Tuesday, April 12, 2011

How I made my Solar Oven without Spending a Dime

1.  Enlist your two an a half year old to cut newspaper for you (i.e. occupy the toddler or you will get nothing done).  It's ok if he is still in his pajamas. 

2.  Find two boxes, one smaller that the other by a few inches all the way around.  Fill space between boxes with newspaper.  The smaller box should be large enough to bake two loaves of bread.  However, I read that the shallower the oven the hotter it will get.  I hope my box isn't too deep.  As a side note, I somehow got it in my head that shredded newspaper would be a better insulator than crumpled newspaper.  But it took a long time to shred it, and is probably not necessary.  But Kimball loved helping, so no harm, no foul.  What is in the smaller box you ask?  A blanket.  This is completely unnecessary in making a solar oven.

 3.  Let the toddler play "hiding" in the boxes.

4.  Once you get the boxes good and stuffed you can tuck in the sides of the larger box to make the top pretty.

Your 7 month old will be impressed.

5.  Paint the bottom of the box black.  Or steal your child's paints and mix them all together to make something approaching black.

In my case, dark purple.

6.  Line the sides of the smaller box with tin foil.  I used a brush and some white glue to get the foil to stick.  Worked great.

7.  Admire your work.

8.  Build a lid for the box with a hole the size of the smaller box.  Line the lid with an oven bag.  Instead of making a lid you can use a piece of glass.  I found a website that said the bag worked at least as well as the glass.  Since I had a bag and didn't have glass, I opted for the bag.

Here is the inside of the box lid.  You can see I used a diaper box.  (I tend to have a lot of those around.)

9.  Make a reflecting screen for your oven and line with tin foil.  Then stick her in the sun.

I thought it might be sunny enough today.  You can see in the picture that I started at 61 degrees.  But . . . I could only get the oven to 150 degrees before the cloud cover set in.  You need get it to 250 to bake bread.  I will need to wait for a sunnier day.  But will keep you posted.


  1. Okay...I am soooo excited for you! Keep going! That's how I got started and now I'm forever hooked on solar cooking. Smoooches!!

  2. Thanks, Steph. I can't tell you how excited I am. I just need weather more like where you are.

  3. Well aren't you totally awesome! So fun for you to do this neat experiment. I am glad I can follow what you are doing and get some great ideas! I heard of a great website--not necessarily food storage-y, but really great, and you may love it: www.wordofwisdomliving.com. Anyway--keep up the great stuff!

  4. Wow Kate! I am so impressed by your experiment. I have raging poultry envy. Hopefully you'll have lots of garden greens to eat soon too!

  5. Brittany, thanks for the website suggestion. I will definitely check it out. I do hope you get some good ideas from the blog. We can always use more ideas on how to live on food storage.

  6. Kate, I saw this post of yours the other day and have thought of little else since. You are fantastic. And you know what? I'm half way through making my own solar oven for free! Look what you started!
    Odds are, my solar oven will burn everything I put in there down here south of Houston, eh? :-)

  7. Christine, that's so fun. I hope you have better luck than I have had getting it to heat up. I have been trouble shooting and hope to do another post once I get things to work right.



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