How to Make a High-Flying Bottle Rocket


An ideal project for a warm summer day, a bottle rocket uses a simple bicycle pump to pressurize the water in a soda bottle, creating a homemade rocket that is as fun to make as it is to watch. Utilizing everyday household items, these rockets can be put together in a matter of minutes and provide hours of entertainment for children and families alike.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 soda bottles, 2 liters each
  • 3 manila folders
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • Tire pump
  • Bicycle tire valve
  • Tapered rubber stopper
  • Cut the two bottles in half using the scissors. Tape together the two top portions of the bottles, creating a single bottle with caps on both ends.

  • Cut triangular fins from the manila folders using the scissors. Tape the fins to one end of the bottle so that the bottle rests on the ends of the fins and the cap at the end of the bottle is slightly raised.

  • Push the bicycle tire valve through the hole in the middle of the rubber stopper. These stoppers usually have a hole running through the middle of the stopper and are tapered to fit into the spout of laboratory glassware.

  • Fill the bottle with water and place the stopper-valve assembly into the end of the bottle with the fins. The stopper should fit snuggly, yet not so tight that it cannot be removed with a bit of force.

  • Attach the bicycle pump to the end of the tire valve and pump the tire pump until pressure builds. Once the pressure exceeds the amount the tire valve can hold, it will launch the rocket. The more pressure the valve can hold, the higher the rocket will fly.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
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