Ideas for Adding Parachutes to Your Water Rocket

When we launch a water rocket, it is sometimes difficult to recover them because of how fast they land, especially when they have stabilizing fins that cause them to fly at a high speed and fall with a significantly higher velocity. Aside from being difficult to recover, this may also cause your water rocket some damage because of how hard it will hit the ground. But this problem can be solved by adding parachutes to your water rocket.

Things to Consider When Adding Parachutes to Water Rockets

If you wish to develop a water rocket with a recovery system, a strong and reliable parachute design is important. There are many ways to add parachutes to your water rocket, but before adding one, there are some factors that you need to consider first.
  • How much does your water rocket weigh?
  • How rugged is your water rocket?
  • How high do you want it to fly?
  • How fast is the wind on your location?

These factors are important because when you add a parachute to your water rocket, it will have an effect on how fast you want it to land under a parachute and as well as how far down-range it will go before it returns to the ground. This is essential especially when you only have limited space for your recovery area such as in a park or in your backyard.

Water Rocket Parachute Ideas

You can add different kinds of parachutes to water rockets. To give you some ideas, here are some ways you can follow.

Simple Parachute

To add a simple parachute to your water rocket, here are the things you need:

  • Plastic garbage bag (thin and dark)
  • Kite string (lightweight)
  • ½” wide Scotch tape or invisible tape
  • 3 feet heavier nylon string or cord
  • Thick rubber band


1. Cut the two sides of the garbage bag to open it into a sheet. Then cut a square from it which is large enough on each side to include your parachute diameter.

2. Fold the plastic square in half, then form a ¼ square.

3. After folding, one of its corners will be the center of your plastic sheet. All of the following folds should be at that corner, forming a wedge. Then, fold it 3 more times, each diving the angle in half. You should be able to form a wedge of about 11 to 12 degrees.

4. Measure the radius of the parachute from the point of the wedge then cut the folded plastic to form the circular outline of the parachute canopy.

5. After cutting, unfold the plastic onto a flat surface. Then attach 8 shroud lines by following these:

  • One inch from the end of the kite string, tie a knot.
  • Using 2 inches of the invisible tape or scotch tape, attach the end of the knotted string to the plastic at 45-degree intervals around the edge. Use the fold lines of the plastic as a guide on where to place the strings.
  • Cut the length of the shroud line to match the diameter of the canopy.

6.  After attaching the strings to the plastic, gather all of the ends of the 8 strings then tie an overhand knot about ¾ inches from the end.

7. On one end of the heavier nylon string or cord, tie a slip-knot and tighten it over the knotted end of the strings.

8. Now, try to test the parachute with a pretend weight tied to it. Fold the parachute and throw it into the air.

9. When it works, tie the rubber band in the middle of the cord to form a shock absorber using two loops that are 8 to 10 inches apart.

10. Using a strapping tape, attach the free end of the cord to your water rocket. It can be either at the center of gravity or the top of the rocket body under the nose cone.

Octagonal Parachute

This is another parachute idea that will help you safely recover your water rocket. The things you need to be able to create an octagonal water rocket parachute are:
  • Plastic material (trash bags, shower curtains, or table cloths)
  • String
  • Duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • Hole puncher


1. Measure and cut the plastic material to size. This will depend on your desired parachute diameter. Just make sure that the material is perfectly square to ensure balance.

2. Take the bottom edge and fold it to the top edge of the square. After that, take the left edge of the folded material and fold it neatly in half from left to right. It should resemble a square again. Flatten it and make a sharp crease at the folded edge.

3. Fold it in half again, this time diagonally. It should not form a right triangle with a 90-degree vertex at the upper left. Flatten it again.

4. Then, fold the left edge of the right triangle diagonally until the left edge lines up with the previous diagonal fold. Flatten it again.

5. After folding the plastic material, cut away the clearly defined triangular section of excess material.

6. Unfold the plastic material. It should have the size of a perfect octagon. Flatten it and remove any crease marks.

7. Get the string and cut four sections from it to create the shroud lines for the parachute. Its length should be twice as long as the diameter of your parachute.

8. Fuse the strands by holding each briefly in the flame of your lighter until they fuse together.

9. Reinforce the attachment points of the shroud to avoid ripping them from the parachute during hard deploy. You can do this by taping each corner of the octagonal parachute and fold it over to cover both sides. After that, cut off the excess materials.

10. By using the hole puncher, create a hole in each corner of the parachute. Tie the shroud lines. Each of them should connect two opposite corners of the plastic octagon. After connecting them together, the parachute is ready to be connected to your water rocket. Test it and enjoy.

Creating a parachute for your water rocket can be a lot of work. However, if you do not have time to create one but you’d like your water rocket to have a parachute, then we have the solution for you. You can purchase ready-made parachutes and all you have to do is connect them to your water rocket. To help you, here are some of the best ones that you may like.

Where to Buy
24-inch Red Rip-Stop Nylon Parachute for Water Rocket
Apogee 36-inch Rip-Stop Nylon Cloth Parachute for Water Rocket
Apogee 30-inch Rip-Stop Nylon Cloth Parachute for Water Rocket

1. 24-inch Red Rip-Stop Nylon Parachute for Water Rocket

This water rocket parachute has 6 sides and it includes 6 braided nylon shroud lines. It will bring your water rocket safely back to the ground after each launch. You can tie the shroud lines of this parachute to the finds attached to a 2-liter bottle. Gather them together at the top with a cable tie. This is a great parachute for your water rocket.

2. Apogee 36-inch Rip-Stop Nylon Cloth Parachute for Water Rocket

This is an octagon-shaped water rocket parachute. It is lightweight but has heavy-duty suspension lines for extra durability. Its material feels like silk and you can pack it tightly into a small volume. It is 36 inches in diameter and 52.6 grams in weight.

3. Apogee 30-inch Rip-Stop Nylon Cloth Parachute for Water Rocket

This is also an octagon-shaped parachute for water rockets. Its only difference from the previous one is its size which is 30 inches in diameter and it weighs 42.5 grams.

Adding parachutes to water rockets can indeed help us find our water rockets easily when they land. And more than that, it can also make our water rockets land slowly and safely, avoiding damage. We hope this gave you an idea of adding parachutes to your water rocket.