For you next afternoon DIY project, why not create a Hot-Box Solar Oven? This is one project that can really come in handy during a power outage or on a camping trip. This sun-fueled solar oven can bake your favorite dishes in no time and is a great way to conserve energy on those sunny days.

The great thing about this DIY solar oven is that most of the materials can be found lying around in the garage or home. If you’re like me and always keep scraps (… because you never know when you might need them), now’s your chance to justify to the little lady why you have been keeping that stuff for so long.

1) Parts you will need:

  •  ¾-inch and ½-inch plywood
  • 4d trim nails
  • a 6-foot length of 1½-inch-wide flat wood trim
  • 36 inches of ¼-inch-square molding
  • a half-sheet of ½-inch rigid foam insulation
  • a half-sheet of ½-inch drywall
  • two white ceramic knobs
  • eight 3-inch mending plates
  • construction adhesive
  • high-­temperature flat black spray paint
  • heavy-duty aluminum foil
  • No. 8 bolts, washers and nuts
  • a piece of ¼-inch plate glass cut to 13 x 14½ inches, with the edges sanded smooth

2) Building the Box:

Construct an open-top box using ¾-inch plywood for a 14 x 15½–inch bottom. Use ½-inch plywood to make four 7-inch-tall sides. With a vise and pliers, bend the mending plates to 135-degree angles.

Fasten two plates to each box side with 1-inch No. 8 bolts, washers, and nuts. Cut pieces of rigid foam insulation to line the box interior. Glue the foam to the plywood using construction adhesive.

Cut and glue drywall panels to fit on top of the foam. Paint the interior black.

3) Prepping the Top

Nail wood trim over the edges of the foam and drywall. Cut the molding into four 9-inch lengths. Center the glass pane over the opening.

Put the moldings around the glass perimeter. Nail them down to steady the pane. Glue the knobs to the glass.

4) Making the Reflectors

Cut rigid foam to four 12 x 24–inch panels. Wrap the foam in aluminum foil. Bolt the panels to the plates.

5) Using your newly built solar oven

Prep food in a black enamel­ pot with a lid. Set the pot in the box. Replace the glass. Prop up the oven at an angle so the sun and reflectors shine directly on it.

Use an oven thermometer to gauge heat.

Note: This oven does not bake as quickly as a regular one. Double note: Wear oven mitts to handle the ceramic knobs—they get hot!

As with any DIY guide, feel free to make your own alterations and experiment with your own designs. Always try to make use of the scraps you do have lying around and enjoy the rewards of building it yourself.

Please feel free to share your own designs or experience with building this great DIY solar oven project!