DIY Friday: Water Bottle Rockets

A friend of mine, a physics teacher in Northern New Jersey, had all the kids at a summer party do a rocket craft: a water bottle rocket. Most of the kids were younger and didn’t quite get the physics behind it. Little did I know it’s part of his curriculum. And he’s good at it, too. In fact, he was featured on PBS in their piece on the Liberty Science Center’s Summer Physics Teachers Institute:


It was such a cool project, I plan to replicate for my son’s birthday party (we had snakes and lizards one year, so we’ve got to better that one). Having done it before, I know we’ll get the "wow" reaction from the kids — mostly boys — that we’re after. Of course, has a really cool example, with a list of simple materials:



> 2 Soda Bottles (empty)
– Note: There are slight differences in the openings of the bottle depending on the soda brand. Pepsi is just a tad smaller than Coke. –

> 1 sharp knife (kids get your parents help here!) I prefer X-acto brand for cutting foam core.

> 1 Large sheet of Foam Core (I prefer Black, but any color will do).

> 5 Min Epoxy (This stuff is nasty! Do not inhale, and use in a well ventilated area. Do NOT get it on your skin or eyes, or hair, etc… read all safety warnings before using.) Feel free to experiment with other glues.

> 2 (or more) Markers – I used Sharpies, one black and one Silver

> Clear Shipping Tape – It’s thicker than regular scotch tape and about 2" wide.

> 2 (or more) cans of spray paint – Pick your own favorite colors!


Finkbuilt’s Water Rocket Party has lots of great ideas (I think I might use some for my party).  Of course, Make magazine’s Issue 05 has a great piece on water rockets.


We’ll follow up with party pictures in a couple of weeks.