Do you have a family of pizza fans? Put their passion to good use. If your crew has recently enjoyed a takeout pie, you can help them craft a super solar oven from the box. (Just make sure it’s clean first!) Haven’t ordered a pizza in the last few days? Many shop owners will be happy to donate a fresh box.
Your makeshift oven won't get hot enough to prepare Sunday dinner, but it can reach a temperature of 200 degrees F on a sunny day, when it's warmer than 60 degrees F. That's definitely warm enough for something like s’mores – just leave the sandwiches open so the marshmallows and chocolate are hit directly by sunlight. If it’s cooler out, try placing the box on a sunny windowsill. Keep in mind that an oven made from a pizza box will not cook food as fast as a more conventional model!
The directions for this oven (you can find many others online) is from the New Mexico Solar Energy Association.
1 large pizza box
Several feet aluminum foil
1 sheet black construction paper
2 ½ feet clear plastic wrap
4 feet masking tape
2 feet string
1. Glue aluminum foil to all inside surfaces of the box except the top, with the shiny surface facing in.
2. On the top of the box, draw a square, with edges spaced one inch from the four sides of the box. Cut along the lines on the side and front of the box, leaving the line along the box’s hinge uncut. Fold open the flap, making a crease on the fourth.
3. Glue aluminum foil to the inside of the flap, this time with shiny side visible. Make as few wrinkles as possible, and smooth any out that you can.
4. Tape the black construction paper to the bottom of the box to help absorb sunlight.
5. Stretch the plastic wrap over the opening of the box, sealing the edges with tape to keep air from getting in. Cover any air leaks around box edges with tape, making sure the box can still be opened do you can place food inside it. (You can also crumple sheets of newspaper and stuff them around the inside of the box, for added insulation.)
6. Place oven on a flat, level surface in direct sunlight outside. Place food on a piece of foil or paper plate, open box, and place inside.
7. With string and masking tape, tie back and adjust the reflector (the top flap). So that sunlight is reflected into the oven. Check reflector angle every now and then to confirm that sunlight is entering the oven.
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