Match Rockets, or Another Crazy Way to Waste Matches

Introduction: Match Rockets, or Another Crazy Way to Waste Matches

About: I like to fly full sized aircraft, model aircraft, and gliders, and I love to build things.

To build these small, cheap, rockets, you will need:

Rocket Materials

  • Matches - either paper or wooden matches, it does not matter.
  • (Optional) Lighter - you will need this to light off the rockets, but you can just use another match.
  • Aluminum Foil - you just need a strip at least one inch thick, and several inches long.
  • 2 pins or sewing needles - these are needed to make the jet nozzles.

Launcher Materials

  • A block of wood at least 1 inch thick, 3 inches wide, and 3 inches long, but it can be any size.
  • A hinge
  • Enough screws to screw in one side of your hinge, plus one larger screw.
  • A piece of copper pipe, 1/4" thick. It should be 1/2" shorter than your match.
  • Glue that bonds to metal. I used clear, non-expanding gorilla glue.


  • A power drill with whatever bit your screws need
  • A 1/4" drill bit to drill through the hinge.
  • A vice grip or clamp. I forgot to include this in the picture, because I only realized that I needed it when I had to clamp the copper pipe to the hinge.
  • Scissors to cut the aluminum foil.

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Step 1: Build the Launcher

To build the launcher, screw the hinge to the piece of wood (Picture A). Take the larger screw and drill it just behind the hinge so that about an inch is above the piece of wood (Picture B). The hinge then rests of this screw. Screw it in farther, or screw it out to adjust the angle of the hinge. The match is launched off this hinge, so the angle of the hinge is the angle that the rocket is fired at. Glue the copper pipe in the center of the raised portion of the hinge. This holds the match to launch it. Clamp it there until the glue dries. Optionally, if you have enough space left on your piece of wood, you can glue a second piece of copper pipe vertically if you want to launch the rocket vertically. I chose not to do this. Use the drill bit to drill a small hole just above the copper pipe where the head of the match will be. If your hinge is short enough that the head of the match is above the top of the hinge, you do not have to do this. This is to light the match when launching it. When the glue dries, the launcher is ready.

Step 2: Build the Rockets

Cut a piece of aluminum foil that is 1 square inch. Lay the match so the head is in the center of the square (Picture A). Place the pins beside the rocket, so that the sharp ends touch the head (Picture B). Fold the aluminum foil carefully around the head of the match (Picture C). Cut off some of the excess at the top, but make sure that you cannot see the head of the match. Then squish the top to a point (Picture D). Take out the pins. There should be two circular holes on either side of the match (Picture E). Make as many as you like.

Step 3: Launching the Rocket, and Troubleshooting It.

Using the lighter or match, hold the flame at the hole above the copper pipe until the rocket ignites and launches. If your hinge was short enough that you did not have to drill this hole, just hold the match or lighter at the head of the rocket. BE CAREFUL. The rocket head is incredibly hot and can cause burns, and holes in carpets and clothing. DO NOT USE INSIDE. It has a tendency to ruin things by hitting them and burning a hole in them.

If your rocket blows a hole in the aluminum foil cover while it is igniting, it will not work. Also if the two holes on either side become blocked, either by rough handling or carelessness taking out the pins, it will just blow up and not fly. The two jet nozzles are very delicate and need to be handled with care.

This rocket flies about 30 feet on average, but some people say it travels 50 feet. Try shaving the tail end of the rocked to make it lighter, but don't shave too much or it will not fly straight.

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    2 Discussions


    2 years ago

    hi any chance we can just use 1 whole with 1 pin or poke the wholes after the foil is on it if i only have 1 needle around