Wood Rocket Ship With LED Lights




About: I am a firefighter and my wife is a teacher. We love making.... things....and um stuff. Long live the maker's movement!!!

As was explained in my last instructable, my wife and I are doing a space themed nursery for our soon to be born second son. We definitely needed to incorporate a rocket ship into the nursery. I thought of many different possibilities for this project from a stand alone rocket to one suspended from the ceiling. We finally decided to have the rocket mounted to the wall(for space saving reasons) and make it double as a night light.  We hope you enjoy!!  

Supplies that you will need:

2'x4' piece of particle board
Black Sharpie Marker
Gloss Clear Finish Spray Paint
Tightbond III Wood Glue
Piece of round metal
Acorn Nuts
Mailbox reflectors
Rust Proof Chrome Spray Paint
3 LED Lights: I used these.


2 5/8" hole saw bit
Drill/Drill Press
Hot Glue Gun

Step 1: Step One: Tracing the Rocket

The first step to this project is picking a rocket design that you like and blowing it up and tracing it onto a piece of poster board. I really REALLY wanted to do a millennium falcon or a U.S.S Enterprise. Lets just say my wife crushed my dreams on that. So we picked this one from some clip art that she found.  I used a document camera to blow it up and trace it.  I also, decided to switch out the flames on our rocket with something more exciting so i whipped something up on a piece of cardboard so it would be more sturdy.

Step 2: Step Two: Tracing and Cutting the Rocket

I then, traced the rocket design onto a 2'x4' piece of particle board.  I used a jigsaw to cut out the design and sanded down the rough edges. The corners in the flame were not perfect so i used a triangle file and a rat tail fie to smooth them out. Tip: When making tight turns with a jigsaw like in these flames use a small blade and take it slow. I learned this the hard way!!!

Step 3: Step Three: Prime and Design

 I turned over the painting to my wife as she has the flair for design. We primed the board and designed what we wanted the rocket to look like.  Take the time to measure and center your design so that it looks right.  This step took longer than anticipated because of the weird shape of the rocket.  Also, use everyday items from around the house to help design the look (cups for round circles, star cookie cutter, etc.). 

Step 4: Step Four: Drilling

Before we painted the rocket, I drilled the holes for the 3 LED lights. These LED lights are designed for recessed, under the cabinet lighting applications. They are plug and play and require no wiring.

I used a 2 5/8" hole saw bit on the drill press. Be sure to clamp down your work and always wear eye protection. After all the holes are drilled give your lights a quick fit test.  

Step 5: Step Five: Painting

My wife choose the colors lime green and blue to paint the rocket (this was partly because these are the colors that we had laying around the house).  We painted three coats of each of the colors on the rocket and sanded in between each coat.  To make the different colors "pop" more, we outlined the entire rocket with a black sharpie marker.  The marker will allow you to get crisp lines if you have an unsteady hand when painting.  Lastly, we added 3 coats of gloss clear finish spray paint to protect the rocket.

Step 6: Step Six: Adding Bling

The whole 2D rocket thing had me a little down so we spiced it up a bit.  We added a round piece of aluminum with acorn nuts and mailbox reflectors.  I cut the round metal plate out of old aluminum scrap salvaged from some trash and sanded it to make it smooth.  I then sprayed it with a rust proof chrome spray paint.  We used a hot glue gun to attach the aluminum and the acorn nuts. The reflectors had there own sticky stuff on the back.

Step 7: Step Seven: Assembling the Lights

I inserted the lights and again used the hot glue gun to secure the cords on the back of the rocket. I tried to make it nice so that they wouldn't just become a big knot back there over time  Also, glued an inch thick piece of scrap particle board with Tightbond III along the angle that I wanted to hang it.  I then added a second piece to the bottom of the rocket.  This allowed the rocket to hang evenly as well as give space to the cords.  Tip:  Be sure to not use screws that are too long...... this was a close call for us.  Also, be sure to pre-drill your holes as your screws will push material forward and make a bulge on  your finished side.

Step 8: Step Eight: Hang and Enjoy

We then mounted the rocket on the wall, and are very excited about how it turned out.  We hope that our son who will be born in October likes it as much as we do.  (Just a side note, it is a bit brighter than we anticipated it to be.  It will probably be used as a main light instead of a nightlight.  It was suggested that we spray paint the inside of the lights with a frosted spray paint to dim them.  But, we are worried about messing it up.  If anyone has any suggestions, we would love to hear them!)



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    7 Discussions


    1 year ago

    Man this is awesome!!! I'm going to star a project with my son, it's been sometime since he wants a DeathStar in his room (something like this https://www.amazon.com/Star-Wars-Glowing-Death-Light/dp/B01CISMF04/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&qid=1508954693&sr=8-8&keywords=death+star), as soon as we finish I'll upload the pictures! What a great idea man


    I love it. My son has been asking for a space ship and until I saw this I didn't know what to do. I'm currently in the painting stage but I can't find reflectors small enough for the life of me. Can you be so kind as to tell me where you found the ones you used? I would really appreciate it. Thanks!!

    1 reply

    6 years ago on Introduction

    What a great project! thanks for sharing your hard work and do have a splendorous day!