Calling a rocket that sprints over 100 feet into the air a “toy” might be a bit of a stretch. Toy or not, this rocket really packs a punch. Fly it using the Compressed Air Rocket launcher from MAKE Volume 15 (get the kit at or a stomp rocket launcher (

Project Steps

Cut the foam and cinch with a zip tie.

Cut a 9″ section of foam pipe insulation. Wrap the zip tie 1/2″ from one end and cinch it tight so no air will escape. Trim the excess foam above the cinched-off end.

Apply duct tape to foam rocket body.

Criss-cross 2 pieces of duct tape over the cinched end. Now cover the entire foam section with duct tape spanning the length. Three overlapping pieces of tape should do the trick.

Cut and attach foam fins.

Cut a 4″×1½” rectangle from the foam sheet, then cut it diagonally to make 2 fins. Repeat. Using generous amounts of hot glue, attach 3 of the fins, spaced evenly, onto the foam rocket body tube. If the glue doesn’t stick well to the rough duct tape, wrap 2 strips of clear packing tape over the duct tape around the bottom of the rocket to create a smooth surface for gluing the fins.

Use it!

Pressurize the compressed air launcher for 45psi–65psi, and launch. (For a lower pressure/altitude launch, use a stomp launcher.) When the duct tape finally fails with a spectacular blowout, just apply more duct tape over the blown section and keep flying!


This project first appeared in MAKE Volume 29, page 123.