Preparedness blog

DIY Solar Oven

By Emily Hutchison
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Cooking typically requires some type of fuel whether it be propane for a camp stove, wood for a fire, or electricity for a crockpot. Fuel is a limited resource. It will be difficult to store all the fuel you might need for a long-term crisis. A solar oven could be the solution to cooking and heating your emergency food storage reserves. Deforestation is a real issue in the developing world. The local villages must travel farther and farther to collect firewood. Solar Cookers International aims to change that. They are harnessing the power of the sun and teaching developing nations how to cook using solar power. A solar cooker will last for about 2 years and requires no fuel, saving lungs from smoke and preserving local forests. Solar ovens provide clean water and cooked food without using any fuel at all. Box Type  A box type solar oven works by trapping the heat to cook the food like a greenhouse. Materials 

  • 2 large cardboard box 
  • Tin foil
  • Sheet of glass
  • Glue
  • Styrofoam
  • Black paper
  • Black cookware


  1. Cut a piece of styrofoam large enough to fill the bottom of the box.
  2. Glue the black paper to the styrofoam.
  3. Glue the styrofoam to the bottom of the inside of the box, black side facing up.
  4. Cut styrofoam pieces to fill each side of the box.
  5. Wrap each piece in tin foil and glue to secure the foil in place.
  6. Glue each piece to the side of the box to form a reflective interior wall.
  7. Cut the flaps off the box, leaving one side about 2 inches long.
  8. Cut three sides of the other cardboard box and glue tin foil to them. This is act as your reflector.
  9. Attach it to the remaining flap.
  10. Find a piece of glass large enough to cover the box, this will trap the heat.
  11. Black cookware will trap the heat more efficiently.

Parabolic Type  Do you remember frying ants with a magnifying glass as a child? The parabolic type works in the same manner, it focuses the sunlight to a specific point to cook the food. Materials

  • Cardboard
  • Push pins
  • Broom handle
  • Poster board
  • Tin foil
  • String
  • Utility knife
  • CD
  • Metal pole with stand


  1. Draw a parabolic curve. Use the broom handle as a guide. Place a pushpin where the focal point should be. Then slide the string along the handle to draw the curve.
  2. Cut 32 fins so they form a curving circle shape.
  3. Attach the fins to the CD, this will act as the central hub.
  4. Fill in the gaps between each fin with cardboard.
  5. Cut and glue the poster board to fill the inside of the curve.
  6. Cover the curve with tin foil.
  7. Find the focal point and place the cookware there.
  8. Use a metal pole to keep the cookware in the focal point.

6 years ago