Posts Tagged: amanda wood

craft project :: DIY rocket ship

guest post + images by amanda wood

From splashing in the pool to shooting to outer space. Now that fall is upon us, transform your neglected pool noodles into rocket ships that really take off.

Rather than cluttering up the garage for a whole year, turn those pool noodles into good fun by creating rocket ships that really fly. Using just a few simple household items, it’s a quick project that will give the kids a little backyard adventure for those crisp fall days. While an adult is needed to do the cutting part of the project, the assembly could be done by school age children.

Materials needed:
Pool noodles *
Card stock (Any type of stiff card stock will work such as the back of a notepad, shirt card or even corrugated cardboard boxes. Dig around in your recycling bin!)
Utility knife or x-acto knife (Scissors can be used for cutting, but it will be a little more difficult to get a nice clean edge.)
Metal ruler
Cutting mat
* Each pool noodle will make about three rocket ships. You can use either the smooth sided or bevel sided versions.

Step One:
Cut three 3″x4″ rectangles out of the cardstock. These will be the starting point for the three fins. If you are making more than one rocket ship, you might want to cut enough rectangles for each one at this point.

Step Two:
On each of the three fins, cut the point off one corner by measuring down 1″ on either side of the point. This should give you about a 1.5″ angle. It doesn’t need to be too precise, but we found that this gave it a nice proportion.

Step Three:
Measuring down 18″ from one end, cut off a section of the pool noodle. This is your rocket ship body.

Step Four:
Trim one end of the rocket ship so that it has a cone-shaped or bevelled point like a pencil. This will be the nose of the rocket ship.

Step Five:
On the tail end of the rocket ship body, you will need to cut slits into the body to insert the fins. Use the long side of the fins to help measure the length. There should be two slits evenly spaced on the bottom and one slit on the top. You can slide the fins into place ensuring that the angled corner is on top facing the front of the rocket ship.

Step Six:
Once the fins are in place, secure them with duct tape.

Step Seven:
You are ready to blast off! Just raise the rocket ship above your head in one hand and launch it just like you would a paper airplane. These rockets really can go quite far and high, so I recommend using them outside where there is plenty of space.

Try a little science experience by testing different materials for the weight in the nose and different sizes and weights of passengers (see below). See which combination makes it go the highest or farthest!

Giddy Up!
If you would like to have a passenger in your rocket ship, you can trim out a cockpit in the middle of the top of the body. Use your toy as a guide to the size of the cut-out. Since the pool noodle is hollow, a nice little space is created to nestle in a little figurine such as playmobile or any other toy of a similar size.

Caution: Your passenger may jump ship if the rocket gets up a good speed, so don’t use anything too precious that might break!


Amanda Wood makes handmade goods for the family home under the name Owl + Pussycat. As a mom of two active boys who is passionate about bringing DIY into the hands of children, she is always on the lookout for thrifty craft ideas to keep them busy. Blog | Etsy

owl + pussycat – feature #9

from the archives: 10.08.09

name: Amanda Wood
company: Owl + Pussycat
links: shop | blog

What do you make?
Jane Brocket has written a wonderful book about what she calls the domestic arts. I guess you could say that I am a domestic artist. I like to create useful things and since I have a young family I tend to focus on whatever we need at the moment. Right now I am making simple accessories for children and things that make a house a home like tea and coffee pot cozies, placemats, and aprons.

What or who inspires you?
I’m inspired by so many things! It could be something I’ve seen while out on a walk, the silly things my children say, the feel of natural fibres, or the way colours play together. I love peaceful colours like grey, blue, brown. I’m also experimenting with photography a lot and trying to improve my skills so I am keenly interested in the relationship between light and colour.

How did you get started?
I was very lucky to grow up in a family of creative people who by necessity were constantly making things. As a result I had access to lots of raw materials. From a very young age I was making things out of whatever I could get my hands on. When I had my own children it seemed natural to make things for them and their friends.

My grandmother was a key person in my young life and she showed me how to sew, bake, make jam, crochet (unsuccessfully) among other things. Every Christmas she would make dozens of stuffed animals for me and the hordes of cousins. I still have many of them. She was such an inspiration to me. So when I finally got up the courage to sell my handmade things I started with her children’s apron pattern. I modified it slightly to make the pockets larger and more useful and added velcro so that even little kids can put them on themselves. It is so important for them to do things on their own.

What are your favourite materials to work with?
I love to work with natural materials. Wool, cotton, linen. Natural materials seem to tell a story. They have a history that works its way into the finished item. I also love to use old textiles like sheets, wool sweaters and any old thrifted fabric that speaks to me. One of my favourite pieces of fabric is a thrifted sheet covered in orange, yellow and brown daisies. I love it!

What is the hardest and most favourite part of crafting?
The hardest part is definitely finding time to do it! With two little ones to nurture it is a definite challenge.
My favourite part is something that happens after lots of failed attempts, when the ah-ha moment arrives, everything clicks and I have figured out a new technique or created a new product.

I made these little felted wool bunnies for the boys on a whim a couple of days before Easter. Thankfully, they worked the first time (a rare occurrence) and they turned out so well! That was definitely a good moment.

List 5 of your favourite links and why you like them

blyberg: I love old books and sorely miss the card catalogues of my childhood. This quirky little site acknowledges this loss and provides an opportunity to celebrate geeky librarian stuff.

grain edit: I’ve been working with graphic designers for a number of years and I have learned so much about design in general through that medium. This site is great for inspiration.

indexed: A little reality check for my over-analytic and neurotic brain.

the impossible project: So inspiring to see these guys try to bring back an institution

the pursuit of happiness: Pure genius and poetry, almost childlike naivite. You really must read all of her work.

Do you have any advice for those in the biz?
Boy, I don’t really feel qualified to give advice. I have been making things on a very part-time basis in fits and starts for a relatively short time. I guess the one thing I could suggest is to not be too hard on yourself. There is a lot of advice out there about putting in a lot of time in order to make your craft business successful. While that is an admirable goal, I think it’s also okay to experiment and make stuff, without putting a lot of pressure on yourself.

If you can get it out there, get feedback and improve your skills, you will be much farther ahead in the long run. I would rather make fewer things more carefully and thoughtfully and have fun doing it than get stressed out.

(photo images courtesy of Owl + Pussycat)

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