Making your own solar phone charger at home using basic household materials is an easy and fun DIY project that can come in handy in a pinch. With just a few affordable components, you can build a small solar panel to harness the sun's energy and use it to recharge your phone or other small devices when you don't have access to an electrical outlet.

What You'll Need

To make your own solar phone charger, you'll need to gather these common household items:

How to Assemble the Solar Charger

Step 1 - Design the Panel Layout

First, use a ruler and pencil to draw out a rectangular template on the cardboard, with space to mount your 6 solar cells in two rows of 3 cells each. Space the outlines evenly with about 1" between each cell. The cells will be connected in series, so make sure to stagger the rows.

Step 2 - Prepare the Solar Cells

Trim the solar cells to fit the outlines you drew. Then, use hot glue on the back of each cell to firmly attach them to the cardboard backing in the configuration you designed. **Press them down firmly until the glue sets.

Step 3 - Connect the Solar Cells

Use the copper tape to electrically connect the solar cells in series. Lay strips of tape from the negative side of one cell to the positive side of the next cell. Connect all 6 cells in one continuous circuit.

Step 4 - Attach the Output Cables

Finally, use more hot glue to attach your positive and negative alligator clip cables to the end solar cells, keeping polarity in mind. The red wire should connect to the positive side, while the black wire connects to the negative side.

Using Your Solar Charger

To use your DIY solar phone charger, clip the alligator cables to your device's charging port. For an iPhone, red connects to the positive pin and black to the negative pin.

Then, place the panel in direct sunlight, ideally pointing it directly at the sun. Adjust the panel angle as needed to maximize light exposure. Your phone should begin charging!

The small solar cells likely won't charge your phone as fast as a wall outlet, but they can supply enough trickle charge to boost your battery in a pinch. And that's the beauty of DIY - you made it yourself with common household items!

With a larger solar array and more powerful cells, you could expand this design to charge larger devices like tablets. Have fun and get creative adapting this simple solar phone charger.