In case you couldn’t read the writing, it has just two Steps:

Step 1: Make a Circle of Wood.

Step 2: Next. Paint it. The whole thing.

thanks for reading along,
Mark DeCou


Update for 9-18-2008
I was so thrilled to see a project posted this morning from Quixote with his daughter working on a Hoola Hoop with him. What an inspiration he is. Some of us “talk” about something, but it is people like Quixote that actually “do” something. Hurray for him.

I’ll start a list here of “Hoola Hoop Builders”, and hope to add a bunch more project postings from the readers who are trying to make a special moment with their own children, grandchildren, nieces, etc.:

  1. Quixote's Hoola Hoop
  2. Mark DeCou's version of the Woodie Hoop
  3. “Who’s gonna be next?”

  4. _

(This project posting, text, and story is protected by copyright 2008 by the author, M.A. DeCou. All rights reserved, no unauthorized use of this material is permitted. Weblinks to this page is permitted without permission. Thanks for your help.)

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

33 comments so far

View Obi's profile


2214 posts in 5114 days

#1 posted 09-16-2008 02:21 AM

Sounds easy enough to me… especially for someone who can make anything. And what are you gonna do, disappoint that poor child. Oh, skip the paint, and keep us posted

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5283 days

#2 posted 09-16-2008 02:26 AM

thanks Michael.

-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

View Karson's profile


35226 posts in 5278 days

#3 posted 09-16-2008 02:31 AM

Don’t make it out of Walnut, if you are going to paint it.

I don’t want Debbie to have company in the painted Walnut corner.

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Appomattox Virginia [email protected]

View Bob #2's profile

Bob #2

3810 posts in 4899 days

#4 posted 09-16-2008 02:35 AM

In deference to your daugther , go buy the kid a hoola hoop.

She has no idea how heavy these circles are when made from wood and she thinks her Daddy can do anything.

Sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

Cute story anyway.


-- A mind, like a home, is furnished by its owner

View John in SD's profile

John in SD

140 posts in 4690 days

#5 posted 09-16-2008 03:22 AM

I expect to see a painted wooden hula hoop in the Projects section soon.

-- Life used to be soooo much simpler!!!!

View itsme_timd's profile


690 posts in 4708 days

#6 posted 09-16-2008 03:52 AM

Sounds like a great segmented turning project. You might even be able to sneak by Rachel without Step 2 if you use the right wood!

I does make a dad feel good to see what “superstars” they are to the little ones, doesn’t it???

-- Tim D. - Woodstock, GA

View darryl's profile


1795 posts in 5203 days

#7 posted 09-16-2008 03:54 AM

I’m with Karson, don’t use Walnut if you are going to paint it.

and we all know you can do it… should be interesting to see.

View Tony Z's profile

Tony Z

205 posts in 4667 days

#8 posted 09-16-2008 04:00 AM

That was hilarious. I think I had that same conversation yesterday.

-- Tony, Ohio

View Quixote's profile


206 posts in 4515 days

#9 posted 09-16-2008 04:16 AM

It’s these Papa Bear moments that you’ll cherish forever. I know that when I put on my Superman cape, failure is an option…but failure to try is not…

I’d try steam bending / laminating some thin strips of light pine, just overlap and keep winding around a 55 gallon drum till you get your thickness, then ratchet strap in shape till set.

Or… a roll of bailing twine can be purchased from a farm supply store pretty inexpensive, the fiber comes from plants so you’re still closer to wood than plastic…

Wind about a dozen or so loops around the drum, (or better yet a car tire inner tube so you can over inflate it later for shape and tension while drying), then start a couple hundred of winds around the loops to round it in like a compound bow string. Soak it with wood glue, shape it and let it dry…

Thanks for sharing,


-- I don't make sawdust...I produce vast quantities of "Micro Mulch."

View oldskoolmodder's profile


802 posts in 4557 days

#10 posted 09-16-2008 05:24 AM

I like the laminated wood idea, but I’d think something light and something dark in layers, would be an awesome Hoola Hoop built by Daddy.

This post has made my night, thanks Mark.

-- Respect your shop tools and they will respect you - Ric

View trifern's profile


8135 posts in 4644 days

#11 posted 09-16-2008 05:32 AM

Priceless… I look forward to seeing her plans put into action. Thanks for sharing, Mark.

-- My favorite piece is my last one, my best piece is my next one.

View Christopher's profile


576 posts in 4797 days

#12 posted 09-16-2008 06:51 AM

This is such a cool story Mark. I have two daughters but their shop time is over as they are 14 and 12 now. I am eager to see a DeCou hoola hoop!

View TomK 's profile


504 posts in 4752 days

#13 posted 09-16-2008 12:27 PM

Yeah, enjoy the shop time as long as you can!

-- If you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it's free! PJ O'Rourke

View Gerald Miller's profile

Gerald Miller

52 posts in 4829 days

#14 posted 09-16-2008 12:41 PM

From the famous line in the movie “Water Boy” You can do it.

-- Jerry Miller

View Mark A. DeCou's profile

Mark A. DeCou

2009 posts in 5283 days

#15 posted 09-16-2008 02:45 PM

You are all just great. Thanks for the comments.

I really didn’t plan on making the Hoola Hoop, but after reading all of your input, I’m actually thinking about it. You know, I’d have to make two of them though.


-- Mark DeCou - American Contemporary Craft Artisan -

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