How to Build a Tiny Solar Panel Charger for Your Phone Using Stuff You Have at Home


Building your own DIY solar phone charger is a fun project that can be done with common household materials. A tiny solar panel made from simple components like cardboard, copper tape, and a solar cell can generate enough power to slowly charge your phone. This allows you to charge your devices even when you don't have access to an electrical outlet. In this guide, I will walk you through step-by-step instructions for assembling a small solar panel from scratch using materials you likely already have on hand.

Benefits of a DIY Solar Phone Charger

Some key benefits of making your own tiny solar charger include:

Materials and Tools Needed

To build a basic solar phone charger, you will need:

Optional items:

Solar Panel Frame Construction

The first step is to build the frame that will house the solar cell and wiring. Follow these steps:

  1. Cut a piece of cardboard to your desired size. For a tiny panel, a 4-inch square is sufficient.

  2. On one side of the cardboard, use a ruler to measure and draw 2 parallel lines spaced 1-inch apart.

  3. Use the X-Acto knife to carefully cut along these lines to form a 1-inch wide channel. Make sure to cut all the way through the cardboard.

  4. On the side with the channel, trace lines to form a 1-inch border around the remaining 3 sides.

  5. Cut along these border lines with the X-Acto knife so you have a 3 x 3 inch solar panel frame with a center channel.

  6. Test fit your solar cell in the 1-inch channel. It should fit snugly so it won't slide around.

The cardboard frame is complete! Now we can move on to wiring up the solar cell.

Wiring the Solar Cell

With the cardboard frame ready, we can now add conductive copper tape and get our solar cell connected and generating power:

  1. Cut two 3-inch strips of copper tape. Stick them lengthwise in the 1-inch channel, one on each side of the solar cell.

  2. Cut two more 2-inch strips of copper tape. Place one overlapping both ends of the horizontal strips you just added. This connects them to each other.

  3. Do the same with the other 2-inch strip of copper tape on the opposite end.

  4. Trim the copper tape strips so no overhang remains.

  5. Test the connections by using a multimeter on the copper pads. You should get a voltage reading when exposing the solar cell to light.

  6. If needed, use hot glue or strong double-sided tape to firmly hold the solar cell and wires in place within the frame.

The solar cell is now wired up and ready to start charging!

Connecting Your Devices to the Solar Panel

To start gathering renewable energy from sunlight and charging your devices, you will need to safely connect them to your DIY solar panel:

Tips for Optimizing Your Solar Phone Charger

To get the most out of your homemade solar panel charger, here are some useful tips:


Building your own miniature solar panel charger for phones and other small devices is a fun, educational project that anyone can complete using common household materials. Just follow the step-by-step instructions to construct a simple frame, wire up your solar cell, and safely connect devices for charging on the go. With a bit of trial and error, you can create a custom solar charging solution optimized for your particular needs. So tap into the sun's endless energy and start powering your gadgets with renewable solar power that you generated yourself!