Introduction: Paper-craft Rocket and Rocket Launcher

About: I love drawing, sketching and making fashion designs.

Model rockets come in all sizes,from the size of a match stick to the size of one storey building. Some rockets are easy to make while some are difficult and require extensive knowledge. Some rockets require external fuel which has to be ignited while others require a mechanism that forces the rocket into the air.
In this Instructables, I am going to show you how to make a rocket launcher and rocket with only 3 A4 sized paper sheets. My father had showed me this type of rocket from the internet which I used to play with when I was little. And of course, these rockets fly!

Step 1: Things You Will Need

  • A4 sheets *3
  • PVA glue
  • Ruler
  • Pen
  • Compass
  • Cylindrical pen/pencil
  • Hobby knife
  • Scissor
  • Vernier caliper(Optional)

    2 A4 sheets are drawing paper sheets which tend to be bit stiffer then the normal printing paper sheets, in my case these are black in color. The red colored sheet is simple office printing paper

Step 2: Bellow (Part 1) Origami

Start with a stiff paper and divide it into 16 equal parts by folding it along the landscape side as shown in the images. I have provided images of the folds on a white paper for reference. Once the paper is properly divided start folding it into a corrugated shape that is one valley fold and one mountain fold.

Now mark at the center of the paper and mark two lines at either side of the mark at a distance of 25mm each. Make a 90 degree fold with the upper edge of the corrugated paper coinciding with the marked line,refer to the images for proper understanding. Repeat this on the other side of the paper to form a 'C' shape. This 90 degree fold will indent a crease on the paper at an angle with the straight lines marked. Now when you open the paper you will observe a pattern.

I traced the angled lines with the pen this provides a proper crease which will be helpful in the folding of the bellow. Now follow proper valleys and mountains folds to achieve the bellow shape. Make sure too avoid mistakes as much as possible and keep the paper clean from any unnecessary folds or bends this will help to retain the shape of the bellow.

Once you have made all the folds the origami will look like a open bellow as shown in the images at the end.

If you still cannot follow what I have written above you can watch this video for reference.

(Note: The above mentioned video does not belongs to me and I have provided the link only for reference for proper understanding since this the best video I have found which explains the folds properly and it was not possible for me to make the video of the folds properly since I am a slow builder)

Step 3: Bellow (Part 2)

Mark a line on the straight edge of the bellow at a distance of 30mm from the free end. Do this on both the ends. Now apply PVA glue on the inner sides of the corrugated shapes along the marked line on both the sides.

Once the glue is applied place a book on the bellow to firmly bond the paper.

Now when the glue is drying lets move forward to making rocket holder.

Step 4: Rocket Holder

Measure the circumference of the cylindrical pen. Cut a rectangle from a stiff paper with length as circumference+5mm extra and breadth as 60mm. A easy way to mark the circumference without measuring is to roll a strip of paper over the pen and mark a point on the paper where the loose end of the paper meets the strip. From this point mark a line at distance of 5mm from the point.

Follow the reference template for proper understanding.

Apply glue on the extra part and roll the paper to form a cylindrical part this part will hold the rocket in place for launching.

Step 5: Rocket(Body)

Follow the same procedure as the rocket holder but this time roll the paper over the cylindrical rocket holder. For rocket body use simple paper this will be light in weight. While applying the glue make sure the rocket body is not tight and moves freely on the rocket holder.

Step 6: Rocket(Nose and Fins)


Draw a circle of 15mm radius on a stiff paper and cut out the circle. Now cut out a sector from the circle. Now curl the cut circle to form a cone with one surface of paper overlapping the other surface of the cone. Apply glue and let it dry.

Now,cut the cylindrical rocket body as shown in the pictures up to the line marked initially on the rocket body. Fold the triangular parts inwards and apply glue on the surface. Place the cone on the rocket body such that the inner surface of the cone comes in contact of the outer surface of the triangular cutouts. Notice how I have filled the inner side cone with glue to form a perfect seal. Do not apply excess glue we need the rocket to be light weight as much as possible.


Cut out simple triangles and stick it to the rocket or experiment with different shapes.

Step 7: Bellow(Part 3) Rocket Launcher

When the bellow is dry you will notice that the upper side of the bellow is inclined and the bottom side is perfectly flat. Apply glue on the bottom flat surface of the bellow and place it on the cutout stiff paper with excess paper area . Place a book on it for proper bonding.

Once the glue is dry check for possible leaks and apply glue and cut the excess paper.

Now, we are going to repeat the procedure with simple pare for the the upper side but before sticking the paper we need to cut a hole for rocket holder. The upper side paper should be bit longer on the free end side of the bellow.

Measure the diameter of the rocket holder and draw the circle on the upper surface paper,cut the circle using hobby knife. Insert the rocket holder in the cut and check for tight fit.

Repeat the procedure as we did in rocket cone step but here keep the cut shape as rectangular. Apply glue and stick the rocket holder on the paper.

Now, stick the the upper surface on the bellow and let it dry.

Step 8: Assembly,Getting All Things Together

Once the glue is dry check for leaks by blowing into the rocket holder,if found secure it with glue or paper.

Now I have added supports for the rocket holder which are not necessary since the cylindrical paper holds itself.

Assemble the rocket on the rocket holder and check whether the rocket slides smoothly on the rocket holder.

Step 9: LIFT OFF!

Now count for 5 seconds and punch or slap the bellow and see your rocket soar the sky.

TROUBLESHOOTING: It might happen that the bellow may settle down due to improper folding or weak paper then blow on the rocket holder and let the bellow inflate and then instantly place the rocket into the rocket holder and launch it.

Step 10: Final Thoughts

The rocket turned out to be great and it can fly minimum of 1.5 meters if made properly and precisely although this was my 3rd attempt for building the bellow part. I don't have a proper system to capture videos I tried my best to capture clear photos but unfortunately my room lightning was not proper hence some photos aren't clear.

This project can be used to demonstrate the pneumatic power and its application for STEAM classes for students aged 8-14.

This project can also be used as a game where the contestants can compete by checking whose rocket went the highest or furthest .

Here I am including photos of some of my previous versions of paper rocket launcher.As you can see the launcher with white colour had its bellow made with simple printing paper hence it does not stay inflated and loses its spring properties therefore i recommend using stiff drawing paper for bellow.

Step 11: Gliders(optional)

Now since the rockets are flying I thought I should experiment with gliders. Since I had left with the cutouts of paper. I made mini gliders using paper and balanced it properly but they were on the heavier side. I also did not document the making since it was simple and i did not hope it would fly.It does glide And fly with the rocket launcher but it cannot reach the heights.

Make It Fly Speed Challenge

Participated in the
Make It Fly Speed Challenge