Fantastic flying rockets can be made with paper tubes.

The paper tube is rolled on a wooden dowel former and held together with tape.

A sponge tip is pushed in and taped to make it more secure.

Paper tail fins are added for stability in flight.

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You will need.

A5 paper

Thick wooden dowel (mandrel)



Roll a tight paper tube using the mandrel and secure the tube with 4 pieces of tape wrapped neatly around it.

Remove the tube from the mandrel and fit a sponge or modeling foam tip.

Use another piece of tape to secure the sponge tip so that it won’t fly off when the rocket is launched!

Use small strips of card about 5x8cm to make tail fins. All sorts of shapes and methods of fitting are possible.

Test your rockets and find out which design of tail is best.

A good design will make the rocket fly in a smooth curve without wobbling or deviating from a straight path.

A slight twist on the tail fins will make the rocket spin in flight and this helps it fly accurately.

Firing the rockets

The rockets are fired by sliding onto a launch tube and then passing air into the tube. The air can be supplied by blowing into the tube or by a plastic milk bottle as shown below or by an airbed inflator or by a compressor.


The plastic milk carton has a hole pierced in the cap and a tightly fitting plastic tube is pushed in. A wide drinking straw can be used but they are difficult to fit without damage.

These rockets will travel up to about 10 metres on one hard squeeze of the bottle.

You can try all sorts of tail designs to see how this affects the flight of the rocket and try firing at a target eg, into a cardboard box from various distances.

Rocket challenges

1. How far the rocket travels.

2. How accurately it can travel eg. hit a target or land in a box etc.

3. Can it carry a message or emergency supplies to someone who   is stranded?

4. Can it carry a string across a ravine or river to help rescue someone?

Happy Rocketeering!


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