How to Make a Solar Still

Make your own distilled water and other liquids using these DIY solar still plans.



DIY Solar Projects
“DIY Solar Projects” by Eric Smith provides plans for a standalone solar water heater, wood kiln, battery charging station and other convenient sun-powered house projects.
Cover Courtesy Creative Publishing International
Solar Still
Turn undrinkable water into pure, crystal-clear distilled water with a home-built solar still.
Photo Courtesy Creative Publishing International
Cut the Insulation
2. Cut the insulation the same size as the plywood base, then screw both to the 2 x 4 supports with 2 1/2-inch screws. 
Photo Courtesy Creative Publishing International
Mark and Cut
1. Mark and cut the plywood pieces according to the cutting list on the solar still plan. Cut the angled end pieces with a circular saw or tablesaw set to a 9 degree angle.  
Photo Courtesy Creative Publishing International
Screw the First Layer
3. Screw the first layer of front and side pieces to the base and to each other, then add the back piece. Predrill the screws with a countersink bit. 
Photo Courtesy Creative Publishing International
Paint the Inside of the Box
6. Paint the inside of the box with black high-temperature paint. Cover the back and the door with reflective foil glued with contact cement. Let the paint dry for several days so that all the solvents evaporate off.
Cover Courtesy Creative Publishing International
Glue and Screw
4. Glue and screw the remaining front and side pieces on, using clamps to hold them together as you predrill and screw. Use 1 1/4-inch screws to laminate the pieces together and 2-inch screws to join the corners. 
Photo Courtesy Creative Publishing International
Glue and Screw Again
5. Glue and screw the hinged door pieces together, aligning the bottom and side edges, then set the door in position and screw on the hinges. Add a pull or knob at the center.
Photo Courtesy Creative Publishing International
Apply Weatherseal Around
7. Apply weatherseal around the edges of the hinged door to make the door airtight.
Cover Courtesy Creative Publishing International
Drill a Hole
8. Drill a hole for the PEX drain. The top of the PEX is 1/2-inch down from the top edge. Clamp a scrap piece to the inside so the drill bit doesn’t splinter the wood when it goes through.
Cover Courtesy Creative Publishing International
Mark the First 19 Inches
9. Mark the first 19 inches of PEX, then cut it in half with a utility knife. Score it lightly at first to establish the cut lines.
Cover Courtesy Creative Publishing International
Wipe a Thick Bead of Silicone Caulk
11. Wipe a thick bead of silicone caulk along the top edge of the PEX to seal it against the plywood.
Cover Courtesy Creative Publishing International
Shim the Box Level
12. Shim the box level and tack a temporary stop to the top edge to make it easy to place the glass without smearing the caulk. Spread a generous bead of caulk on all the edges, then lay the glass in place. Tape it down around the edges with painter’s tape, then let it set up overnight.
Cover Courtesy Creative Publishing International
Drill Thre 1/8 Inch Holes
10. Drill three 1/8-inch holes in the side of the PEX for screws, then insert the PEX through the hole. Butt it tight against the other side, then screw it in place, sloping it about 1/4 inches.
Cover Courtesy Creative Publishing International











Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.