Look at that smile! This sturdy octagon jumping hoop is simple to make and will take you about two hours to assemble. Material costs will be around $20 per hoop.
The hoop being built here is approximately 24″ in “diameter” and stands about 18″ off the ground at the bottom of the octagon. You can easily vary the diameter by making the individual segments of the octagon shorter or longer, and vary the height by changing the length of the uprights. The hoop itself should be glued, but you could leave the uprights loose if you want to vary the height of the obstacle over time. Be aware that unglued joints are aren’t as steady as glued joints, though.
You will need a PVC cutting tool, measuring tape, and a Sharpie or similar marking tool. In addition, you will need paper towels for cleaning glue joints.
Below are the pre-cut pieces, ready to be assembled. The straight pieces of pipe are slightly more than 13 feet in total length, which means you’ll need two 10 foot pieces of pipe to construct one hoop, or three pieces to construct two hoops (in which case you need to double the connectors shown below).
The parts you’ll need (all 1″ diameter pipe and appropriate connectors):
1 45 degree slip connectors (10)
2 “T” slip connectors (4)
3 slip end caps (4)
4 16″ uprights (2)
5 4″ upright-to-hoop pieces (2)
6 9″ octagon sides (6)
7 3-13/16″ pieces for the octagon sides containing the “T” connectors (4)
8 12″ feet (4)
Note: If you vary the length of the octagon sides 6, the short segments 7 should be adjusted to the following formula (which takes into account the extra length of the “T” connectors):
7 = .5 * (length of 6 – 1.375)
Please see the tips page for general hints on cutting and assembling PVC pipe. Look for the red glue symbols in the photos to show the freshly glued joints in each step.
I built two hoops; the photos are all from the assembly of the first hoop. I was a bit smarter about assembling the second hoop, so look for italicized notes in the text to see what I did differently the second time around.
Here you can see my fancy workbench. The truck’s tailgate is the right height for working and the board will catch any dribbled glue (and there will be plenty of that!). I cut all of the pieces for both hoops ahead of time, which allowed a dry run to keep handy as a reference as I glue up the hoop I’m working on.
Start by gluing the segments 7 to a couple of T-connectors 2.
Next, add the short uprights 5 to the previous assemblies.
Note, on the second hoop I pre-glued a 45 degree connector to each of these pieces 5. This “45” need to be coplanar with the “T” (see the tips page for how to ensure connectors are in the same plane), so take care when gluing.
Glue 4 octagon sides 6 to two of the 45-degree connectors 1.
Two 45-degree connectors 1 have been added to one of the octagon side assemblies we created earlier. You will need to do this to both assemblies (only one is shown here). Note that the “45” connectors face away from the “T”.
It is possible that as you glue the hoop together that there will be a slight twist, as keeping the connectors coplanar is difficult when there are so many involved. A bit of twist is OK–while the hoop may not be a museum piece, your pup isn’t going to care! That said, be as careful as you can as you glue up the assembly.
Now we’re getting somewhere! The four sub-assemblies we’ve made thus far have been glued into two larger pieces.
Note: If you have already added the “45” connectors to the upright supports, be sure you glue these together as mirror images of each other, with the “45” on the upright support pointing towards the bottom of the photo.
Almost ready to complete the hoop! To get here, you will need to add another “45” connector 1 to the top of each sub-assembly from the previous step. At that point, take the two remaining octagon sides 6 and glue them to one of the sub-assemblies, top and bottom, as illustrated. This will make joining the two sub-assemblies into a single hoop relatively simple.
Glue the two sub-assemblies together. Most gluing is done by twisting the pipe a bit as it is inserted, to ensure that it gets a good coat of glue and that it seats fully home in the connector. Because we cannot twist these two assemblies as they are glued, ensure you have good glue coverage and that you press the pieces firmly together.
Next we’ll build the uprights. Glue the end caps 3 onto the feet 8.
Glue the four feet to the two remaining “T” connectors 2.
Glue the uprights 4 to the foot assemblies.
Note: Following the smart “italicized notes” method, you already have the “45” connectors for the long uprights on the main hoop assembly; now glue the long uprights into those “45” connectors, leaving the feet assemblies unattached at this point.
Glue the two remaining “45” connectors 1 to the upright assemblies. These need to be perpendicular to the plane of the foot assembly…if they were 90-degree connectors, a pipe sticking out of them should point straight into the air with the foot assemblies laid out as illustrated.
Note: If you’re smart, you’ll have been reading these notes and can ignore this step, as your “45” connectors will already be attached to the hoop and the uprights are already glued in them.
Finish the obstacle by gluing the uprights to the hoop, one side at a time.
Dry assemble both uprights to the hoop first, ensuring the hoop is vertical and the feet are flat on the table (and parallel with each other). Mark these unglued joints with a sharpie on both sides, so that when you glue the pieces together you can line the marks up. Take your time with this step.
This is where the alternative method described in the italicized notes really shines. In the method shown in the pictures, this is a fiddly step; if you get the glue joint crooked you can make the hoop tilt, or worse, get feet that aren’t even making the hoop unstable.
Note: In the smarter method outlined in these italic notes, at this stage you would be gluing the feet to the uprights, which are already attached to the hoop. The worst that can happen is that the feet point in weird directions and/or they’re not parallel to each other. In other words, it is nearly impossible to make a mistake here that makes the hoop unusable, only one that will make it less pretty, a much better place to be. On the second hoop I built, at this stage I simply turned the hoop upside down and eyeballed the feet into position.
And there it is, our finished octagon jump hoop!
There aren’t really too many options with this design. You can alter the size of the hoop and its height, of course, and you can leave the joints on either end of the long upright pieces unglued, which would give you the ability to swap them for longer or shorter pieces as your dog becomes more proficient or older.
You could leave just the hoop end of the long upright unglued, which would allow you to pull the hoop apart and store it flat if your course isn’t permanent. I would consider drilling a hole through both pieces of the unglued joint and putting a small screw in either side, through gravity and friction will keep it together, the screws would make it less annoying to move around the yard.
If your dog is a cheater and tends to go under the hoop, you could add one or more “T” connectors to the uprights on both sides and run cross-pieces across the space under the hoop.