We have made a solar cooker in our home and often we get questions from those we talk to who see us in the paper and on the news, who ask us how to make a solar cooker. So to help everyone, here is how you can make a very simple solar cooker.
First, you will need the following items:
- 2 cardboard or wooden boxes, one smaller than the other
- Reflective material such as Mylar, the inside surface of chip bags, metallic auto sunshade, aluminumized or Mylar bubble wrap, Mylar balloons, space blankets, mirrors, or polished metal. Aluminum foil can temporarily be used but will soon tarnish and will need to be replaced often.
- Piece of cardboard or thin wood
- Tape or rubber cement
- 8 sticks/rods (short)
- Black construction paper/lightweight cardboard
- Razor/Exacto knife (utility knife)
- Hot glue/strong glue
- Line the entire inside of the smaller box with something reflective such as Mylar, the inside surface of chip bags, metallic auto sunshade, aluminum-coated or Mylar bubble wrap, Mylar balloons, space blankets, mirrors, or polished metal. Aluminum foil can be used temporally but it will soon tarnish and will need to be replaced often.
- Center the smaller box inside the larger box, and fill the excess space around it with crumpled up newspaper. The more tightly you can stuff the newspaper in, the better.
- Find (or cut) four pieces of cardboard or wood that are roughly the width of the smaller box’s sides. These will be your reflectors.
- Cover each of the reflectors with reflective material. Make sure it sits tightly around the reflector, and smooth out any wrinkles or folds. Secure the material with rubber cement or tape on one side of each reflector.
- Hold one of the reflectors at about a 45 degree angle, with the base touching the outside of the small box just below the box’s top.
- Position one of the sticks or rods on the rim of the larger box (or slightly below the rim on the outside of the box) so that it will support the reflector at the 45 degree angle. Glue the rod in place and hold it until the glue dries so that it will maintain the correct position.
- Glue a second rod to the larger box at the same angle as the first. The two rods should be spaced so that the reflector can steadily rest on top of them at a 45 degree angle to the smaller box’s rim.
- Repeat steps 6-8 for each of the four reflectors (one for each side of the box).
- Lay the reflectors down on top of the rods, with the back side of the reflector facing the rod. Glue the reflectors to the rods to add more stability.
- Position the oven in full sun and cook. That’s all there is to it! Put food in the smaller box to cook it. It is best to cook the food in jars or on a small, dark baking pan. Experiment with cooking times and how and where you place the box. You may need to reposition your box several times during cooking to catch the sun.
Make sure you put something over top of the opening of the solar cooker so that you do not let air escape. Make it a sheet of glass or plastic and angle the solar cooker towards the sun for best results.