How to Make a Rocket from Recycled Plastic Bottles

25 January 2017
 Categories: , Blog


The latest craze sweeping school yards are plastic bottle rockets. These rockets can really fly and are often used by teachers for science projects. So, how do you go about making a rocket from recycled plastic bottles?

Here's how.

What you will need

  • 3 large plastic bottles
  • craft knife
  • 1 sheet of foam core
  • epoxy glue
  • marker pens
  • shipping tape
  • spray paint

How to do it

  1. Remove all labels from the bottles, if necessary.  
  2. Cut off one third of one bottle along a straight line. You might find it easier to mark a line around the bottle first with a marker pen.  
  3. Place the cut bottle over the bottom of the whole bottle to form the rocket-nose cone. It's important here that you keep the nose cone as straight as possible so that the finished rocket flies straight. Press the nose cone down firmly but carefully so that it stays in place but doesn't crinkle.  
  4. Place some clear shipping tape around the seams of the nose cone and the second bottle, keeping the tape as smooth as possible.  
  5. Now make the fins for your rocket by cutting them from another plastic bottle. Make sure that the fins curve into the body of the rocket so that they fit well. To do this, split the bottle into three pieces, keeping the fins as equal as possible.  
  6. Place a small amount of epoxy glue into a dish and mix it with a scrap of foam core. Mark your rocket with your marker pen to show the position of the fins, making sure that they line up properly.  
  7. Glue the fins to the bottle one at a time, holding each one in place for a few minutes until the glue has set.  
  8. If you want to make the fins more stable, you can cut small triangular stabilisers and glue one to each fin to support it. This step isn't essential, but it can help to make your creation more robust and less likely to disintegrate on impact.  
  9. Next, take small pieces of shipping tape and use them to bolster your fins and fin supports. The tape provides back-up to the epoxy glue and foam, making them less likely to come adrift when the rocket is in flight.  
  10. Now use the aerosol paints to decorate the rocket in any colour or colour scheme of your choice.

Your rocket is now ready for its maiden flight!