Sunday, November 11, 2012

Baby Gym from Hula Hoop

Last month, Daisy was visiting her cousin and played in this play mat: 

She really likes to look at things hanging above her, but we don't have one of those at our house. I didn't want to purchase one, because I don't know how much longer she'll enjoy lying on her back and looking up at stuff, since she's on her way to the next stages of babyhood. 

I thought about it over the last month, and today I was finally able to make one during Daisy's nap! Here we go!

Start with a hula hoop. Zane's job has tons of hula hoops, so I asked him to bring home one that was bent and unusable to the company (which he did with permission from the inventory guys). 

Zane cut it in half at the bent points with a hand saw. 

I used fabric that I already had from an old window valance, but it was originally a bedsheet. 

I made:
Two 60''x2'' sleeves (I suggest adjusting that to 54''x1'')
One 18''x30'' panel for the bottom
One 9''x2.5'' sleeve 

Here's a general idea of where we're going with this: 

After you make your sleeves, slip the hula hoops into the sleeves. Then slip the small sleeve over both hula hoops, so you have this:

Next, sew ends of the hula hoops to the corners of the panel. I squeezed mine under the sewing machine, but this could be done by hand as well:

60'' was too long for my sleeves, so my panel didn't lay flat and the hoops were all cock-eyed. 

To fix that, I slipped the hula hoops as far into the corners as possible, and gathered the extra fabric under the middle joint sleeve. Then I hand-sewed the hula sleeves to the joint sleeve to secure the gathered fabric. I hope that makes sense. It's really tacky and raw-looking, but it's for my own kid, so I'm not trying to impress anyone with a gift. 

A 1'' wide sleeve would look much cleaner, and 54'' long sleeves wouldn't require the extra gathering into the middle joint sleeve. If I ever make this as a gift, I'll do that adjustment. 

Here's the final product with toys and a blanket: 

Total cost: $0.00, because I already had the materials!
Estimated cost for approximately 1 yard of fabric and a hula hoop: $5.00?
Cost of a new baby gym: $30.00-$80.00, depending on brand and sophistication. 

Yay for saving money! 

There are many ways you can adjust this DIY to be more cute or more sophisticated. You can add tabs along the sleeves, use pretty baby fabric, or even a bigger hula hoop. Hopefully this post just gives you an idea of what you can do yourself instead of spending the extra bucks. 
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