How to Build a Solar Box Cooker

Harnessing the sun’s energy in a solar box cooker may be the solution for the poorer population of the world, especially where deforestation for fuel is wreaking havoc on their environment and economy. This method of cooking is also useful in the event of power failure. Here’s how to build a solar box cooker

*Materials Needed

Two cardboard boxes-one larger than the other

Cardboard for inside base.

Cardboard for lid

Aluminum foil

Glass or Plexiglas

Black paint

Rubber for hinges

Newspaper for insulation

Dowel for lid support

Popsicle sticks cut in one-inch pieces for lid angle adjustment



*Close the bottom flaps of both boxes and tape them well to prevent heat loss.

*Remove the top flaps from the smaller box and cover the inside and outside with aluminum foil.

*Close and tape the top flaps of the larger box. Center the smaller box on top and trace around it. Cut along the traced line and remove the cardboard, creating an opening that the small box will fit into.

*Cover the bottom of the large box with rolled up newspaper. Tape rolled-up newspaper to the four sides of the large box. Slide the smaller box into the cut-out hole of the larger box. If your inside box is taller than your outside box, cut it to be level with the outside box. Tape around the opening.

*Cut a piece of cardboard one quarter-inch smaller than the inside box. Cover it with aluminum foil and paint it black with non-toxic paint. Place it in the bottom of the solar box cooker. This is the surface your pots will sit on.

*Using two pieces of flexible rubber, attach the cardboard lid to the back of the outside box with contact glue. Cover the side of the lid facing the inside with aluminum foil.

*Glue the Popsicle sticks cut in one-inch pieces at one-inch intervals along the side edges of the lid. Also, glue them on the top edge of the box sides at one-inch intervals. Using the dowel and the spaces you have created with the Popsicle stick pieces, you will be able to adjust the lid to catch the most sun. Just be sure you glue them near the edge and leave room for the piece of glass to rest on the stovetop.

After you build your solar box cooker, place it in the sun, out of the wind, and give it a try. As the sun moves, turn your cooker to face it and adjust the reflector lid for optimized heat accumulation. On a really hot day, you can boil a small pot of water in about thirty minutes to an hour. Have fun with it and save a little energy while you’re at it.