How can I make a solar oven reusing and recycling things?

Aside from the rain we had pretty much all day yesterday, it’s been a lovely start to spring – I’ve had the washing out on the line on a good number of occasions now, we’ve had a few breakfasts on the sunny balcony with the animals and the cats have been enjoying the novelty of sitting both in sunshine and in the house – something that’s never happened to them before – and they’ve been getting toasty warm … which made me think “what else can I make toasty warm in the sunshine?” (Plus, we got our gas bill through yesterday for the cold winter – even relying on just the woodburning stove in the evenings and wearing lots of layers, it’s still kerching!kerching!

Trying out a solar oven has been on my to-do list for a while – but they’re expensive and hard to get in the UK so it makes sense to make my own instead.

There are how-tos for making them out of cardboard boxes and aluminium foil and better how-tos to make them more efficient – but I wondered if anyone had any suggestions of things to reuse or recycle for the materials involved in such a venture.

And does anyone have any ideas of ways to make things a little more permanent/weatherproof? With our propensity for April showers on otherwise glorious summer days, cardboard outside in the UK sounds like a recipe for disaster, not a nice slow-cooked meal.

Anyone make their own? Anything that’s a must-do? Anything to avoid?

(Photo by margilevin)

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6 Responses to “How can I make a solar oven reusing and recycling things?”


  1. Bobbie says:

    I have one I made, no big improvements over the cardboard box except I made my box out of poster board which had a lining of foam to better insulate it and lined inside with used foil. The biggest problem I see with my solar oven is the constant need to track it to sun. Seems I’m outside every few minutes turning the box. It works good, though. Gets plenty hot for cooking most anything; beans, roast etc.

    As to recycled materials: the foam insulated board from building sites would be perfect if you can find some scraps. An old piece of glass for the lid and used foil inside. Need a black pot for the inside to focus the heat. I had a black porcelain one already so used it.

  2. Cipollina says:

    There are lots and lots DIY turorials online!

  3. Alice says:

    There are loads of restaurants and takeaways on my street, and when I was making rocket stoves I found that almost all of them use huge tins of cooking oil. We got three from every place we asked at!

    They’re cylindrical, which is great for rocket stoves but for a solar oven you’d probably want to cut the tops and bottoms off (you need tin snips ‘cos domestic tin openers won’t cope with the deep seams around the edges of these big containers).

    Then cut along the side seam and that should give you big rectangular sheets of shiny metal, which you can cut to the sizes and shapes you need and fix together with pop rivets.

    BTW although this would make quite a sturdy solar oven, it would still rust so would need to be covered or kept indoors to make it last.

  4. Tomtutle says:

    Get some broken mirrors and arrange them so they shine on the same area. When they all converge on one spot, it will get hot!
    A friend tried this and almost started the house across the street on fire!

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