How to Use Rocket Fireworks Guide

You can’t go wrong with a classic! With their distinctive whoosh-whiz-bang sounds and trails of dazzling colors, rocket fireworks make any sky show pop. Whether you’re lighting up the night at home or in a full-scale fireworks show, make sure you’re doing so safely with our essential how-to guide.

Rocket Fireworks with bright effects

What are Rocket Fireworks?

At once wonderfully nostalgic and refreshed for today, rockets (aka bottle rockets) are aerial fireworks that delight with mid-altitude flashes of light, brilliant colors, and loud, cracking sounds.

What Do I Need to Use Rocket Fireworks Safely?

As with other fireworks, you’ll need to have a few key items on hand:

  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
  • Hose or water supply
  • Extended lighter
  • Flashlight (if nighttime)

You'll also want to keep the instructions that came with each of your rockets on hand. (Some fireworks have special instructions, so make sure you review them before launching your rockets!)

Finally, you'll need either a rocket launching tube or rack to support your rockets before take-off.

What Should I Use to Launch Rocket Fireworks?

Rocket launching tubes are the only safe, approved method for launching rocket fireworks. Tubes should be large enough to fit the firework's stick comfortably, but not so large that the rocket itself sits inside the tube.

Rocket launching tubes should be inserted into the ground or secured to another structure such as a fence post or upturned table. Despite giving bottle rockets their name, freestanding items like bottles should never be used for launching rocket fireworks because they may tip over and fire horizontally.

Additionally, you should never insert your rocket firework's stick directly into the ground. Doing so may damage it and alter the rocket's trajectory, or the firework might fail to launch, causing it to explode at ground level.

How Can I Make DIY Rocket Launching Tubes and Racks?

You need just three simple items to a make rocket launching tube:

  • PVC or metal piping
  • Gaffer or duct tape
  • Wooden stake (or similar)

After inserting your wooden stake into the ground, either use tape to secure your piping to it, or tape your pipe to a stable structure. Voila! You have a rocket launching tube.

If launching multiple rockets, you can build a rocket rack. These wooden frames support several tubes, and you can make them using the same materials as individual tubes.

Where Should I Light Rocket Fireworks?

Rocket fireworks require clear, open spaces devoid of trees and other obstructions. You'll want to choose a location at least 150 feet away from your audience.

Don't forget to account for the wind when setting up your rockets. You may need to angle them slightly or move them to ensure they don't come too close to your audience. Unlike other fireworks, rocket fireworks track into the wind, meaning they tend to move against the breeze rather than with it.

While it may seem like common sense, it bears mentioning: you should never aim rocket fireworks towards trees, buildings, flammable items, or people.

Additionally, you'll want to take note of whatever is under your rocket fireworks. When lit, these fireworks put off a shower of sparks and hot gas that can damage any surfaces below the rockets. Avoid lighting rocket fireworks over dry grass or unprotected wooden surfaces.

How Do I Start a Bottle Rocket Firework?

Finally, the fun stuff! Once you've got your rocket launching tubes set up, you can carefully insert your rocket's stick. Depending on the size of your rocket, its stick may touch the ground or sit inside the tube entirely.

Before lighting your rocket fireworks, ensure they’re free to rise by gently lifting the rocket a few inches. If the stick isn’t loose in the tube or the tube can’t support the rocket's weight, the firework can get stuck inside, causing an explosion on the ground.

Remember to wear safety goggles and gloves when lighting your rocket fireworks.. Keep the fuse covered until ready to light. After using an extended lighter to light your rocket's fuse, move a safe distance away and wait until the rocket launches successfully before lighting any additional fireworks.

What If My Bottle Rocket Firework Fails to Light?

Although it may be tempting to relight rockets that fail to launch, it’s unsafe to do so. To safely dispose of a dud, soak them thoroughly with water, wait 20 minutes, and dispose of them properly.

How Can I Dispose of Rocket Fireworks Safely?

Watch each rocket's flight path to ensure they come down cold. After your show, collect any debris produced by your fireworks.

Submerge used and misfired rockets in water until thoroughly soaked. You may need to wait overnight. Once the fireworks are completely saturated, double-wrap them in plastic wrap or bags to ensure they remain wet. You can then dispose of them with your regular garbage.

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