Did this by accident with a plastic chemical wash bottle and some liquid nitrogen when I was studying undergraduate Physics.
My lab partner, Dave, and I had the entire lab to ourselves, doing a high-vacuum experiment that needed a fair amount of liquid nitrogen. At the end of the experiment, we had a dewar with a pretty decent amount of the precious liquid still in it. We both said “What a shame to waste all that liquid nitrogen without doing anything funny with it”. I spotted the plastic bottle and said “Hey! Lets make a rocket!” The plastic bottle looked ideal, since the cleaning nozzle was integrated into the bottom of bottle, looped up and pointed almost straight down. My friend Dave thought it was a great idea. So we dumped the alcohol out of the bottle and I tried to pour a little LN2 into it. But liquid nitrogen makes a big fuss when you try to pour it, and I accidentally poured way more than I intended. [Mistake 1] When I closed the bottle, it sat and huffed and puffed, but was too heavy to move. Oh well.
Then we heard footsteps coming down the hall, and feared it was Oakie, the lab manager in charge of all of the physics labs at the university. (We feared Oakie, because he didn’t put up with any monkey business on his turf, and he certainly wasn’t shy about chewing out a couple of miscreant Physics majors. The grad students and some of the Physics professors steered a wide berth around him, too.) I quickly opened a drawer and swatted the bottle into it [Mistake 2] while Dave closed the heavy oak doors to the lab [Mistake 3]. While in the drawer, the LN2 hit the warm sides of the bottle, and with the jump in pressure, it started to fly around in the drawer making a hell of a racket. Dave and I started to laugh hysterically, and even more when I opened the drawer and all this mist poured out.
Without thinking it through, I decided that sitting the bottle upright would again make the liquid nitrogen touch the warm sides and cause the pressure to jump. And make the rocket fly. [Mistake 4] Yes the LN2 hit the sides and vaporized. Yes the pressure jumped. Yes, the nozzle was attached to the bottom of the bottle, submerged in liquid nitrogen, so it blocked the gas from escaping. Yes, I realized my mistake just in time to yell “Duck!” and throw my hands in front of my face.
I still vividly remember the searing cold of liquid nitrogen hitting my hands and unguarded portions of my face. The pressure of the explosion was enhanced by the closed doors and felt like it knocked the wind out of us (or maybe into us). With our ears ringing insanely, we looked at each other and where the bottle had been and busted out laughing. There was no trace of the bottle. There wasn’t even a trace of dust on the table.
We looked out the doors to see if there was any reaction to the explosion. Luckily it was evening, and most people had gone home. We then started looking for pieces of bottle to cover up any evidence. Oakie would surely kill us for this stunt. We gathered the pieces and pieced them together to see if we had everything. The telltale integrated nozzle bit was missing and we couldn’t find it anywhere. We were frantic. Then I spotted it - sitting on the top edge of the blackboard almost 40 feet away. Again, we started laughing to the point of tears. We put the evidence in a bag and disposed of it in a university dumpster far from the physics building.
The next day, Oakie popped in for a visit to one of our classes. He inquired if we knew where the bottle was, because it was useful for cleaning vacuum equipment and he didn’t have many of that particular type. Not sure if he was testing us, I answered truthfully on four counts “It’s my fault. I didn’t put it away. It disappeared. I’m sorry.” Oakie shook his head sadly, and said “Try to remember to put that stuff away, so it doesn’t disappear” and left. Dave kept a perfect poker face. I never could tell if Oakie suspected what really happened.