How to Build a Toy Rocket

Written by gryphon adams
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How to Build a Toy Rocket
Use foil to add metal details to the toy rocket. (rocket image by Pavel Losevsky from Fotolia.com)

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.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you 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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Instructions

  1. 1

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

  2. 2

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

    How to Build a Toy Rocket
    Fins glued to the base of the toy rocket help it stand. (rocket image by ivan gusev from Fotolia.com)
  3. 3

    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.

  4. 4

    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.

  5. 5

    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.

  6. 6

    Create a nose for the toy rocket. MarthaStewart.com 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.

  7. 7

    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.

  8. 8

    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.

    How to Build a Toy Rocket
    Choose white or silver paint for rockets like NASA's. (space launch rockets image by Wimbledon from Fotolia.com)

Tips and warnings

  • 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.

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