Introduction: A Rocket in Your Pocket

Picture of A Rocket in Your Pocket

Not just a rocket in your pocket, but an entire rocket factory and launch system!

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
The materials are easy to find in most modern homes:
  • A pocket-sized box.
  • A box of matches
  • A small scrap of wood.
  • Some pieces of kitchen foil
Optional extra: a pocket lighter.

Step 2: Making the Launch Pad

Picture of Making the Launch Pad

Take the scrap of wood, and trim it to fit inside the box.

Half way along it, drill a small hole at an angle of 45 - the hole needs to be just large enough to fit a matchstick into.

Step 3: Outfiting the Kit

Picture of Outfiting the Kit

Er, well, you just put it all in the box...

If you put the pieces of foil at the bottom, they'll stay flatter.

Step 4: Making and Launching a Rocket.

Picture of Making and Launching a Rocket.

Take one piece of foil, and lay two matches head-to-head at one end.

Roll the matches up in the foil.

Make sure that one match can slide out of the foil tube you've made, but not too easily.

Twist the foil tightly around the other match.

Slot the rocket into the launcher, and apply heat to the middle of the foil, either with another match, or with the lighter.

After a few moments, the heat conducted by the foil will light the match-heads, and ... woosh!... off it will go.

I could make a lot of fuss about health and safety, but if you're old enough to be allowed to play with matches, you're old enough to know where and when you should launch rockets like this.  If you set fire to the cat and burn down the garden, it's your own fault.


SebastiaanV3 (author)2017-04-14

I already forgot this one.
My father thought me this.
Now it's time to teach my own kid.
Thanks for the reminder.

Kiteman (author)SebastiaanV32017-04-15

You're welcome!

hmbmideas (author)2014-08-04


Kiteman (author)hmbmideas2014-08-04

Thank you!

Saakaar Barthwal (author)2014-07-13

This is awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kiteman (author)Saakaar Barthwal2014-07-13

Thank you!

vishalapr (author)2013-05-26

Managed to launch some rockets pretty far! Had a blast with a few friends XD

Kiteman (author)vishalapr2013-05-26


stevo69nz (author)2013-01-28

nice one mate we'll try it tommorrow after work or at work :-)

smiley G.I JOE (author)2012-11-01

i gona try that and make like 20 of them next thing you know it i gona have a mini missile launcher. ladies and gentlemen this is how we crush our enemies.(quote tony stark iron man 1)

Patna43 (author)2011-11-23

Hey guys! I cool mod is to just cut of the red tips of the matches and stuff about five of those. If one match heats up, it causes the others to heat up in a chain reaction. When i tried that, my match rocket when about 40 feet. Plus add an extra layer of foil so the smoke doesn't leak out, otherwise it wont fly very well or not at oll. And instead of using a match as plug for the nozzle of the rocket, use a paper clip. That makes the nozzle smaller and causes the pressure to go up and the rocket goes further. Just a few tips.... :P

Patna43 (author)Patna432011-11-23

Another thing I did was make a full scale match rocket. I made a couple of these as booster rockets attached to a huge match rocket made from "Extreme Burner" Matches. These matches have HUGE flames that cause the rocket to fly far. This rocket flew almost 80 feet.

chimei62 (author)Patna432012-04-26

wow were do you buy the extreme burners?

avgas (author)2012-01-13

personaly I think it sucks the only reason is I followed o all of your insrtuctions and used 4 hole packets and matchs

TheAmateurArtisan (author)avgas2012-01-26

somebody's not a happy camper...

Personally, I'm always looking for various designs in pyrotechnics and well, everything. This is a very nice design Kiteman. I had an altoids tin and a zippo utility bending lighter soldered together to make a launch pad that could light far from your fingers over the summer.

somebody12345 (author)2011-12-05

Kiteman please respond to this

i think that this could work better if you used a small pinpiont blowtorch to light the matches

Kiteman (author)somebody123452011-12-06

They certainly ignite more quickly, but there is the risk of burning through the foil from the outside before the matches ignite on the inside.

If I use a blowtorch or bunsen to light these, I usually wave the flame over the match-heads to stop the whole thing scorching.

somebody12345 (author)Kiteman2011-12-07

thanks for your reply, my problem is that i do not really know what i am doing wrong i think it is that i wrapped the foil around the bottom match a little too tightly but i am not sure.

Kiteman (author)somebody123452011-12-08

So slacken it slightly by pulling one match out and then sliding it back in.

somebody12345 (author)Kiteman2011-12-07

forgot to add- i don't have any problems with the foil burning through just that the rocket won't take off

mkanoap (author)2011-11-17

When I was a kid, we made them in a slightly different manner. I'm eager to try your version to see the difference.

What we did was use a single match from a matchbook instead of two wooden matches. Before wrapping the head in tin foil, we would lay a pin on top of and in parallel to the match with the point touching the head. After applying the tin foil, the pin would be carefully slid out leaving a small raised channel exiting the end opposite the head for the exhaust to escape.

LiftAndLove (author)mkanoap2011-11-25

thats how i first made them too. but im still a kid.

Kiteman (author)mkanoap2011-11-17

That's a cultural difference - matchbooks have never really been popular in the UK.

Kryptonite (author)2011-09-26

Gah, beat me to it! Matchstick rockets are the greatest, I like your little rendition: poor photoshopping and all!

I'm glad you chose to document this method of make, in my opinion it's possibly the best in terms of simpleness : distance : matchstick usage ratio.

caarntedd (author)Kryptonite2011-10-21


Kiteman (author)caarntedd2011-10-21

It's really simple to make one that actually gets off the "pad".

caarntedd (author)Kiteman2011-10-21


Kryptonite (author)caarntedd2011-10-24

That's the one.

caarntedd (author)Kryptonite2011-10-25

: D

mkanoap (author)caarntedd2011-11-17


LiftAndLove (author)mkanoap2011-11-25 pic...XD

caarntedd (author)mkanoap2011-11-17

Ha ha!

Kiteman (author)Kryptonite2011-09-26

Haha, thanks. That's the exhaust plume of a Tomahawk missile breaking the surface.

Kryptonite (author)Kiteman2011-09-26

Oh dear, I hope no govermental institute was in the way!

smelly210 (author)2011-11-23

this does not work:(

Kiteman (author)smelly2102011-11-24

It just takes practice - if it just sat and smoked, tighten the foil; if flame burst out of one side, use more foil; if you had a healthy jet of smoke in the right direction (down), but nothing moved, slightly loosen the foil over the lower match.

PotatoCoffee (author)Kiteman2011-11-24

Pretty cool!

smelly210 (author)Kiteman2011-11-24

thanks i will try it now:)

Electricdude (author)2011-11-01

.......I don't think it will fly very far you know and it won't look good when flying ,too.I'll test it later.wish it will be good

Don't be disappointed by my comment. i'm just a 12-years-old kid anyway

Kiteman (author)Electricdude2011-11-01

I regularly make these with 9 year olds, and they can make them well enough to fly 10-20 feet.

It just takes a little practice.

ghooey2 (author)2011-10-15

every time i light it off it stays and smokes...?

Kiteman (author)ghooey22011-10-15
Could be many things, but most likely two:
  • Is one end twisted tight, and the other able to slide off the match (just)?
  • Have you got enough foil wrapped around it?
lug big lug (author)Kiteman2011-10-15

you could possibly be heating it too slowly, mine wouldn't work because of that

Trapper777 (author)2011-10-02

I think you could make this tabletop-size, or bigger, if you wanted to

Kiteman (author)Trapper7772011-10-03

Not for a pocket-sized contest, though...

tqwerty (author)2011-09-26

The third last word.
Just had to point that out.

Great instructable though!

Kryptonite (author)tqwerty2011-09-26

Your totally right, that needs to be fixed.

Kiteman (author)Kryptonite2011-09-27


tqwerty (author)Kiteman2011-09-27

Now it's awesome.. wait.. it probably already was‽

ZoDo (author)2011-09-27

Nice...but here's a challange for you...can you make a stalin's organ from this?
That would be really cool.

About This Instructable




Bio: The answer is "lasers", now, what was the question? If you need help, feel free to contact me. Project previews on Tumblr & Twitter: @KitemanX
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