Picture of Paper Rocket with Launcher
We're going to create a simple air pressure powered paper rocket that you can put together in a only a few minutes. I made this for my kid (five), but it would be a fun project for an older child to make and fly, too. I used to build them all the time in Jr. High.

Warning: Hot glue? It gets hot. If your kid is making one of these, adult supervision would be a good thing.

Yet Another Warning: Rockets are pointy. Don't be an idiot and point these at people's faces.
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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials
To build the rocket, you'll need the following materials:

- 1 sheet of 8.5x11in paper
- Masking or Painter's tape (use colored tape for colored rockets)
- Scissors
- A ball point pen like the one pictured or a large drinking straw (for the launcher)
- A hot glue gun and glue stick (if you don't have this, you can use regular white glue, but you'll be waiting a couple of DAYS for the glue to fully dry)

Step 2: Cut Your Paper, Prepare Launcher

Picture of Cut Your Paper, Prepare Launcher
First, disassemble the pen so that all you're left with is the barrel, as shown below. Then cut two pieces of paper the length of the launcher and roughly 2in in width.

Step 3: Making The Rocket Body

Picture of Making The Rocket Body
Now, affix a piece of tape along one long side of one of the pieces of paper, flip it over, and roll the paper, from the opposite end, loosely around the pen barrel to form the rocket body. The rocket body should slide easily along the barrel, without too much room for air to escape.

Step 4: Finishing The Body

Picture of Finishing The Body
Next, finish covering any exposed paper with the painter's tape and slide it off the pen. Trim up the ends of the tube, to remove any excess tape.

Step 5: Seal The End

Picture of Seal The End
Seal one end of the tube with tape.

Step 6: Prepping for Tail Fins

Picture of Prepping for Tail Fins
Now cut three lengths of tape, approximately 2.5in long. We'll be folding these to make the tail fins for our rocket (you can do four if you really want to, but for a rocket this size, 3 fits better).

Step 7: Making The Fins

Picture of Making The Fins
Now, carefully, take one piece of tape and fold it over on itself, leaving about 1/4in "tabs" of tape at the end. Then, using your scissors, make a 45 degree cut to create the triangular shape of the fin. Repeat this with the other two pieces of tape, for a total of 3 tail fins.

Step 8: Affix Fins to Rocket

Picture of Affix Fins to Rocket
Now attach the fins to the rocket body, using the little tabs of tape on each fin. Place them at equal distances around the base (the open end) of the rocket body (it might be easier to hold onto everything if you stick the rocket barrel onto the end of the launcher).

Step 9: Making the Nose Cone

Picture of Making the Nose Cone
Now would be a good time to plug in your hot glue gun and let it start heating up.

Take the 2nd piece of paper we cut at the beginning and roll it into a cone that will easily fit over the sealed end of the rocket body.

Step 10: Finish the Nose Cone

Picture of Finish the Nose Cone
Trim the nose cone down to a reasonable size and finish covering it with tape. Make sure that the very tip of the cone is sealed good with tape, or you could burn yourself badly in the next step.

Step 11: Attach Nose Cone to Body

Picture of Attach Nose Cone to Body
Finally, turn the nose cone over and fill it 3/4 of the way full with hot glue. Be careful here, so that you don't burn yourself. The paper will get warm, but it shouldn't get too hot to hold.

Now, take the rocket body and insert the top (sealed) end into the hot glue, pushing it down so that it sits snugly in the nose cone. Hold everything in place for a few seconds until the glue sets, so that nothing gets misaligned.

Once the glue cools, your rocket is finished.

To fire the rocket, simply insert the pen barrel about 2/3 of the way into the rocket, hold the barrel between your thumb and forefinger and blow hard. Alternately (this works much better, actually), stick the launcher onto an air pump hose and give it a blast to watch it really fly!
CalebH8 months ago

i'm making this rocket with a wrapping paper roll acting ass the pen tube fro my science project. i'm just scaling everything up. any advice?

where is the launcher here!?

Dawson.J4 years ago
isn't there suposed to be a launcher??????
the launcher is at the end
There is a launcher- you put it back over the pen barrel and blow! It's like an external version of a blowpipe.
no_light3 years ago
sticking it with super glue works too rite?
cool! i shot myself in the arm.
colorex3 years ago
You could shoot it with a homemade air pressure rifle. It would fly straight like crazy
hjjusa4 years ago
On the internet there's a pattern simular to this, it's called The Paper Tiger. You roll the sheet of paper around C rocket motors and cut 1/4" of a used one off for a motor retainer. Works quite well, on a windless day I had one go up and come straight back down and do a nose dive 2 ft. from the launch pad. www.texnet.net/ccent/rockets/papertig.htm
I think I have a good idea for those rockets.
knuckel5 years ago
check out my rocket launcher , i think it will go good with your rockets.
gmodman5 years ago
Mine went so far up, I couldnt see it anymore! And when it hit the ground, it dindnt break! Thanks for the instructable!
KelliShaver (author) 6 years ago
You just fold the tape over so that it sticks to itself, only leave a little bit at the end that isn't stuck together, and use that part to attach it to the rocket body. Then take scissors and trim the "flap" you just made so that it's triagular.
I think I understand. We've to just fold it to half carefully, just like we do on paper to cut it in to equal parts. Here the folding is done such that small part of end are free and then we cut it as you said.
sharlston6 years ago
this is well good would you make one out of duct tape?
rootbeer966 years ago
nice job can you like make a mod for it please
shrek1506 years ago
I cant understand IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
pyroman246 years ago
cool ... hey does anyone know how to change the picture for your account i cant get it to work.
raykholo6 years ago
making mine like an actual rocket the body tube is about the size of a marker so u can put an estes engine inside...
How do you launch it?
Read the last paragraph of step 11...

"To fire the rocket ..."
nice great lil project
nathanzhang6 years ago
maybe if I added a more flashy propulsion unit, this would be something I could earn kudoes for...
gbosbiker7 years ago
very nice. i'm going to make a mod so it could fit inside a blowgun. the fins would be on springs to fold in to fit in the blowgun.
ible plz?
whats an ible?
an instructable i dont know why its called that way
oh. got it. ill try and get one up soon.
bbrissette7 years ago
I did this with my cub scouts and they had a blast Thanks for a fun project
I'm gonna try making it much bigger and fit it over a barrel of a compressed air gun and shoot it. I think it should go 200 + feet maybe up to 400 feet
Wow. Very nice, and rather original. If you could send me a personal message to clear up how to make the tail fins, that would be awesome! Definitely a favorite.
littlewit7 years ago
thats realy cool, i bet I can make something like this durring one of my off periods in school
how many inches is a bic pin how tall is it
its on my favs
Cool. I like it. This bic pen rocket is a little cooler but a lot more difficult to build.
KelliShaver (author)  joejoerowley8 years ago
Oh, that is cool. Thanks for the link. :)
dchall88 years ago
Very nice. I like it.