DIY Dehydrator

How to make your very own dehydrator, using what you have lying around your house.

You will need:
Lamp + lightbulb
Sharp cutting tool
(A ruler if you’re feeling fancy)

Step 1)
Choose the box to use for your dehydrator.

Step 2)
Cut shelves out of another box (or other cardboard). They should be longer than the box, but not as wide.

Step 3)
Cut slits along the side, just wide enough for the shelves to slide through, and a hole in the bottom for light.

Step 4)
Tape the lamp firmly in place in the bottom of the box. Insert trays into the slits.

Step 5)
Cut a small space out the back of a shoe box for the lamp’s cord, then sit around the lamp and tape in place.

Step 6)
Poke a few holes in the top of the dehydrator box, to allow water moisture to escape.

Step 7)
Tape up any areas around the edges of the box, and on the sides of the shelves where heat could escape from. I also added a bit of tape to one of the doors, so that they overlapped when shut.

Step 8)
Poke holes, and then some twistie-ties through the ‘doors’. This will allow you to fasten it shut.

Step 9)
Fill with delicious things and dehydrate.

I use a 75W bulb, but you may find a higher (or lower) wattage suits your box better. It will depend on the size.  But remember, energy saving light bulbs will NOT work. This relies on the ‘wasted’ heat of an incandescent bulb. But seeing as we want the heat, it’s not wasted in this instance.

Test your dehydrator with a thermometer before use. If it is too warm, it will cook your food, so use a lower wattage bulb. If the temperature is too low, your food will take too long to dehydrate, so use a higher wattage bulb.

Also be aware of the ‘base’. I was lucky in that a shoe box was the same height as my lamp. Your base should act such that the lamp isn’t supporting the body, nor is the body supporting the lamp.

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  1. Esther Chan

     /  January 19, 2012

    So how does the DIY dehydrator work? Do you just switch on the lamp and leave it on while you wait for your food to dry?

  2. Anonymous

     /  January 19, 2012

    Is this safe to leave on when you are not at home?

    • We leave ours on.

      Cardboard will not catch fire until it reaches 400 degrees celsius (unless you hold a flame to it), and I doubt any bulb would actually get that hot. You should be more concerned about cooking your food, if anything (that only require 180 degrees).

      Ideally card would not rest against the bulb.

  3. Esther

     /  January 19, 2012

    So how long do you normally have to leave food to dehydrate inside the dehydrator? eg pineapple or fruit?

  4. Approximately 8 hours, depending on the temperature, the food, the thickness and the moisture level. Just check in from time to time and see.

  5. Esther

     /  January 21, 2012

    Okay great. Maybe I will try making a dehydrator.


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