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Launching Rockets pt.1

Posted by on August 18, 2011
This past weekend was my oldest son’s birthday party. He just turned six. We were looking to do something low key for a party and stumbled upon the idea of making and launching rockets. Not really military related, however, when we did a test launch in the park, we attracted a six year old boy. This boy told us he just moved here from San Diego and that he launched rockets with his daddy there. I asked if they were military and he said, “I’m not military and my mom and brother are not military, but my dad is. He is in the Navy.” So now we have two military families enjoying rocket launching and I thought you all might enjoy it too.

To make your rocket you will need a soda bottle. Don’t use a water bottle because it won’t be able to handle the pressure. We used one liter bottles. These were actually seltzer water bottles and were about 75 cents each.
Next, peel the wrapper off of the bottle and them rinse out the inside. Let the bottles dry. It doesn’t matter if the inside doesn’t dry completely.

While waiting for the bottles to dry you can make the nose cones. We used poster board for this. I used the template found on this site. I used Elmers glue. After, about the 5th one, I found the best way to hold the cone to allow it to dry was to hold one hand from underneath

And to use my other hand to pinch it.

Now a tip I learned and would have done was to just use party hats, however, we were short on time.

Next, you will need to make the fins. We used cardboard for this. Pizza boxes work well.

To attach the fins equally, you can cut a strip of paper the length of the circumference of the bottle. Then, measure the strip and mark it into three equal parts with a marker.

Now you can use this strip to mark the bottle to know where to glue the fins. We glued the fins with hot glue.
Once the fins were dry we glued the nose cones on top of the rocket. Next, after all of the glue has dried, you can spray paint the rockets. We just used a flat white.

Now they are ready to decorate. I found some alphabet stickers and American flags and star stickers. I also, got some markers. The kids had a fun time decorating them.

Now, you might be wondering did we really launch them? We sure did. You will need water to place in the rocket. You can experiment with the amount that works best, but we used about 1 cup of water.

Next, you will need a launcher. A site with great instructions is HERE if you would like to make one yourself. We found one on Amazon with good reviews and decided to just order one. You can find it HERE.

This seller on Amazon also offers the option to sell the launcher as a parts kit for $5 less than coming fully assembled.

You will also need a pump with a pressure gauge. It can be a foot pump, but we didn’t have one. We had one with a built in air compressor that also provides the car with a jump start. We got it after losing power one to many times in Virginia due to storms. You attach the pump to the launcher and then add pressure. You’ll want to experiment with this too, but 50 psi worked well for us. The instructions that came with our launcher suggested we weigh it down. We used two 5 pound weights that weren’t being used for anything else.

The kids had a BLAST! No pun intended, well maybe a little. After each launch the kids would all run after the rocket laughing.

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2 Responses to Launching Rockets pt.1

  1. Dara

    Laura, I have my bottle, and the launch pad and I think we will be experimenting with this one over the weekend. I will keep you posted. Thanks so much for a great idea….now, how can I tie this in with the Harry Potter party he’s planning for himself for NEXT MAY!!!! I’ll let you know how it goes!

    • admin

      Awesome! How did you get a launch pad so quickly? Did you guys make one? It was so much fun, you all will love it! Make Harry Potter stickers to use to decorate the rockets. You are crafty like that. Can’t wait to hear how it goes this weekend!

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