Introduction: 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.

Step 1: 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

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

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

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

Seal one end of the tube with tape.

Step 6: 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

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

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

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

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

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!


micore made it!(author)2016-10-11

are the paper measurements in inches, millimetres or centimetres?

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

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?

andrewthegreat98 made it!(author)2014-05-20

where is the launcher here!?

Dawson.J made it!(author)2011-02-12

isn't there suposed to be a launcher??????

chimei62 made it!(author)2012-04-26

the launcher is at the end

wobbler made it!(author)2011-04-04

There is a launcher- you put it back over the pen barrel and blow! It's like an external version of a blowpipe.

no_light made it!(author)2012-04-12

sticking it with super glue works too rite?

gamefreak360 made it!(author)2012-04-07


devistater2105 made it!(author)2011-09-23

cool! i shot myself in the arm.

colorex made it!(author)2011-08-21

You could shoot it with a homemade air pressure rifle. It would fly straight like crazy

hjjusa made it!(author)2011-07-12

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.

nutsandbolts_64 made it!(author)2010-03-13

I think I have a good idea for those rockets.

knuckel made it!(author)2010-01-23

check out my rocket launcher , i think it will go good with your rockets.

gmodman made it!(author)2009-10-18

Mine went so far up, I couldnt see it anymore! And when it hit the ground, it dindnt break! Thanks for the instructable!

KelliShaver made it!(author)2009-04-17

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.

Namanarusia made it!(author)2009-07-31

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.

sharlston made it!(author)2009-07-26

this is well good would you make one out of duct tape?

rootbeer96 made it!(author)2009-04-18

nice job can you like make a mod for it please

shrek150 made it!(author)2009-04-17

I cant understand IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

pyroman24 made it!(author)2009-04-16

cool ... hey does anyone know how to change the picture for your account i cant get it to work.

raykholo made it!(author)2008-12-03

making mine like an actual rocket the body tube is about the size of a marker so u can put an estes engine inside...

MR.builderguy made it!(author)2008-11-11

How do you launch it?

Kiteman made it!(author)2008-11-13

Read the last paragraph of step 11...

"To fire the rocket ..."

KNEX+BUILDING+IS+FUN made it!(author)2008-10-01

nice great lil project

nathanzhang made it!(author)2008-08-10

maybe if I added a more flashy propulsion unit, this would be something I could earn kudoes for...

gbosbiker made it!(author)2007-09-15

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.

dunnos made it!(author)2008-06-07

ible plz?

gbosbiker made it!(author)2008-06-09

whats an ible?

dunnos made it!(author)2008-06-09

an instructable i dont know why its called that way

gbosbiker made it!(author)2008-06-11

oh. got it. ill try and get one up soon.

bbrissette made it!(author)2008-03-03

I did this with my cub scouts and they had a blast Thanks for a fun project

-+creative+name+- made it!(author)2007-09-17

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

Aburame+Shino made it!(author)2007-09-15

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.

littlewit made it!(author)2007-08-30

thats realy cool, i bet I can make something like this durring one of my off periods in school

funwithfire325 made it!(author)2007-07-30

how many inches is a bic pin how tall is it

funwithfire325 made it!(author)2007-07-29

its on my favs

joejoerowley made it!(author)2007-06-17

Cool. I like it. This bic pen rocket is a little cooler but a lot more difficult to build.

KelliShaver made it!(author)2007-06-17

Oh, that is cool. Thanks for the link. :)

dchall8 made it!(author)2007-06-17

Very nice. I like it.

cannedtomato made it!(author)2007-06-17


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