Cardboard mailing tubes (my boys preferred the smaller rockets over the giant one we made, FYI)
Corrugated cardboard
Poster board
Supplies to decorate rockets such as paint, spray paint, colored paper, duct tape, etc.


Glue gun
X-acto knife
Box cutter

Step 1: Create a template to create “hatches” in the rocket. Trace around a round object like a jar or canister onto a piece of paper.

Step 2: Cut out circle and trace around it onto the cardboard tube.

Step 3: With an extra large drill bit, drill a starter hole in the center of the circle.

Step 4: Next, insert the blade of the jigsaw through the hole. While stabilizing the tube with your free hand, guide the blade towards the outline and cut out circle. With a pair of scissors, snip off any jagged cardboard remnants along the edges of the hatch.

Finished tube below next to my phone to illustrate size.

Step 5: I realized after the fact that the rocket fins didn’t stay on the tube too well with just glue, so either cut or saw (if the tube is too thick) three three slits for three fins. When you create your fins later, you may need to make these notches longer, depending on the size of the rocket fins. Two will go in the front on either side of the hatch, with a third, stabilizing fin in the back.

Step 6: Paint the rockets. The kids wanted shiny silver rockets, so I went with spray paint for the body.

Step 7: To create the fins, sketch out a fin shape onto a piece of paper. Cut out and use this as your template to trace three fins onto corrugated cardboard. Cut fins out with an X-acto knife or, more easily, with a box cutter.

Step 8: Color the fins. You can do this numerous ways; mount colored paper to the fins (and cut off excess), let the kids go at it with paint, or simply cover with duct tape.

Step 9: Before attaching the fins, create the tip of the rocket. Draw a large semi-circle onto a sheet of poster board. The diameter of this half-circle should be about the circumference of the rocket tube. You can eyeball this semi-circle, but if you want to be more precise, tie a piece of string (the same length as the diameter of the tube) onto a pencil towards the writing end. With this makeshift compass, draw your semi-circle by holding down the free end of the string while drawing with the pencil tied to the other end. Cut out and form your cone, holding together with tape. Paint this piece or cover with paper or fun colored duct tape. Use hot glue to affix tip to the top of the rocket (opposite the end with the slits).

Step 10: Insert about a quarter to half an inch of the rocket fins into the slits (you may need to make slits longer). Create an extra strong bond by applying hot glue where the fin and rocket body meet. Lastly, add in some furry friends to pilot the rocket and now you’re ready for blast-off!