Cardboard Rocket Ship

Presentation and Critiques

When I first thought of what I should make for my upcycle project, I wanted to use whatever discarded material that I already have to save time and money. With this in mind, I looked around my place and found several cardboard boxes that are just sitting there waiting to be thrown out. So I decided to make something completely out of cardboard. With the material already obtained, the next step would be to decide what to make. Then I remembered that I’ve always been interested in space exploration and decided to make a model rocket ship out of cardboard.


I was inspired to make my project out of cardboard from the many creative projects that I seen online, especially from this youtube video, which shows how creative you can be using just cardboard. As for the rocket ship design itself, I drew inspiration from existing designs on the internet as well as retro sci-fi rocket ships. I wanted to implement the simple, yet slick looking design into my project.












For the functional goal, I only wanted my ship to be able to stand straight up and stably on its own, with the fins acting as the supporting legs. As for the aesthetic goals, I wanted my ship to resemble an actual rocket ship and have some unique features to it. Initially, I wanted the ship’s body to be in a hexagon shape, with at least 3 fins. For the decorations, I was planning to add features such as doors, windows, or drawings on the ship to make it stand out. I drew out the initial design idea that I had in mind and made adjustments along the way.


The first step in the fabrication process was to disassemble one of the cardboard boxes into flat cardboard pieces. Then, I picked out a couple of pieces and drew cutting lines on them in the desired shape in order to have the pieces that make up the body, the top, and the decorations. The fins and decorations cutouts are not shown below because I forgot to take pictures of the pieces after I cut them.

With the pieces all cut out, I began to form the body by attaching the rectangular pieces together, forming a square prism. I changed the design of the body from hexagon to square prism because I realized that, in the hexagon design, the pieces would have to be glued to each other at an angle, which makes the bond weak compared to the square prism design. The top pieces fit together into a triangular prism pretty nicely.

After I was done building general shape of the rocket, I began decorating it. First, I covered the body in white printing paper to add some contrast to the rest of the ship and to make the decorations pop out. Then, I glued the decorations and the fins onto the body. The decorations include: a hand-drawn NASA logo, two windows cutouts, a door cutout, and two oversized triangular pieces (just for fun).

Final Artifact:

The final product is a square prism-shaped cardboard rocket ship with a top that is in the shape of a triangular prism. It has that has four fins and several other features as decorations. The ships measures at 10 inches tall (including the fins), 2.75 inches wide (just the body), and its width including the fins is 9 inches. As an additional feature for the project, I also made a little launch station for the rocket to stand on.

Evaluation of Final Artifact:

My functional goal for the ship was achieved because the fins were able to support the weight of the ship without falling off, and the ship was able to stand stably on the launch pad without tipping over. For the aesthetic aspect of the ship, I think that there is room for improvement. Even though I did managed to give the ship some good physical decorating features, I were not able to include any drawings on the ship. I also failed to achieve my original goal of making the body of the ship a hexagon prism. Overall, I was pretty happy of what I created using cardboard and basic tools, all of which I was able to obtain without spending extra money.

What’s Next?

For now, I’m not planning on improving the project. So I will keep it for a little while, and then I will recycle it.






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2 Comments. Leave new

  • I really love the overall simplicity of your project, but you still managed to get a cool and unique product in the end. Sometimes capturing 3D geometry and parallelism can be quite challenging for some reason, but I think in all of the components for your project you put in the time to ensure the end product looked up to your standards. The only feedback I have is that maybe you could’ve added some more upcycled components like plastic or cans, but if your intent was to make this entire carboard then that comment is not really valid. Really good job!

  • This is a really cool project! I believe its safe to say many individuals in engineering share some love for the rocket ship design! I like the attention to detailed you focused into pieces like the door or window cut out! I think it would’ve been cool to make the hexagon shape but I do really like this project! Good work!


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