How to Build a Bottle Rocket

It is always exciting to see when NASA launches a rocket into space as a part of its exploration adventures. The complexity of such projects can be somewhat mind-boggling to novices whose only dream is to launch a rocket of their own.

Well, let it be known that you can have your downsized space exploration in an open area or even in your backyard. How……..? Well by building a bottle rocket using materials readily available at your home.

Required Materials

  • 2 empty 2-Liter soda bottles
  • a 1-inch hose clamp
  • rubber cement
  • 2 2-inch long nails
  • 1 2”x4”x12” piece of wood 1 6”x1/2”x18” Your browser may not support the display of this image. piece of wood
  • 4 thin sheets of balsa wood, 6”x4”
  • 1 manila folder
  • 1 electrical knockout junction box
  • 3” thin steel, 1/8” diameter 12” strong twine or string
  • 1 roll of duct tape
  • 5 wood screws, 1” long
  • Test tube stopper, size #4, with a hole in the center
  • Copper tubing, 12” in length, diameter small enough to fit into the rubber stopper

Required Tools

  • Hammer
  • Compass
  • Drill scissors
  • Air compressor
  • Sandpaper
  • Permanent marker angle
  • Jigsaw
  • Screwdriver
  • Wood Screws

Instructions on building the rocket

  1. Ensure that the bottles are extremely dry
  2. Use duct tape to reinforce the bottle by wrapping it around the bottle (do not apply too much tape because it will make the bottle heavy)
  3. Identify the location on the bottle where you want to put the fins and decide how many fins you want.
  4. Take your balsa wood and cut out your fins. Use the sandpaper to smooth down the fins in order to make them as aerodynamic as possible.
  5. Use the rubber cement to attach the fins to the bottle.
  6. Use a piece of tape to guide the fins and keep them stable while the rubber cement dries.
  7. Use the compass to draw a circle approximately 5 inches in diameter on the folder.
  8. Use the scissors to cut out the circle then fold it into the shape of a cone. This will be your nose cone.
  9. Using the rubber cement and duct tape, attach the nose to the rocket. You can remove the tape after the glue has dried.

Constructing the Launch Pad

  1. Cut two blocks from your 2 by 4 wood, each of about six inches.
  2. Cut another piece that is about one and a half feet long, six inches wide, and half an inch thick. Use some wood screws to screw the small pieces into the ends of the large piece so you form a wood table shaped launcher.
  3. Screw the junction box exactly into the middle of your wooden table.
  4. Drill a hole all the way through the junction box and the wood table so that you can fit the test tube stopper through it.
  5. Cut the copper to a workable length and force it through the test tube stopper.
  6. Secure the tube to your air pump with the hose clamp.
  7. Bend your steel into a small U-Shaped pin, which is to be used to release the rocket when it is time to launch.
  8. Tie a string to the U part of your pin and slide the pin into the holes on the side of the junction box.
  9. Drill holes on both sides of the launch pad hammer the nails through each of the holes and into the ground for extra stability.

Launch Instructions

  1. Pour approximately 20 ounces of water into the bottle.
  2. Place the bottle on top of the launch pad.
  3. Secure the pin into the notches on the rocket’s bottleneck.
  4. Dialing the browser may not support the display of this image. air compressor to 50 psi. This will create the pressure considered necessary for a successful launch.
  5. Pull the string to release the pin to fire your rocket.


  • Do not launch your rocket in close proximity to power lines or glass windows.
  • Ensure the launch is conducted in an open space.
  • The higher the psi the greater the flight of the rocket.
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