Introduction: The Shoebox Solar Oven!

About: I love making things and simple electronics!

Lets face it, nobody wants to spend money on buying an appliance and then having to continue paying for electricity and gas to run that appliance, so why not build a mini oven that runs off of the sun. You can boil water, melt chocolate, and even cook a hotdog with this ecofriendly oven that fits in a shoebox. It can reach a high temperature of 230°F on a sunny day, so the possibilities of what to cook are endless!

The way this oven works is by a big reflector that reflects the sun's rays through the plexiglass and onto the black bottom of the oven. The color black absorbs light therefor becoming hot and that heat is stored in the oven because it can't rise and escape because the plexiglass, and the inside part of the oven is surrounded with newspaper clippings to insulate and keep the heat. Look at the picture and you will see the reflectors, the oven, and the insulation.

Created by the Think, Plan Create Clan as a part of our instructables sponsorship guide.

Step 1: Materials

You will need.....

* A shoebox
* Aluminum Foil
* Cereal Box
* Shredded Newspaper
* Plexiglass (Big enough to just cover your shoebox)
* Black Construction Paper
* 2 Rubber bands


* Scissors
* Hot Glue Gun (with glue)
* Tape
* The Sun!

Step 2: Making the Reflectors

In this step, we are going to make two reflectors, one for the inside of the oven, and one to reflect light from outside the oven.  To make your reflectors, you will need to cut out a piece of the cereal box shaped like the one above.  Use this reflector as a stencil and cut out 7 more pieces of cardboard the same size.  If you need another cereal box, it is okay. 

Now, Cover each piece of cardboard with aluminum foil making sure the shiny side is facing out.  Secure it on with clear tape. When you are finished wrapping all eight of the reflectors, tape 4 of them together so the aluminum foil side of them is facing inward, and your first reflector is done.  Do the same with the other four reflectors, and check to make sure they look okay.

Step 3: Making the Oven

To make the oven , cut a piece of cardboard shaped like the one above and fold up the flaps to form a little box that is open on the top.  Take your black piece of construction paper and hot glue it to the bottom of the oven.  As you can see, I cut a small hatch on the bottom of my oven and the bottom of my shoebox.  This is optional, but it serves as a great way to put food in the oven or take food out.

Step 4: Preparing the Box

Fill up your box with newspaper shreddings about two thirds of the way up.  This will insulate the oven and keep its heat longer.  If there are any small openings on the box, be sure to cover them with tape or hot glue to prevent the loss of heat.  If you choose to make a hatch on your oven, cut a hole on the bottom of your shoebox right where the oven would be. 

Step 5: Final Assembly

Place the oven into the shoebox and place one of the reflectors onto the oven as shown in the picture.  Now put the plexiglass on top of the shoebox and use the rubberbands to hold the plexiglass firmly against the box.  Lastly, place the other reflector on top of the plexiglass exactly where the oven is below, and you can get cookin'!

Step 6: Enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed building an eco-friendly solar oven that harnesses the power of the sun and can cook you a delicious meal!  Avoid being hungry during a natural disaster, and use your solar oven to cook!  Questions, comments, and solar recipes are appreciated so please post them below!  Enjoy!


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