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July 26, 2010

How To Build A Solar Oven

Sometimes it's interesting what you can find via google! I came across how to build a solar oven a few weeks ago. I would give a link, but I couldn't find the original source I seen and after several hours of looking, we just decided to wing it from what I could remember. We knew we basically needed a box inside a box, the void between the boxes filled with shredded paper, and lots of aluminum foil!. The "original" designed I seen a few weeks ago had a funnel coming out of it. Seeing I couldn't remember exactly how to do that part, we just lined some poster paper with foil.

  • 2 large boxes (one must fit inside another)
  • aluminium foil
  • shredded paper
  • 2 large pieces of poster paper
  • turkey size oven bag
  • oven themometer
  • black pot to "cook" food in
  • several pieces of black construction paper
  • non toxic tape and non toxic glue
So the basic design is a box inside the box. The interior box is completely lined with aluminum foil. We used glue and tape to help secure the aluminum foil to the box. After it was completely lined with aluminum foil we placed black construction paper over the aluminum foil on the bottom of the interior box.  The void in between the interior box and the outer box was filled with shredded paper.  Be sure to place a inch or so of shredded paper in the bottom of the outer box, before placing the interior box inside it.

We then lined poster paper with aluminium foil. Again just like with the box we secured the foil to the poster paper with the aid of glue and tape.

The pieces together look something like this:

You'll notice that when we lined the interior box we made it go over the shredded paper and taped it to the outer box. You should also note the box under it that is helping to angle the box to face the sun. You want to angle in such a way that there is NO shadow inside the box where your pot will sit.

After the oven is made you just put a small oven safe pot (black or dark color is best) inside a oven bag. The bagged pot goes into the "oven". We also placed a oven thermometer inside the oven bag on the lid of the roaster pan we used. This was so we could see how hot it really got. We decided to test it first, before we tried to cook anything.

Within 10-15 minutes the oven thermometer was reading 200 degrees! Not quite hot enough to do a roast , but hot enough to heat up some hot dogs.

So I removed the pan with pot holders and placed some hot dogs inside.

I didn't remove the pan completely from the oven bag. Just the lid and thermometer. We slipped the hot dogs in, place the lid and thermometer back on, and twisted tied the oven bag closed.

The kids at first decided to sit and watch the oven.

However that only lasted about 5 minutes. They realized that it was really like watching a pot boil. It was no fun! So they asked me to let them know when it was done. Once we go the oven up to 200 again we left them for about 30 minutes. I know a microwave is so much faster, but this was fun! The hot dogs came out heated. They could have been left a little longer to be a little bit more hotter, but either way the kids enjoyed their solar cooked hot dogs for dinner.

NOTES: We may not have needed all the foil on the box, but in the original I seen the funnel didn't go all the way into the box. We just did that way because we used the poster paper. The poster paper on it's own wasn't strong enough to stay up. So we had to stick it into the box to help give it strength. The kids would also like to thank Oma and Grandpa for giving us the boxes we needed to to this project.

So this was our solar oven. Solar oven 1.0! LOL! We are are trying to figure out how to get it hotter! So there might be solar oven 2.0 in the future! One thing we got the oven out there at 4 in the afternoon. So we also wonder if it will be hotter if it was noon time! We also wonder what tweaks we can do to get it hotter.


  1. Thanks Renee :). We also noted that the "oven" did not get hot to the touch, just the pan! That was very interesting!

  2. thats sounds very cool..can't wait to try this one..

  3. That is so awesome!! The kids will love this one! We'll have to try it.

  4. Well if any of you try this I would definitely would be interested in seeing the results! Just let me know about it! okay? :) Perhaps you can find other ways to tweak the design so that it gets hot enough to cook a roast :)

  5. This was a neat idea! A lot of tinfoil!

  6. WOW, this is AWESOME!
    You guys do the neatest things!

  7. This looks so cool! I saw one at Cub Scouts that used charcoal. We are gonna have to load up on foil and try both of them to see which one makes the best cookies!

    Thanks for stopping by my blog :-)


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