Introduction: Homemade Bottle Rockets

Picture of Homemade Bottle Rockets
A while back my friend asked an easy way to make a bottle rocket this Instructable was born

  • Make sure to wear the proper protective gear such as some kind of glasses for eye protection, safety glasses would be best .....

*some sort of breathing protection would also be advised

  • gloves help as well so you don't burn yourself

Check the video for a picture of me dressed like a ninja with homemade safety wear and my first three rocket launches

I tried embedding it but alas, photo bucket is lame. so you get a crappy long link ....YAY

PS. if you like it ....rate it up .....don't flake !

Step 1: What You Will Need

Picture of What You Will Need
1. Post its
2.A Hammer
3. a small bit of fuse
4.a small mixing bowl
5.A mortar and pestle
6.needle nose pliers
7. duct or scotch tape
8. wooden skewers
9.A Pencil
10. A nail
11. Black Powder
12.kitty litter

  • Pictures of these will be listed in order below

Step 2: Begin Rolling the Tube

Picture of Begin Rolling the Tube

Fold your post it in half horizontally sticky side up so the sticky part bonds with the non-sticky part

And Begin rolling the tube

Step 3: Tape the Tube

Picture of Tape the Tube

Using scotch tape preferably, tape the tube tightly on the pencil

Step 4: Kitty Litter Grind Up

Picture of Kitty Litter Grind Up

Grind your kitty litter using the mortar and pestle
Note: this is sometimes very difficult

Step 5: Pour the Litter

Picture of Pour the Litter
Put about 1/4 inch of kitty litter into the tube being sure to press tightly against the working surface so not to spill any out.

Then,put the pencil in after to litter

Starting slowly, pound the pencil into the tube compressing the kitty litter

  • The reason Kitty Litter is used is because it is almost 100% Bentonite clay which is the same thing used in model rockets (the sealant)

Step 6: Add the Black Powder

Picture of Add the Black Powder

Follow the Litter with the Black Powder being sure to compact it thoroughly.

Step 7: MakeYour Nossel

Picture of MakeYour Nossel

Taking the hammer and nail .....or better yet a drill bit in a drill.... CAREFULLY tap the nail into the top layer of litter all the way through to the black powder(this is the nossel)

Ps the smaller the hole, the more propulsion. But with a better chance of it exploding on ignnition



Take a bit of fuse and cut it with the needle nose pliers About 2" will do fine

bend the last bit of the fuse about an eighth of an inch onto itself.

Step 9: Its Beginning to Look Alot Like *Rockets*

Picture of Its Beginning to Look Alot Like *Rockets*

Insert fuse into hole made by the nail ....if needed you can also put a small ball of paper in the hole to hold it in but mine usually stay fine

Step 10: Scewer Galor !

Picture of Scewer Galor !

Get your skewers. For this size of rocket the skewers were too big so i cut them

Step 11: Coming Along

Picture of Coming Along

Using more scotch tape or in my case ductape, tape the skewer onto the rocket


Picture of  AND BAM....YOUR DONE
Thats about it ....Enjoy

If there are any questions please, comment, and i will do my best to answer them

Oh I almost forgot, please use these responsibly. you never know what could happen.
Also check the local laws in your area or zip code, to make sure bottle rockets are legal

  • One Last Note.... If your first bottle rocket does not shoot as planned don't give up may be that its too heavy or that you nossle is just the wrong size.

Happy Rocketing !


Hopefully the video will work ....If not go here:


Gunter187 (author)2015-06-23

where did you get the black powder? Can u make it?

Ennie (author)Gunter1872015-06-28

You can find tutorials on line the teach you how to make black powder. All it is is charchaol, suffer, and potassium nitrate.

Ennie (author)Ennie2015-06-28

Charchaol, sulfur, and potassium nitrate.

sikkmate (author)2007-10-01

sweet i just have a quick question is black powder just gun powder like out of bullets??? and does the skewer go flying with the rocket wen it lights

Tbirdfisher (author)sikkmate2014-07-14

And yes, the skewer goes up with it.

airsoftjunke (author)sikkmate2010-07-01

black powder is "old school" and was used in muzzle loading riffles(think lewis and clark). the gun powder in new age ammo is smokeless and less explosive but burns quicker building up gases to propel the projectile to its target. bottom line: they are two different things.

badideasrus (author)airsoftjunke2013-07-04

technicaly, smokeless powder doesnt explode at all. just burns extremely rapidly. much faster than blackpowder in fact. however, the pressure and gasses created would burst the rocket well before it even started to move, so dont try it. not good for rockets. good for mini paper pipebombs. (and by default getting in trouble with the police in most places...)

codycnnn04 (author)2011-07-04

How did you know that the nail would be a big enough nozzle for the right amount of thrust for the rocket, without detonating the rocket or being to little thrust?

badideasrus (author)codycnnn042013-07-04

guess work and multiple tries, i'd think. provided you can get your hands on real blackpowder (i doubt pyrodex would work..but maybe) these are cheap enough to build. so a few test runs shouldnt be hard. just get away before they go off. to be safe.

max_bakerman (author)2009-07-06

what exactly does the litter do?

trojanx (author)max_bakerman2009-12-07

it works as a substitute for the clay found in most rocket type fireworks

badideasrus (author)trojanx2013-07-04

it IS the clay found in most rockets..... just used for something else. yay sourcing.

badideasrus (author)badideasrus2013-07-04

but, chemguy is right, it makes everything go one way, and restricts the flow, increasing pressure and directing force.

pixelinstructable (author)2013-02-24

Re: Insane_Pyro_Genius! remark from 2008
This grinding process can be dangerous.
If the KNO3 is dry it can ignite while grinding with a surprising flash and a lot of heat. So always wear gloves, safety glasses, and safety clothing.
Back in 1947 when I was a child,between 8-11, in NYC I made rockets using a modified black powder recepe. The fuses were made with cotton string soaked in KNO3 dissolved in water at room temperature and then the fuse cord was rolled in finely divided magnesium and sulfer and air dried. The fuses worked but were not very reliable time wise, between 15 and 60 sec/inch. Never bothered to fine tune the fuses as I was more interested in flying rockets and testing rocket fuel.

yinyumi (author)2012-12-21

Where can we buy all the materials that does not require buying from the internet??

airgunguy123 (author)2012-06-12

what would the sealent do

highvoltageguy (author)2011-11-15

finnally a new picture (me)

Proud American Pyro (author)2009-06-23

Can you use something like flash powder instead of black powder?

You could use flash powder in the tip then it should explode at the end of the burn.

Flash powder burns way too fast, just gonna explode once the fuse reaches the powder ;) so the answer is no, you can't use flash as "rocket fuel".

spark master (author)2011-08-24

wax the pencil then use glue after the first 1.5 wraps . Use removable tape to hold in lace til dried remove that less waste and lighter. Use exterior wood glue it dries hard and waterproof, you can coat the entire outer tube when done and wrap a paper label over the stick (which is glued on as well) . Mount a nail of correct size through a board and then you can pour stuff in from the top and tamp away knowing you will have right hole right length (trial and error will get you the right length, but then you have it)

WendyLD3 (author)2011-02-05

what is a good tested black powder sub

celticrush97 (author)2010-12-06

what other powders can you use and wheir can you find them?

ab02s (author)2010-06-16

Use small straw instead of post it and you will get a nice smoke trail and is easier than taping the paper into a cylinder. Awsome otherwise!

lucius108 (author)ab02s2010-10-31

no man it needs to be solid after compression and i dont think dirt will do the trick

wizkid7 (author)2010-07-09

Could dirt be used as a substitute for kitty litter?

lucius108 (author)wizkid72010-10-31

no man it needs to be solid after compression and i dont think dirt will do the trick

Rhayel72 (author)2010-08-22

i think sand would do the trick...

debob (author)2007-11-01

Hi I have been reading your articles on fireworks with interest. Many years ago in my teenage years I spent a lot of time developing large black powder rockets using the soapstring method. which required some specially made hand tools. for further information just leave a request on this forum.

sajada (author)debob2007-11-24

Can you please tell me what the soapstring method is? Cause' My only gunpowder source are the matchtops. And thats really not a lot... With all do respect

stuffman366 (author)sajada2008-05-12

For cheap easy gunpowder cut open shot gun shells (windchester super sonic have the most) even has little ball bearings/bb's (hint hint)

airsoftjunke (author)stuffman3662010-07-01

yay! lets build an RPG just for laughs!

appleshamp000 (author)debob2008-05-27

What is the soapstring method?

tigerboy (author)2010-04-25

dumb question, will adding kitty litter in the middle and make a large nozzle and then add more powder and cap it...make it a single stage with a explosion at the end?

YoungPyro19 (author)tigerboy2010-06-07

Is this it?==>

tigerboy (author)2010-04-25

will FFFg be fine enough.

tigerboy (author)2010-04-25

Would fine sand work?

pyelitegamerro76 (author)2007-08-04

ok i have all the ingredients for my "homemade" black powder. the only think i am missing is the sulfur, because i mistook the phosphorus on matches for sulfur. does anybody know where i could get some sulfur not on the internet, preferably at a wall mart? would there be a bottle of sulfur pills or something to that effect in the medicine isle? if not, what can i replace the sulfur with? and a coffee grinder works wonders for me on the cat litter. after 20 seconds it is completely powdered. but i strongly frown upon using the coffee grinder for your oxidizer if you are taking the "make your own black powder" approach.

even though you dont wanna deal with the internet click here Goto chemicals and meatals and scroll down to s's and click add to cart on sulfer

P.S were do u get saltpeter (potassium nitrate)

Purple Guy (author)stuffman3662010-04-12

 It depends where you live really...
In the UK you can only buy it online. When I got some I bought it from a website called "HobbyChemicals" it costs £9.99 for 2 Kg.
If your in the US then you can get it in big tubs of stump remover which is usually like 99% KNO3 so thats good enough. I don't know about other countries though :P
P.S there's also a version of the website for America :)

grants stump remover avalible at home depot or ace or any home improvement store. Its mostly kno3 with something else, but its not much so just grind it.

Spectracide is better then grants because it is already powdered. where as grants is granules.

Bman8 (author)SizzleBacon_123412008-08-14

actually i went to home depot and they didn't sell it. they sold something else that was non flammable/explosive. so i went to lowes and got Spectricide stump remover and it contains 100% KNO3

killa696 (author)Bman82008-12-30

it couldn'tve been 100% - lab grade isnt even 100% its like 99.8

killa696 (author)killa6962008-12-30

I mean like in terms of how pure

twenglish1 (author)killa6962008-12-30

yah it is i can confirm that, i have bought it before and i read the msds(material safety data sheet) and it says 100% KNO3

thx dude that helps

my friend ask kids at are school for the kno3... one kids dad had a 50p bag of it. we got a BIG bag of it for a $1.

liar! im his friend and we got like a 1/3 a sandwich bag of it and he gave it to me for free

garden center

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