If you’re looking for an educational and eco-friendly DIY project to do with your kids this summer, check out this Pizza Box Solar Oven project (it really works!):

Pizza Box Solar Oven

Materials:

  • Large cardboard pizza box (most local pizzerias will give you one for free)
  • Ruler
  • Marker
  • Aluminum foil
  • X-ACTO knife or similar cutting tool that can cut through cardboard
  • Electrical tape
  • Black construction paper
  • Non-toxic glue (i.e. Elmer’s  Washable School Glue)
  • Thin stick about 10” tall (disposable, wooden chopsticks or a paint stir stick could work well)
  • Clear plastic laminate/cling film (i.e. Saran Classic Wrap)

Instructions:

  1. Using the diagram above for reference, draw a square on the top center of a cardboard pizza box leaving a 1.5 inch border on all sides. Use an X-CATO knife to cut the three sides of the square.
  2. Leave the fourth side near the spine of the box intact (indicated by a solid red line above). After you’ve cut the three sides of the square, gently fold back the “flap”  and form a crease.
  3. Cut a piece of aluminum foil big enough to line the bottom of the cardboard “flap.” Line the bottom side of the flap. Make sure to smooth out all the wrinkles and then use non-toxic glue to affix the foil.
  4. On the inside of your pizza box, line the bottom with a piece of aluminum foil. Then cover this piece of aluminum foil with black construction paper (reference Diagram No. 2).
  5. Prop the “flap” open using a stick or wooden chopsticks.
  6. Cut a piece of clear cling/plastic wrap that’s bigger than the window in the pizza box made by the “flap.” Tape the plastic to the underside of the pizza box using electrical tape. Make sure that you have created a good seal with the plastic to prevent heat from escaping.
  7. To cook using your pizza box solar oven, place your food in a small foil tray on top of the black construction paper. Place the solar oven outside in a spot where it gets direct sunlight. Try these recipes:

Pizza Box Solar Oven Recipes

Solar S’mores

Ingredients:

  • Graham crackers
  • Marshmallows
  • Chocolate

Instructions:

  • Break the graham cracker in half and put it in small foil tray or on a small piece of aluminum foil.
  • Put a small piece of chocolate and 1 large marshmallow (or 3-4 small marshmallows) on the graham cracker. Put the other half of the graham cracker on top.
  • Put your tray or piece of aluminum foil containing your s’mores in your solar oven. Place your solar oven in direct sunlight outside.
  • Check your s’mores every 10 minutes. If the sun shifts, you will need to move your solar oven to a sunnier spot.
  • When the chocolate melts, your s’mores are ready.
  • Use an oven mitt to carefully removes your s’mores from the solar oven. Let your s’mores cool before eating. Enjoy!

Solar Mini-Pizzas

Ingredients:

  • English muffins
  • Marinara/pizza sauce
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Pizza toppings (optional)

Instructions:

  • Put half an English muffin in a small foil tray or on a small piece of aluminum foil.
  • Top the muffin half with pizza sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese and additional toppings.
  • Check your pizzas every 10 minutes. If the sun shifts, you will need to move your solar oven.
  • When the cheese melts, your mini-pizzas are ready. This could take anywhere from 10 minutes to 2 hours depending on how sunny it is outside.
  • Use an oven mitt to carefully removes your mini-pizzas from the solar oven. Let your mini-pizzas cool before eating. Enjoy!

 

Leave a Reply

4 thoughts on “Summer DIY: Make a Solar Oven Using a Pizza Box”

  1. Ishani says:

    How exactly should I put it in? Aren’t all the slits closed?

  2. Anonymous says:

    haha, what a fun idea. My boys will love this one! :) 

  3. Anonymous says:

    Cool idea.  I am going share this idea with a friend of mine who has two daughters in elementary school.

    While I have never tried this, I recently heard a radio commercial (voice over done by Matthew McConaughey- actor from TX) for a utility company in which very general instructions were given for Dashboard Cookies.  As I recall the instructions were: park your car in the sun, put a tray of cookies sliced from a roll of refrigerated cookie dough on the dashboard in full sun.  Make sure windows are rolled up.  In about 3 hours the cookies should be done.  At the least your call will smell great.  Sounds unusual to say the least. 

    Again, thanks for this very interesting idea.

    • Anonymous says:

       ThinkGeek did the same thing and posted their results on Facebook. It took them 5 hours at 157 degrees to cook though!