How to Make a Soda Bottle Rocket

Houston, we have a bottle. Prepare for liftoff with these simple steps.

You will need

  • 48" piece of 1/2-in. PVC pipe
  • 2 2-liter soda bottles
  • Pencil
  • Round metal file
  • Rubber o-ring
  • Drill
  • 1/4" bit
  • 1/2-in. end cap
  • PVC cement
  • 1/2-in. PVC elbow
  • Epoxy glue
  • 1/4" hose barb mender
  • Bicycle tire valve stem
  • 1/4" inside diameter vinyl tubing
  • Hose clamp for 1/4-in. tubing
  • 1-in. PVC collar
  • 12-in. piece of 1-in. PVC pipe
  • Hacksaw
  • 3 5/16" x 3" eyebolts
  • Coat hanger
  • 4 5' pieces of kite string
  • Utility knife
  • Duct tape
  • Thin sheets of balsa wood
  • Partner
  • 3 stakes
  • Hammer
  • Bicycle pump
  • Craft paint (optional)

Step 1 Put on the o-ring Push one end of the 1/2-inch pipe all the way in to one of the bottles. Pull it out 1/4 inch, and trace the opening of the bottle on the PVC. Remove the bottle, file a shallow groove in the pipe along the line, and slide the o-ring into the groove.

Step 2 Assemble the elbow Drill a 1/4-inch hole in the PVC end cap. Use PVC cement to fasten it into the elbow, and epoxy the hose barb mender into the hole in the end cap. Then, glue the open end of the elbow to the end of the PVC pipe opposite the o-ring.

Step 3 Prepare the tubing Epoxy the threadless side of the bicycle tire valve stem to one end of the vinyl tubing. Attach the other end of the tubing to the hose barb using the hose clamp.

Step 4 Assemble the 1-inch pieces Glue the 1-inch PVC collar to the 1-inch pipe. Use the hacksaw to cut two semi-circular notches around the collar 3/4-inch from the end. Make sure the ends of the notches are about an inch apart.

Step 5 Attach the eyebolts Drill three holes in the 1-inch collar around the end opposite the notches and screw in the bolts about a half an inch.

Step 6 Prepare the coat hanger With the hacksaw cut the bottom out of a wire coat hanger. Bend the two remaining arms down so they’re parallel and about an inch apart, forming a narrow “U.” Tie a piece of kite string to the hook.

Step 7 Make the rocket Cut off the bottoms of two 2-liter soda bottles and securely tape the open ends together. Keep the bottle cap on one of them. Then create the balsa wood fins. Draw and cut out three parallelograms with 5-inch sides and 4-inch ends and epoxy one of the long sides of them to the bottle with no cap.

Step 8 Assemble it Have a partner hold the 1/2-inch PVC upright so the elbow is on the ground. Slide the 1-inch PVC over the 1/2-inch PVC so the collar is pointing up. Fill the rocket 1/3 full with water and slide it onto the 1/2-inch pipe until the o-ring forms a seal with the bottle.

Step 9 Finish assembling Lift the 1-inch pipe until the collar is around the neck of the bottle. Then, put the coat hanger into the notches on the collar so it catches on the bottleneck and holds the 1-inch pipe up. Tighten the eyebolts to secure everything in place.

Step 10 Make the guide wires Tie the ends of each piece of string to an eyebolt and a stake. Then, hammer the stakes into the ground to hold the launch tube up.

Step 11 Launch it! Connect the pump to the valve stem and operate the pump to pressurize the rocket. Pull the string attached to the coat hanger to release the rocket and watch your creation soar!