Solar ovens have become very popular off late thanks to the need of conserving fuel and the environment. Solar ovens can be used to cook food using solar energy: this way the abundant energy of the sun is tapped and no harm is done to the environment. A pizza box solar oven is an amazing project for the kids to understand the scientific aspect of solar energy and also to understand the need of environmental conservation. A solar cooker is capable of cooking almost all types of foods and can reach to a temperature of 250 degree F. This oven requires twice the time consumed by a conventional oven but the fact that it uses solar energy to cook food is quite an incentive for people to use them. Read on to learn how you can prepare a solar oven using a pizza box.
Complexity level: Moderate
Time required: 1 hour
Estimated cost: $10
- Pizza box
- Aluminum pan
- X-acto knife
- Tape measure
- Packing tape
- Black paper
- Wooden dowel
- Clear plastic sheeting
1. Get a pizza box
In order to prepare a solar oven using a pizza box you will obviously need a pizza box. Any normal sized cardboard pizza box can be used for making the solar oven. Open the pizza box and clean it for any bread crumbs or pizza leftovers. Remove the cardboard liner from the bottom of the box. Make sure the box is completely clean and is secure, not torn apart.
2. Cut the border
Keep the pizza box closed and mark a 1 inch border on the top. You will have to make border on all the four sides to create an inset square. Using a X-acto knife you will have to cut three sides of this inset square. Leave the side which is attached to the hinge of the box, this will be used as the cover of the solar oven later on.
3. Line the foil
You will have to stick a square of aluminum foil on the inside of the flap that you have created by cutting the top. Turn the foil at the ends to hold it firmly with the flap. Ensure that the foil has been smoothly lined with the flap. Don’t forget to line up the box from within completely with the foil. The foil is basically used for keeping the box warm.
4. Tape black paper
Black paper is used above the foil inside the box. The use of black paper is done essentially to keep the heat inside the box so that the food gets cooked properly and quickly. The fact that black absorbs heat is known to all.
5. Attach plastic sheet
Take clear plastic sheeting and cut it in square shape which measures the same as the pizza box. Keep the box closed with the flap on top. Tape this plastic sheet on the inner part of the lid of the box. Ensure that you put the sheet very tightly. Seal the edges with tape properly. This tight plastic layer will act as a window which will be revealed when you will fold the flap up and will also block air from entering the box.
6. Keep the lid up
Use a wooden dowel to keep the lid up. Ensure that your dowel does not damage the cardboard box but is strong enough to hold the weight of the flap for a long time. This flap basically will direct the sunlight into the oven when kept open. This reflection of sunlight will heat the oven and in turn allow the food to cook. You can also preheat the oven 45 minute prior to cooking. The food will take longer time to cook in a solar oven so do not worry and let the food cook with time.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. Is it important to use a new pizza box?
A. No it is not at all important for you to use a new pizza box, a clean old pizza box will work just as fine as a new one.
- Use a good quality plastic sheet so that it does not get torn off quickly.
- Use a medium or large sized pizza box, the small size box might be just too small to be functional.
Things to keep in mind:
- Make sure that the box is airtight.
- Check the temperature of perishable foods before you consume them.