A lot of us love to bake. And a lot of us love cookies even more. But no one loves paying bills. Electric bills always end up showing hefty amounts....but what if we could help limit those costs in a fun way?
Ovens are typically set between 300 and 500 degrees Fahrenheit. An oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit consumes about 2000 watts of power (and significantly more and more as the temperature goes up and the time for baking increases!). The possibility of being able to use the sun's rays without spending loads of money on expensive solar panels is a win-win, especially when it can be done in a short amount of time.
Here I am going to teach how to make a simple solar oven. There are lots of designs out there, but my personal belief is: "Why over-complicate things?". The design works great, and the food that comes out is even better!
Step 1: Materials:
For this oven, you will need the following materials:
1. A cardboard box with the dimensions 23''x 27''x 9'' ***
2. A cardboard box with the dimensions 19'' x 23'' x 8'' ***
3. An X-acto knife
4. A pair of scissors
5. White Elmer's glue
6. A bowl of water
7. Small container for water and glue
8. Small paint brush (I find that the foam brushes work best here)
9. A lot of scrap pieces of cardboard (ask your school's science department- they might just have some lying around!)
10. A lid for your larger box-if you can't find one that fits, you can just use a piece of cardboard that is larger.
11. 2 large turkey-roasting bags (thick clear plastic wrap works as well!)
12. Paper tape
13. Duct tape-feel free to get creative here!
14. A large stick or other stable item to prop the lid
15. Several rolls of aluminum foil-the thicker the better (Heavy duty does a great job of absorbing sunlight)
***These are just recommended sizes. I would not suggest going below these dimensions, just to keep the oven nice and spaced out (helps spread out the heat). However, if these sizes cannot be obtained, try to have one box 2-4 inches longer, 2-4 inches wider, and 1 inch taller than the other.
Step 2: Cardboard Squares
We will begin by preparing some of our cardboard. Gather some of your scrap cardboard, and begin cutting out squares 1'' x 1'' or 1.5'' x 1.5''. To make this easier, you can always grab a post-it, cut it into fourths, and then trace the squares onto your cardboard. You will need approximately 24 of these (you want to end with 6 stacks that are each one inch tall). Glue the 4 pieces per stack so it remains rigid (look at the attached picture).
Step 3: Gluing the Aluminum
Set the square cardboard stacks aside to dry. Now, take your small container, pour some water and glue into the container, and make a runny mix (don't add too much water-it still needs to be able to glue things!
Now, using your foam brush, start painting the outside of the smaller box. Once you paint one side, glue the aluminum foil on top. You will repeat the same thing for the inside of the small box and the inside of the big box- leave the outside of the big box as it is.
Step 4: Constructing the Oven's Shape
Once the aluminum foil dries, you are going to take the 6 stacks of square cardboard you made earlier. These will be glued to the inside of the larger box as can be seen in the picture.
Once that dries, attach the smaller box on top of the stacks, so that the box is centered inside of the big box.
Step 5: Insulation
Now we are going to work on insulation. Basically, use some scraps of cardboard and stuff them in between the walls of the smaller and outer box, so that the small box has a nice, snug fit. If you want, you can attach aluminum foil on the side of the cardboard facing outside to lock in more heat..
In the pictures you will also notice that i taped the insulation with silver duct tape. This just stabilizes the structure and is not at all necessary!
Step 6: Making the Window
Now we are going to make use of the lid (or your large piece of cardboard). Glue aluminum foil all over the inside of the lid or the side of your cardboard facing down. Now you will take the lid, and cut out a sort of window inside of it (look to the picture).
This is where you will attach your plastic wrap or roasting bag. It will help focus the sun's rays once it reflects off of the aluminum foil.
If you used a piece of cardboard, fold over the edges if they stick out past the box. if not, you will just have a loose lid. As long as you are careful with it, this is perfectly okay!
Step 7: Decorations
This is where you can get creative. Grab any rolls of duct tape and begin winding them around the outside of the oven. Mine has been left blank to not give any ideas for creativity. I want this to be completely your idea!
Step 8: Congratulations!
In front of you stands your completed project. Congratulations for making it! And now, enjoy using your environmentally-safe, awesome solar-powered oven!
I say start by making some good ol' chocolate chip cookies!