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How to Make a Solar Oven

Solar ovens are becoming more a more popular in third-world countries where traditional fuels for cooking are scarce.

However, the amount of people using them is still quite small. The advantages of the many similar designs for a solar oven is that they can be built with easy-to-find and cheap or free materials.

Basically, you are going to be looking at three important considerations:

How to Make a Solar Oven - Finding a Plan

If you search the internet for "solar ovens" or "solar cooker," you will find several sites that have designs for solar ovens..

Basically, they consist mostly of cardboard panels lined with aluminum foil that reflect the sun's heat into one spot. A black container place in that focused spot absorbs the heat and bakes or cooks the food in a solar oven or solar cooker.

How to Make a Solar Oven - Step by Step

Step 1 - Find a Pattern
  • Search the internet for 'solar oven plan' or 'solar cooker plan' or substitute the word design for plan.

solar oven solar cooker
Step 2 - Solar Oven or Cooker
  • Find a large cardboard box
solar oven solar cooker

Step 3 - Solar Oven or Cooker
  • Find a large cardboard box
  • Flatten the box
solar oven solar cooker
Step 4 - Solar Oven or Cooker
  • Use a straight edge to rule the lines and to cut along lines easily
  • I used a piece of angle iron that I had laying around. The weight helped to keep things from moving while drawing and cutting.

solar oven solar cooker
Step 5 - Solar Oven or Cooker
  • Lay out the pattern you have copied from the internet
  • Use the straight edge and a black marker to draw the lines
solar oven solar cooker
Step 6 - Solar Oven or Cooker
  • Check the pattern before cutting to make sure everything matches
solar oven solar cooker
Step 7 - Solar Oven or Cooker
  • Using a sharp knife, cut the cardboard along the outside lines.
  • Sharpen the knife, as cardboard tends to dull the knife rapidly.
  • Make sure the surface under the cardboard is not going to be damaged by cutting
solar oven solar cooker
Step 8 - Solar Oven or Cooker
  • Carefully crease the lines. You may want to score the lines very lightly with the knife to make good folds.
  • Fold the oven to make sure it folds correctly.

solar oven solar cooker
Step 9 - Solar Oven or Cooker
  • Lay the cardboard flat again.
  • Optional - Wrap the edges of the cardboard with masking or duct tape to prevent damage with use.
solar oven solar cooker
Step 10 - Solar Oven or Cooker
  • Lay out and cut the aluminum or other reflective foil.
  • Cut the pieces in small sections and overlap them.
solar oven solar cooker
Step 11 - Solar Oven or Cooker
  • Spread paste or glue on the cardboard surface.
  • Do one foil section at a time.
solar oven solar cooker
Step 12 - Solar Oven or Cooker
  • Cut the slots if any.
  • Check the cooker and fold it.
solar oven solar cooker

Solar Oven or Cooker

The finished project
solar oven solar cooker
  • Place a flat black metal pot with lid in the center of the  cooker.
  • Cover the pot loosely with clear plastic to allow rays to penetrate but keeping the heat in (not shown).

Locate the solar oven or solar cooker where it will receive the best angle of sun. You may want to shift it as time goes by to face more into the sun.

Your location and how much sun there is that day will determine the temperature of your cooking.

Make several tests with water to judge how hot it will get before cooking.

I use this reflective solar cooker oven to heat 4 gallons of water for bathing purposes, as we don't have hot water here in our northern Peru dwelling.

It takes about 3 hours of direct sun here to heat the water very hot.

Now that you have learned how to make a solar oven, go camping and...

Have fun!

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