Science project

How to Make a Solar Oven


Build and use a simple solar oven.


  • Cardboard pizza box
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Box cutter or scissors
  • Aluminum foil
  • Clear type of tape
  • Black construction paper
  • Plastic wrap or large, transparent plastic bag
  • Newspapers
  • Oven mitt
  • Dish or pie plate
  • Cooking Ingredients, like those for some mores  or nachos (don’t use your oven to prepare raw meat)
  • Optional: a thermometer that goes up to 250 degrees F.  


  1. Clean any stray bits of cheese, sauce or crumbs out of your pizza box.
  2. Using the ruler and pencil, draw a square one inch in from the edges of the top of the box .
  3. Use the box cutter or knife to cut out three of the four sides of the square.
  4. Make a crease along the uncut side of the square to create a flap that stands up.
  5. Cut a piece of aluminum foil large enough to cover the inner side of the cardboard flap.
  6. Wrap the foil tightly, and secure with tape.  What purpose does the foil serve?
  7. Line the bottom of the pizza box with black construction paper.  What purpose does the black paper serve?  Would white paper work as well? Why or why not?
  8. Cut two pieces of plastic wrap that are the same size as the top of the pizza box.
  9. Use tape to secure the plastic wrap to the inside edges of the square window you cut into the box. You are creating an airtight window.  Why do you want to make your oven airtight?
  10. Roll up some newspaper pages into tubes to stuff into the sides of the box.  Make sure you are still able to close the lid of the pizza box.  Remember—what purpose does the newspaper serve?
  11. Now it is time to cook something! The best time to use your oven is between 11 AM and 2 PM. Make sure to set the food on a dish so you don’t mess up the interior of your oven.
  12. One food option is a solar s’more. Place one or two marshmallows on top of a graham cracker.  Put two to three squares of chocolate on top of the marshmallow.  Wait until it’s done cooking to top it with the second graham cracker.  Any idea why it might be smart to have the chocolate on top?
  13. You could also make nachos by placing grated cheese on top of tortilla chips, or use the oven to heat up leftovers or soup.  


On a sunny, warm day, your oven could reach about 200 degrees F.  You will notice that food takes longer to cook in a solar oven than a regular one.


Let’s recap: You covered the flap with foil so that the foil would reflect sunlight into the oven. The black paper on the bottom of your oven absorbed the sun’s energy (white paper would have reflected a lot of that energy). You made your oven airtight so that the warm air inside your oven would not leave the pizza box via convection. You put the newspaper inside your oven to insulate it and prevent heat loss through radiation. It is best to use your oven between 11 AM - 2 PM because that is when the sun’s rays are strongest. If you are making a s’more, it is good idea to have the chocolate on top because its dark color will absorb heat better than the lighter graham crackers. Food takes longer to cook in a solar oven because solar ovens don’t get as hot as conventional ovens. That’s okay for many dishes, and using an educational oven like the one you made yourself adds an extra special taste.

Going Further

Try making chocolate fondue or baked potatoes!  Find out how solar ovens are being distributed in areas where there is little fuel but lots of sun.

Disclaimer and Safety Precautions provides the Science Fair Project Ideas for informational purposes only. does not make any guarantee or representation regarding the Science Fair Project Ideas and is not responsible or liable for any loss or damage, directly or indirectly, caused by your use of such information. By accessing the Science Fair Project Ideas, you waive and renounce any claims against that arise thereof. In addition, your access to's website and Science Fair Project Ideas is covered by's Privacy Policy and site Terms of Use, which include limitations on's liability.

Warning is hereby given that not all Project Ideas are appropriate for all individuals or in all circumstances. Implementation of any Science Project Idea should be undertaken only in appropriate settings and with appropriate parental or other supervision. Reading and following the safety precautions of all materials used in a project is the sole responsibility of each individual. For further information, consult your state's handbook of Science Safety.

Add to collection

Create new collection

Create new collection

New Collection


New Collection>

0 items