Introduction: How to Make a Match Rocket

Picture of How to Make a Match Rocket

I show how to make a simple match rocket. It is made from common materials and only takes a few minutes of preparation. This is an easy and fun project when you are bored. A match rocket is an extremely simple rocket to construct and launch. It demonstrates many principles of rocketry, basic jet propulsion and Newton’s Law of Motion. The combustion of the matches produces hot gases and smoke to propel the rocket forward. They produce a lot of smoke so I would suggest igniting them outside. If the rocket ignites but doesn't take off, try making the exhaust hole a little bigger and if it falls really fast use less foil when making it. I also show how to make a basic launcher from a paperclip. You can choose a different method of launching it if you find it works better. There are also many different designs that can be made, I found that this design worked best for the matches I was using but with some experimentation you may find a better design that works for you. Of course the match rocket has been done many times before but I thought I would put some new touches on a classic project.

Step 1: Materials


-Aluminum foil

-Small tube or cylindrical object




-Paper clip

-Side cutters

Step 2: Watch the Video

(The video may not show up for mobile viewers)


bruce.desertrat (author)2017-02-17

Hmm... I wonder if holding the flame lower to ignite the match heads at the bottom of the stack first would work better? 'Real' solid fuel rockets like Estes engines work that way. more energy goes out the back in the form of propellant gases and less into trying to push the unlit matcheads out.

angelluisherreraavila (author)2017-02-09

that's cool

PUCKA (author)2017-01-01

good my friend

SchalkN made it! (author)2016-10-01

Done. ~ w00t

SPNPanda (author)2016-01-11

Imma make that l8er

Divlja made it! (author)2015-10-08

Awesome!!! :D Thanks.

Divlja made it! (author)2015-10-08

Awesome!!! :D Thanks.

yaswanth raj (author)2015-07-22


it is a new idea of making a home made rocket out of match sticks

i will sent a photos after trying this

JCklinger (author)2015-03-26

Awesome! I made mine out of this and some other dude's idea. So basically I made something better thanks to you. Well regardless of what law applies to what this project very nice for spending some time with your family and stop wasting time in social networks.

maxwesterman (author)2014-11-11

Very awesome

BurgersBytes (author)2014-10-30

More or less foil will not make the rocket fall faster or slower. That's also a Newton law...

ManifoldSky (author)BurgersBytes2014-11-04

Pretty sure no one said it would.

BurgersBytes (author)ManifoldSky2014-11-05

QUOTE: If the rocket ignites but doesn't take off, try making the exhaust hole a little bigger and if it falls really fast use less foil when making it.

Nihonjin (author)BurgersBytes2014-11-07

Well, f=ma (Second Law), and decreasing foil will increase acceleration. Which means speed, basically. Since the trajectory is not flat, acceleration will cause it to to go higher/faster/farther when it is launched. Also, if the hole where the exhaust comes out of is bigger, that means more stuff comes out. Again, F=ma, and more mass=more force. According to the third law (Equal and opposite reaction), this would cause the rocket to fly up farther, even if it is heavier. Also, isn't gravity by someone else? I think like Galileo or something, not Newton. :P

BurgersBytes (author)Nihonjin2014-11-07

The rocket can go faster up due to force but all it has when it falls is gravity bringing it back down. Weight has no influence on that! A light rocket may fall slower due to wind resistance or design to use air resistance to stay afloat.

No biggie, just want to keep it real.

Note, however, that even if the intent was not to say that it takes less time to fall because the maximum height is decreased when using more foil (as I believe may be the case, and as would actually happen because the thrust force would have a decreased acceleration for a constant time), but instead that it would actually fall at a higher rate of acceleration, it is still valid, because of the drag force opposing gravity. You see, provided that the size doesn't change significantly when adding extra foil, the drag force will still behave the same, but by removing foil you decrease the density of the object, meaning that the drag force could more effectively 'counter' the gravitational force.

Nihonjin (author)BurgersBytes2014-11-08

Arighty, see... If it goes up faster, that means it is higher... which means it has farther to fall. Which means it takes more time to come down. Gravity isn't some magical force that makes everything touch the ground at the same time. :/

ManifoldSky (author)BurgersBytes2014-11-07

Again, that's not what the O.P. was talking about.

ManifoldSky (author)BurgersBytes2014-11-05

He meant "early", as in it falls quickly, soon after launch (doesn't go very high).

janci13 made it! (author)2014-11-08

Thank you for such a great idea. I had great time launching my first rocket (and not last).

Steeler (author)2014-11-08

very cool

orshal4 (author)2014-11-02

It set off, just didn't quite make it. It had too many matchheads in it.

Lunaris69 (author)2014-11-01

I have a question what would happen if instead of using matches you would use a crushed up quick lite hookah coal?

when i get a chance i will tell you the result!

nice tut

Bowtie41 (author)2014-10-31

Boy things have gotten fancy since I was a kid.We used to hold a paper book match to a pin or clip like yours,wrap it in foil,slide the pin out to leave a channel for the gasses,lay in on an incline in an ashtray and light the head.If you do this,use the whole match,chemical end at tip,good to go.Not as pretty,but way faster.Good Job though!

aklion (author)2014-10-31

Wow imazing

jvaupel (author)2014-10-31

I am SO doing this! Awesome!!

efish (author)2014-10-30

Before watch the video, I thought it was fired by battery short circuit with a button. Keep this idea.

The Awesome Inventor (author)2014-10-30

Awesome!! Great plans! I've built one of these once, but with only one match! :D

cepterbi (author)2014-10-30

nice video and fun experiment. Never heard of it before :D

wilb (author)2014-10-30

Very well done video.

taur561 (author)2014-10-30

very very neat ! That is really a good mini project to teach kids about rockets . Thank you .

dougbyte (author)2014-10-30

Very good. Thanks for posting

Raphango (author)2014-10-30

Interesting! =D

Raphango (author)2014-10-30

Interesting! =D

yashwant.pandey.1291 (author)2014-10-29

I have mobile didn't show video..... please upload it on utube

It is a youtube video already :)

HBSkirmit (author)2014-10-30

Enjoyed greatly !! We used to lay a straight pin on the wooden part of the match and wrap with foil. Pull the pin out after wrapping to create the exhaust hole.

iroth (author)2014-10-30

oh my, this brings back childhood memories... great fun!

kakashibatosi (author)2014-10-29

This is a classic. I'm glad to see you added fins, that's a fun detail :)

Mo0k (author)2014-10-29

Nice rocket!

13voltbattery (author)2014-10-29

I've tried to do this before, unfortunately I remember it just fizzling out.

bertwert (author)2014-10-29

This is great!
I am definitely going to do this :)

seamster (author)2014-10-29

Match rockets are so fun. Gotta be careful, like most things, but this is a great project for kids with adult supervision.

Thanks for sharing this great project!

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