Solar power is a renewable energy source that can help you save on your monthly bills or reduce your carbon footprint and may be used for a vast array of applications including cooking. Whether you are camping or just experimenting for fun, building a solar oven can help you understand the science behind solar power, and it makes a fun project for all ages. Read on to learn how to make a solar oven out of a shoebox, pizza box, or any type of cardboard box using just a few common household items, courtesy of Mr. Appliance®.
Build Your Own Solar Oven Science Project
You will need:
- Pizza box (These instructions are customized for a pizza box, but you can use a variet of other cardboard boxes as alternatives.)
- Aluminum foil
- Plastic wrap
- Black construction paper
- Scissors or a box knife
Solar Oven Steps
1. Clean out any leftover food or debris from inside the box and close the lid. Use the ruler to draw a square on the exterior surface of the lid, approximately one inch in from the outer edges.
2. Use the box knife or scissors to create a flap in the lid, by cutting along three of the four sides of the square.
3. Make a crease along the uncut edge and fold the flap outwards so that it stands up.
4. Cut a piece of aluminum foil to fit the underside of the flap, wrap it tightly, and secure with tape.
5. Open up the lid of the box, and place two or more layers of plastic wrap over the opening you cut in the box, stretching it tightly and using a sufficient amount of tape to create a tight seal and prevent the exchange of air.
6. Line the bottom of the pizza box with black construction paper and tape into place.
7. Add a layer of insulation along the interior walls of the box with rolled-up newspapers, using tape to hold them in place around the border. Check to ensure the lid of the box will close completely and make adjustments as needed.
How to Use Your Solar Oven
- Use your solar oven on a sunny day between the hours of 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the sun is highest in the sky.
- Angle the box so that the sun is reflecting off the aluminum on the flap and onto the window you created with the plastic wrap, using the ruler to prop the flap open.
- Use a plate or pie tin to hold your food to keep the interior of the box clean.
- Your solar oven can be used to make smores, toast, nachos, and more, or to reheat leftovers.
- The temperature of your solar oven may reach 200 degrees in full sun.
- Use an oven mitt to remove the food when done.
You can hone your outdoor cooking skills even more with these tips from Mr. Appliance on how to cook your next pizza on the grill.
How Does it Work?
As the rays from the sun reach the earth, they are reflected off the aluminum foil and through the plastic layer, heating the air trapped inside the interior of the box. The layer of construction paper at the base absorbs the heat, while the newspaper border keeps it from escaping.
To learn more about how solar panels benefit your home or for safe, efficient electrical installation or repairs, contact the team at Mr. Electric, which is one of our fellow Neighborly brands. Keep your oven and all your appliances in top shape with expert repair services from the professionals at Mr. Appliance. Contact us online for an estimate or call (888) 998-2011 and let us know how we can help.