Door draft blockers are called by many different names. Door draft blocker, door draft stopper, door draft dodger, door draft stop and even a “bean snake”. Simply put, a door draft dodger, stopper or blocker is a long tube of fabric that is sewn and stuffed with various materials and used to keep the cold and windy outside air from coming into your house or apartment through drafty windows, doors and fireplaces.
Using door draft stoppers under doors, along drafty window sills, to cover any cracks where cold air leaks in or around fireplaces helps keep warm air in and cold air outside where it belongs, and helps consumers save money on heating bills and energy during cold and blustery winter months. During hot summer months, cool air conditioned air can leak out through the same cracks around doors, patios and windows, substantially increasing your electric air-conditioning bills.
Stop Door Drafts! Every home has at least one leaky door, window or window sills, patio sliding door, basement doors or windows, fireplace or attic doors that should be checked for air leaks. To check for any air leaks or cracks, feel around every door, door frames, windows and other areas of your home with your bare hand or cheek and see if you feel any amount of air leakage or draft.
You can buy snake-shaped door draft dodgers to guard and protect against air leaks that actually look like a snake with a whimsical designed red felt tongue and button snake eyes, or various animals like dogs and cats. Grandpa and I love the Hallmark Maxine door draft dodger we found on eBay, which could be used to block door drafts or as a decorative fireplace mantel shelf sitter.
How to Make Door Draft Stoppers
Making door draft stoppers is an ideal, inexpensive craft project for sewing beginners and a great kids craft project for older kids, sewn on a sewing machine (with help from mom or Grandma), crocheted or knitted. Beginner sewing books and simple door draft patterns with easy to follow instructions are cheap, with suggestions on fabrics to use and a list of things needed to make whatever style door or window draft stopper you might want to make.
Free, printable, downloadable sewing patterns can be found online to make fabric snake door draft stoppers, patchwork door draft blockers and very cute character themed drafty door blockers that look like a dog (dachshund, sheepdog, husky, lab, etc), cool cats, cow, leopard, dragon, hippo, camouflage, giraffe, bunny rabbit, Santa Claus, snowman, Wizard of Oz wicked witch of the west ruby slippers and legs draft stopper, dolls, a Star Wars space slug, brown wood fireplace log, a tree branch with green leaves, gnome and mushroom, and many other ingenious ideas for craft hobbyists.
If you want to make your own fabric stuffed draft snake with your sewing machine, you will need enough fabric to cover the area where your draft dodger will be placed. Fabric needed for making draft stoppers can be heavy duty fabrics like corduroy, denim (old jeans), upholstery or quilt fabric. You can also use 100% cotton, flannel, heavy stretch knits or polar fleece, polyester blends, super soft micro-suede fabric, dad’s old neckties, etc. If you have any leftover fabric pieces from previous sewing/craft projects, these would work nicely for making patchwork draft stoppers.
Besides your sewing machine (unless sewing seams by hand -ugh!), you will need measuring tape, matching or coordinating thread, good quality fabric cutting shears, your sewing pattern/template (if needed), straight/stick pins, funnel and stuffing materials. Optional materials needed for DIY draft stoppers, depending on what kind of draft stopper you plan to make, might include a variety of decorative accessories such as buttons for eyes, felt material for snake tongue, etc.
What to stuff your door draft dodger with? There are many ideas for stuffing materials that range from eco-friendly recycled products you may already have in your home like old socks, cloth scraps, old sheets, pillowcases, cut up sweatshirts or t-shirts, cotton gloves and towels etc will all make great stuffing for recycled door draft stoppers.
Stuffing ideas may also be sawdust, sandbox sand, dried beans, peas, shredded up newspaper, un-popped popcorn, aquarium gravel, cat litter or “yesterday’s news cat litter” made from recycled newspaper, pieces of quilt cotton batting, fiberfill pillow stuffing, polypropylene pellets used in beanie babies which are washable and nontoxic. Uncooked rice and feed corn is sometimes suggested for filling draft dodger snakes but is not recommended for homes with pet dogs or cats, and anyone experiencing trouble with mice should definitely not use corn or other grains as an organic filler for draft stoppers.
5 online resources where you can learn simple and easy ways of making adorable homemade drafter stoppers are:
- Door Draft Blocker Snake Craft that Kids Can Make at CraftJr.com
- Martha Stewart’s Draft Dodger Tutorial and Template at her website
- 20 Door Draft Snake Ideas for Do-It-Yourselfer’s at The Daily Green
- 15 Door Draft Stoppers, Dodgers, Snakes with FREE Patterns at TipNut (love this site!)
- FREE Download, Printable DIY Door Draft Snake in PDF at VonFrau
Detailed, step-by-step “how to” instructions, pictures and printable tutorials to make your own door draft stoppers includes my personal favorite which is the “hot dog draft stop” snake I found on the craft stylish website, that I am in process of making into a Lab draft stopper.
Crafter’s and hobbyists can turn their homemade sewn, knitted or crocheted door draft stoppers into wonderful wintertime Christmas gifts, donate the draft stoppers to homeless shelters, senior citizens, low-income families in need, church groups, or even sell them online at Etsy.com or at craft sales or garage sales. Fun, easy to make, and best of all…appreciated.