How to Make a Small Cardboard Rocket Ship

by Gerald Fuller
Building a small rocket ship can bring much joy to small space fans!

Building a small rocket ship can bring much joy to small space fans!

David Woolley/Digital Vision/Getty Images

A young space enthusiast can be wowed during the creation of a cardboard rocket ship. Filling the construction with tales of spaceflight and adventure helps contribute to the sense of wonder that arises in space fans speaking of flying into the sky. This mixture of education and recreation provides children with a fun-filled yet informative look at the imagination's role in modern aeronautics. The cardboard medium allows for a plethora of rocket designs to take shape in the mind. Start simple and reserve more complicated designs for future construction sessions to provide your child with a chance to build on past experience.

Items you will need

  • Cardboard
  • Paper towel rolls
  • Scissors
  • Craft glue
  • Ruler
  • Aluminum foil
  • Markers
  • Water-based paint
  • Small paintbrushes


Step 1

Cut a large circle (at least 5 inches in diameter) and two triangles (6 inches tall and 4 inches wide) out of a piece of cardboard.

Step 2

Cut a radius into your circle from the edge to the center. Fold one side over the other so that the circle pokes up into a cone shape. Glue the outer edge down so that the cone retains its shape. Glue the bottom of the cone to the top of the paper towel tube to form the cockpit.

Step 3

Cut slits halfway into both triangles. One slit should start at the top of a triangle and go down to the center. The other slit should go from the bottom center into the middle. Insert one slit into the other, so that the triangles form a free-standing base that resembles a cross when viewed from above.

Step 4

Cut four 3-inch-deep slits into the bottom of the paper towel tube as if your were cutting it into quarters (equally spaced apart). Insert the triangular base into the four slits to form the base of your rocket ship.


Step 1

Wrap your rocket ship in aluminum foil to give it an authentic metallic look. Glue on square bits of paper to make the windshield and windows. Color these windows with markers. Draw astronauts inside or the bars that separate the window panes.

Step 2

Paint your rocket ship gray or silver with spray paint. Leave spaces to add windows, windshields or improvised technical equipment with a multicolored paint set. Paint an American flag on the outside.

Step 3

Color your rocket ship with markers. Add all of the details in black marker before coloring anything else in. Add thin rectangles and dots to simulate sheet metal and rivets, giving your rocket ship an authentic look.

About the Author

Gerald Fuller began writing professionally in 2010, specializing in cycling, swimming and history topics. He graduated from the University of Florida in 2006, earning a Bachelor of Science in psychology.

Photo Credits

  • David Woolley/Digital Vision/Getty Images