How to make a solar oven school project with a shoebox

Written by joan collins
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How to make a solar oven school project with a shoebox
Harness the power of the sun with a shoebox. (sun image by Andrey Kurehin from

According to Energy Administration website, solar energy is the earth's most available resource. Author Jon R. Luoma reports about experiments on solar energy being conducted from California to New Jersey with promising results. You can learn to harvest the sun before you are even out of school. Use the power of the sun to create a solar energy science fair project this year. Create a solar oven that will cook your food. With a shoebox and aluminium foil, you can harness the sun in your own backyard and have a useful project to enter in the science fair.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Shoebox with a lid
  • Black paper or black paint
  • Ruler
  • Knife or box cutter
  • Craft glue
  • Cling film
  • Aluminium foil
  • Dowel

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  1. 1

    Paint the entire surface of the shoebox with black paint or cut pieces of black construction paper to fit the shoebox sides and glue the paper firmly to the box. A black surface absorbs more sunlight and helps produce more heat in your solar oven than a lighter-coloured surface.

  2. 2

    Prepare the shoebox lid to be cut by placing the lid upside down on a hard surface like a cutting board with the long edges facing you. Use a ruler to draw a rectangle that runs one inch from all four edges of the box lid. Use a sharp knife or a box cutter to cut through both of the two short lines and through the bottom long line. Lightly score the top long line. Gently push the lid flap up to form an opening. Put craft glue along the rest of the lid's inside surface. Cover the opening with a smooth layer of cling film. This plastic-covered area will become the window for your solar oven.

  3. 3

    Cover the open flap of the shoebox lid with craft glue. Cover the entire flap with a smooth layer of aluminium foil. This will direct the sun into your solar oven.

  4. 4

    Line the inside of the shoebox with a layer of aluminium foil. Smooth out any wrinkles. Be certain that you have covered the entire inner shoebox.

  5. 5

    Test your school project. Place the solar oven in a sunny location. Put the thermometer in the shoebox. Set your thermometer inside the box and replace the lid. Prop open the foil-covered flap with the wooden dowel.

Tips and warnings

  • Heavy duty aluminium is easier to handle.
  • Eliminate bubbles and smooth out the aluminium foil as flat as possible.
  • Keep cling film taut while the glue is drying.
  • Use firm, thick cling film for better control.
  • Note that food will become hot. Remove with care.

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