How to Make a Matchbook Rocket




About: In a valiant attempt to keep myself from dying of boredom, I create.

This is a fun little demonstration for Newton's Third Law of Motion. Since we are using fire, the usual precautions should apply. Fire the rockets outdoors, pointing away from people or pets. Here we go!

Step 1: Mini Matchbook Rockets

paper clip
matchbook matches
wood matches
straight pins

Step 2:

Step 1: Bend the paper clip into a rocket launcher, set aside.

Step 3:

Step 2: Tear a match from the match book, and place it on a piece of 1 ½ inch by 1 inch foil.

Step 4:

Step 3: Fold the foil in half, down over the top of the match. Stick the straight pin, point toward the match head, along the stem of the match.

Step 5:

Step 4: Roll the foil along the length of the match. Make it tight.

Step 6:

Step 5: Remove the straight pin.

Step 7:

Step 6: Pull the stem of the match down a little and pinch the head of the foil tightly together. If you don’t do this, the gases released by the match head will go out the top of the foil instead of the nozzle hole created by the straight pin.

Step 8:

Step 7: Load the rocket on the launch pad. Strike a match and put the flame under the head of the match so that it will ignite the match head in the foil and, when the head ignites, the gases created will shoot down the stem of the match and force the rocket itself to fire forward. (See, Newton’s third law, Repeat after me: “For each and every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”.)

Not a very big fire show, but what did you expect from a Mini Rocket!



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    14 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    very nice -- i first learned how to do this when i was 8 years old. we would practice with matches between the wooden garages, in the weeds, where the 'grown-ups' couldn't see us, in the suburb of (i'm not telling)

    1 reply

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    I've never done them with wood matches, because I think that they would be too heavy to fly off. You can try them if you want. I bought the matchbook matches at walmart and I have seen them at grocery stores. They are around $1.50 for a box of 1000 matches, thats 50 match books. Right now I have two boxes of them. I wish that I could just send you some.


    Reply 6 years ago on Introduction

    In our country, they sell a box of matches for P 15.00 = $ 0.30 with 1000 matches in it :))))