How to Build a Toy Rocket

Most kids enjoy learning about the solar system, the space program and astronauts. Toy rockets add to playtime and learning activities. Toy rockets have been popular for decades. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) website provides a gallery of toy rockets with a commentary on whether the designs would work in space. Make toy rockets for decoration, for fun, or to get the kids involved in a craft project that gives them a chance to learn more about how rockets work. Some people grow up and make toy rockets for a living.

Cover the table or counter with newspaper and set out all the supplies you need for the toy rocket.

Look at actual rockets designed for space and also toy rockets in books and websites to decide on your design.

Create three or four fins to hold the space rocket toy upright by drawing curved supports on strong cardboard. A quarter-moon shape works, or experiment with any shape you want. Make them at least 1 1/2 inches wide and 5 inches long so they'll be strong enough to support the toy rocket.

Use a ruler to mark straight, vertical lines in one end of the shipping tube. Make one line for each fin, the same length as the fin. Use scissors to make cuts in the base of the tube the length of the fins along the lines.

Apply glue to the edges of the fins and slide them into the cuts in the paper tube. Stand the rocket upright on the fins and adjust the fins if needed so that the rocket stands up straight.

Create a nose for the toy rocket. advises tying string around a pencil to use to make a half-circle. Use at least 5 inches of string. Tie one end of the string an inch above the pencil's tip. Hold the pencil against the shipping tube and wrap the string around the tube to measure it. Cut the string where it meets the end of the string on the pencil. This gives you a piece of string the circumference of the tube.

Hold the end of the string on the card stock and draw a half-circle with the pencil use the length of string to guide the curved line. Cut out the half-circle and bend it slightly so that one end overlaps the other. Glue it together to form the toy rocket's nose. Apply glue to the inside edge of the nose piece and put it on the top end of the toy rocket tube. Allow the glue to dry for at least a half an hour.

Paint the rocket white or silver for a rocket that looks like the ones at NASA, or use your imagination to create a customised toy rocket.


Add stickers, glow-in-the-dark paint or self-adhesive letters to the toy rocket, if desired. These supplies are available at craft stores.


Paper rockets are flammable. Keep the toy rocket away from possible sources of fire.

Things You'll Need

  • Newspapers
  • 1 shipping tube for each rocket--reuse one, or buy from an office supply store
  • Card stock or light cardboard from a shirt package
  • Strong cardboard, such as from a shipping box
  • String
  • Pencil
  • Glue stick or white glue
  • Nontoxic paint, such as poster paints in white, red and silver--or other colours
  • Paintbrushes, 1/2-inch wide or smaller
  • Jar of water
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About the Author

Gryphon Adams began publishing in 1985. He contributed to the "San Francisco Chronicle" and "Dark Voices." Adams writes about a variety of topics, including teaching, floral design, landscaping and home furnishings. Adams is a certified health educator and a massage practitioner. He received his Master of Fine Arts at San Francisco State University.