To make this project easier, we designed a large legal /A3 sized printable template with a nice rocket shape. If you don’t have a large legal / A3 printer, you should be able to tile it onto 2 sheets of A4 or letter size paper. You don’t have to have this, but I found I made a lot less mistakes when I used it!

There’s also a file available for laser cutting the base, if you have access to a laser cutter.

Scissors and knives are sharp! Make sure you closely supervise kids if you're doing this project with them. A specialist cardboard cutter (as mentioned on the Overview page) is a good idea if little fingers are involved.

Cut the template out, and if you've tiled it over two pages, tape them together. Place and tape or glue it onto a piece of cardboard, but try not to go over joins or bends in the board.

Use either a craft knife or a pair of scissors to cut around it to make your base shape. You’ll also need to cut out two slots for cables as on the template for the alligator clips. Then remove the template from the cardboard. 

You'll also need to cut some strips of card about a 1.5 inches wide to glue around the edge, but make sure you cut these strips across (perpendicular to) the flutes of the cardboard - see the diagram.

You'll need to use fluted cardboard, preferably with a single wall and dual face. The diagram below should help you figure out what your cardboard is...

You can also laser-cut the base from cardboard using the DXF file, but that's beyond the scope of this tutorial. 

Bending the board

The first stage is to bend the cardboard strips you’ve cut so that they are flexible. If you don’t do this, they’ll just kink, but we want them to form nice sweeping arcs for the curve of the rocket’s body.

Grab a heavy book, and put it near the edge of a table. Place the cardboard strip under the book, and then pull it out and downwards. The diagram and gif should help you work out what to do here. You’ll need to leave one strip not bent, so that you can use it for the straight bits.

This guide was first published on Mar 04, 2019. It was last updated on Feb 29, 2024.

This page (Print and Cut Template) was last updated on Feb 23, 2019.

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