Make a little solar cooker for children

Practical advise

For all your constructions, we advise you to take a look at our S-Reflect solar reflector, mirror film with performances equivalent to aluminium mirror or mirror glass.

“The solar dinette”, a solar cooker for children

What is the solar oven and how does it work?

1. What is the (mini) solar oven?

The sun is an inexhaustible source of energy. A solar oven will concentrate the sun’s rays and then transform them into an energy source. Your mini solar oven has the same operating process.

We describe the different steps to follow in order to make your own mini solar dinette adapted for children with cardboard. The advantage is that it does not take up much space and is therefore easily transportable (family weekend, trips…).

2. How does it work?

Your solar dinette will use the principle of concentrating the sun’s rays while keeping them inside the oven (insulation and double transparent film). It will work thanks to the 3C rule:

Concentration: the mirrors receive the sun’s rays and reflect them back into the oven. They act as reflectors.

Storage: To keep the heat inside the oven, the walls must be insulated to prevent hot air from escaping.

Capture: In order for the food to receive maximum heat, a dark coloured paper must be integrated inside the object, as it absorbs the sun’s rays better without reflecting them back, unlike light colours (especially white).

After building the dinette with the 3C rule (concentration-captation-conservation), you can make many creative recipes.

3. What do i need?

To build a small solar dinette made of cardboard, you really don’t need much! Don’t be fooled by appearances: this small lightweight object is not expensive and is cooked at sea – standby.

For your solar dinette, you will need:

– simple cardboard box
– a cutter
– Your S-ReflecT® reflective mirror
– cooking bag (plastic paper used in the kitchen to preserve heat)
– fine black cardboard
– adhesive tape

Tip: We recommend that you use a rectangular cardboard box like the one we used for the following demonstration.

4. Construction steps


Take your box, cut out the solid lines and fold the dotted lines

– Create the window and reflector
– Create the rear door


– Cut the transparent cooking bag into 2 squares larger than the window

– Glue the two squares on the perimeter of the window with the adhesive tape (inside and outside part)

– Glue the solar mirror on the reflector of the box


– Roll up newspaper and place it on 3 sides inside the oven. Be sure to fill it in correctly!

– Cut the black sheet and form a tray closed on 3 sides. (See map below)

– Place the black bin at the bottom of your solar dinette and attach it with the adhesive tape at the door.

– Tape the 3 outer sides to insulate it.


– Attach the rod to hold the reflector

– Glue the oven handle to the middle of the door

– Now decorate your solar dinette as you wish with stickers and drawings


Your SunLab solar dinette will reach a temperature of up to 70-80°C and cook the ingredients almost as quickly as the industrial SunLab version. It will be able to allow the youngest to prepare:

– melted chocolate

– melted marshmallows

– processed cheese

It will also make it possible to:

– reheat already cooked dishes, such as a slice of pizza for example

– or cook, dry vegetables or fruit cut into thin slices (banana, apricot, tomatoes, etc.)

5. How do I use my solar dinette?

1. Place your dinette in front of the sun, 10 minutes before to preheat it, making sure that the shade aligns behind the oven.

2. Then orient the mirrors to make the rays pass through the window. To support the mirror, you can cut small holes on the sides and insert a stick into it.

3. Use ramekins or small plates, preferably dark in colour and such as a cake tin, to place your ingredients.

4. Finally, close the oven tightly. It must be realigned every 5-15 minutes, depending on the intensity of the sun, in order to make it work perfectly.