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How to Make an Oven for Solar-Powered Cooking

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.

You don’t need four burners and a gas line to make some great-tasting trail food. All you need is plenty of sunlight. Make your own solar oven and feed the whole group. Solar ovens work by bouncing sunlight off a reflective surface into a pot. The hotter the pot, the faster your food will cook. It’s easy to make—and cheap.



  • A pizza box
  • Black construction paper
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic window covering
  • Permanent marker
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • String


reflector-1STEP 1: Line the inside bottom of the box with foil.

reflector-2 STEP 2: Cover foil with black paper and tape in place.

STEP 3: Set the plastic under the box and trace the outline of the box.

reflector-4 STEP 4: Remove the box and draw another outline 1⁄4-inch inside the first outline and cut along inside line.

reflector-5STEP 5: Close the box cover, and draw another line 1 inch from each side.

STEP 6: Cut along the lines on the front and sides—not the back.

reflector-7STEP 7: Open the cover and line the inside with foil.

STEP 8: Glue foil in place.

STEP 9: Cover foil with the cut plastic and tape in place.

STEP 10: All layers should be airtight and wrinkle-free.

reflector-11STEP 11: On the outside of the box cover, attach a string long enough to keep the flap open and let the sun shine in.

STEP 12: Once you have the oven, all you need is the sun. Choose a spot that will get at least several hours of direct sun away from any strong wind.


Solar cooking takes a little practice. Try this recipe first:



  • Graham crackers
  • Milk chocolate bars
  • Marshmallows

Place graham crackers next to each other on the bottom of a black cast-iron pot. Black pots are best because they absorb and retain the sun’s heat better than light-colored pans. Top each cracker with a piece of chocolate and a marshmallow. Put a glass lid over the pot and place the pot in the center of your solar oven. When the marshmallow is gooey, take out the crackers and add the second layer of graham crackers on top to complete it.

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50 Comments on How to Make an Oven for Solar-Powered Cooking

  1. this is the best thing

  2. Love it!

  3. Old Scout 1960 era // June 5, 2007 at 11:02 pm // Reply

    Ac tually it is quite workable.

    In one case something like this was shown to reffuges in a camp in Africa. One tribal group that seemed impervious to new ideas tried it and soon started taking courses in other subjects.

    Do a GOOGLE search on Solar Cookers, Solar Stoves, ect.

    Another good source “Fun With the Sun” by D. S. Hallacy.

    Simple cookers can be made from three reflector panels (like two walls and a floor), a dark colored glass jar with lid (to hold the food) and a plastic roasting bag. The three panels form a two walls, corner and floor structure. Put the food in the jar and add water to cover and close the jar. Put the jar in the bag. Put the bag in the reflector corner. Inflate the bag slightly and tie it shut. The bag helps to trap hot air around the jar.

    I have heard a rumor that if you lay a closed one liter pop bottle half full of water in the sun for six hours the water will get hot enough to kill microorganisms. I would advise against testing this method but try to see how hot the water can get as a Science Fair project.

  4. this is so cool!!!

  5. i made the oven, and i warmed up a pizza!

  6. i’m in freidens science class!

  7. we are looking for a SOLAR POWERED RADIO XD

  8. Galactic Marine // May 11, 2007 at 5:16 pm // Reply

    This is a neat thing! Great for when you can’t get a fire started!

  9. i can melt a candy bar in my pocket, what if i want a hamburger, or cook up some road kill? bogus.

  10. this rules

  11. It like it!

  12. amby bamby // May 8, 2007 at 1:47 pm // Reply

    wow i dont even knoazy how too make it lol im cr

  13. I’m gonna get food poison and suit the magasine. The real American Way!

  14. Mr. Mustache // May 7, 2007 at 10:51 am // Reply

    It was a good idea but still flawed

  15. Anonymous // May 5, 2007 at 11:35 pm // Reply

    I think it is a great idea and it sounds lightweight.

  16. Pack 84 den2 TW // May 5, 2007 at 11:33 pm // Reply

    I think it is a great idea and it sounds lightweight.

  17. I thought it was great!! By the way, I don’t want to sound rude or anything, but for those who asked “how does it get the heat?” the answer is the following: Light energy in the form of photons hits the black construction paper. The black construction paper absorbs the light energy, turning it into heat. The aluminum is apparently for centering more light onto the paper, therefore creating more heat.

  18. 93 fanatic!! // May 2, 2007 at 10:58 pm // Reply

    It seems soooooooooooooooo cool!0:)

  19. hott bunz // May 2, 2007 at 9:28 pm // Reply

    i wish we did this in Girl Scout camp, but we only did the “Dutch Oven.”

  20. the camper // May 2, 2007 at 8:45 pm // Reply

    can you make briscuits,pizza,steak,fish,hambergers and other stuff??

    write back

  21. the camper // May 2, 2007 at 8:42 pm // Reply

    its a great idea accept if the wind blows can you cook steak??

  22. I don’t know

  23. I have’it done it but it sounds cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. JOHN BOY // May 2, 2007 at 9:48 am // Reply

    that is tight and i love it

  25. The Lunch Lady // May 2, 2007 at 1:25 am // Reply

    What a way to cook without using the stove, this is really cool or hot depending on how you look at it.

  26. superscooter9000 // May 1, 2007 at 8:14 pm // Reply

    i want to tri it!!! this is my 1st time onthe website i love most(after 5 minutes)!!!;)

  27. it’s not actrually solar powered. it’s powered by heat energy

  28. Inventor8 // May 1, 2007 at 8:53 am // Reply

    sorry about sounding so mean but i watch the science channel for fun

  29. Inventor8 // May 1, 2007 at 8:51 am // Reply

    turnten itgetstheheat from the sun


  30. wowowwowowowowowow // April 30, 2007 at 7:02 pm // Reply


  31. The Unknown // April 30, 2007 at 5:38 pm // Reply

    There is also a way to make biscuits like this. Take a regular box and cover all sides with aluminum foil and tape it in. Take old wire coat hangers and punch them through, about three of the long ends to hold a pie plate. You fill another pie plate with coals from your fire and put the biscuits on the other pie plate above the coals, resting on the coat hangers. close the box and let them cook. They are great. You must make sure the whole inside of the box is coated in foil or else it will burn through. This happened the first time my patrol and I tried it, but the biscuits were still great. We laugh about it all the time now!

  32. i love it. its brilliant!

  33. Hey, Tumten the black paper absorbs the heat with reflection of the aluminum foil. It also sounds really COOOOOOOOOL.


  35. newguyintown // April 27, 2007 at 8:15 pm // Reply

    i’m doing it right now

  36. Awsome! I have tried many things like this but, this is the best i have ever seen! It is truly wonderful and is useful and a cheap way to cook. MY RATING: 5 stars

  37. cobra 199999999 // April 24, 2007 at 4:55 pm // Reply

    i have’nt used it yet but i can’t wat {;its cool;maybe;}

  38. Doctor Proffeser // April 23, 2007 at 4:20 pm // Reply

    I’ve got a camping trip to go to, so this [i]might[/i] be of use!

  39. landfill #2 // April 23, 2007 at 1:09 pm // Reply

    thank ya little lady!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  40. This is sweet, when I get home I am doing this I hope to here more cool stuff like this. I’v been reading the magizene for 6 years and I just now got to the website

  41. I started my marshmallow on fire! That thing is hot! (pun intended)

  42. Sounds E-Z-P-Z!!!!!!!! =)

  43. love the magazine

  44. KDog: Sounds like I should try it. Is it good? Is it ez?

  45. Great camping idea

  46. how dose it get the heat.

  47. cookmaster say : // April 20, 2007 at 7:33 pm // Reply

    neat o =)

  48. Works like mad, and I haven’t even tried it!

  49. Tastes great!!!!!!!!!!!!

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