How to Make a Draft Dodger for Doors and Windows

Draft dodger or draft snake by door.
Making a draft dodger is an easy, fun, energy saving, DIY project for your home!

As the weather turns colder, drafts begin to creep inside under doors and windowsills. Those trickles (or downright drafts) of cold air can really ramp up your heating bills, not to mention freezing your tootsies all winter long!

A simple draft dodger or draft snake is an easy afternoon project that can help seal off the bottoms of doors and windows against drafts. Here are instructions for a simple sewn draft dodger, as well as a no-sew version. Both make great gifts and are perfect projects for involving kids!

Read on to find out how to make a draft dodger.

Fabric, scissors, tape measure, thread, filling for draft dodger.
Materials needed to make a draft dodger.

Materials Needed

To make a draft dodger, you will need:

  • Tape measure or ruler
  • Scissors
  • Fabric: Cotton prints work great, but you can also use knits, old blue jeans, or any scraps you have on hand. Just make sure the fabric is woven tightly enough that your filling won’t escape!
  • Sewing Machine and Needle/Thread: If you don’t have a sewing machine, you can do all the sewing by hand.
  • Filling: About 10-15 cups of loose filling. I like to use uncooked rice because it molds so easily; but you can also use dried peas or beans, buckwheat, unscented kitty litter, coarse sand, shredded rags or plastic bags, or Styrofoam pellets.

Optional items include:

  • Funnel: A funnel will make the project much easier, especially if kids are helping. You can use a regular one, or improvise by cutting the bottom out of a disposable cup or plastic bottle.
  • Framing Square: A straight edge or square corner will help you cut a nice straight rectangle.
  • Newspaper Bags: If you’re worried about your draft dodger getting wet, you can place the filling inside plastic newspaper bags (the tube-shaped ones), which you then stuff inside the fabric.
  • Decorations: You don’t have to decorate your draft dodger, but here’s a chance to be creative! You can turn your draft dodger into a snake, a dog, or an abstract masterpiece by hot-gluing eyes, ears, buttons, twigs, or other decorations to the finished project.

Using tape measure to measure door opening

Step 1: Determine Fabric Length

Measure the width of your door or window, then add 4” to find the total length of the fabric. For example, since my door was 35” wide, the fabric needed to be 39” long.

Measure fabric width

Step 2: Determine Fabric Width

Use the table below to find the width to cut the fabric for the diameter you want your draft dodger to be. Widths include the ½” wide seams on each side of the fabric.

Fabric Width:Tube Diameter:
10” wide fabric2⅞” diameter tube
11” wide fabric3⅛” diameter tube
12” wide fabric3½” diameter tube
13” wide fabric3⅞” diameter tube
14” wide fabric4⅛” diameter tube
15” wide fabric4½” diameter tube
16” wide fabric4¾” diameter tube

Measuring fabric with tape measure

Step 3: Measure Fabric

Lay the fabric out flat on a table, and mark a rectangle from the dimensions above using a pen, pencil, or straight pins. The width can vary from 10” to 16”, depending on how fat you want your draft dodger. I cut my fabric 11” wide for a 3⅛” diameter draft dodger.

Cut fabric on table

Step 4: Cut Fabric

Cut out the rectangle of fabric with scissors along your measurement lines.

Sewing fabric on sewing machine

Step 5: Fold and Sew Fabric

Fold the fabric rectangle in half lengthwise with the back side of the fabric facing out. Sew across one end and down the long side of the fabric about ½” in from the edge. Leave the other end open, so you have an inside-out tube.

Holding fabric tube after turning right side out

Step 6: Turn Right Side Out

Turn the tube right side out. If you’d like, you can iron the seam so it will lay flat, but be careful not to put creases in the fabric.

Filling fabric tube with rice

Step 7: Fill Fabric Tube

Carefully pour your filling into the tube, I made a funnel by cutting out the bottom of a paper cup, and mine took about 7 pounds of rice. If you fill the tube to about 8” from the end, you’ll leave enough fabric to sew the end shut without spilling, and the filling will spread out and be nice and pliable when you’re done. It doesn’t have to be stuffed full; a little softness will help the draft dodger mold into the cracks.

Hand sewing fabric tube shut

Step 8: Sew Fabric Tube Closed

Fold the edges together so that the cut ends are tucked inside, and sew the end of the draft dodger closed. Decorate if you wish, and your draft dodger is finished!

Draft dodger on floor in front of door.

Step 9: Install Draft Dodger

Place your draft dodger tightly against the bottom of a drafty door or against a windowsill to keep old man winter at bay!

No-Sew Draft Dodger

Has anybody else looked at these instructions and thought, “Wait a minute, why can’t I just use something that’s already tube-shaped, and save all that sewing?” Well, you can! You can make a no-sew draft dodger using:

  • An old pair of tights or leggings
  • Knee socks
  • Tightly-knit sweater or shirt arms

Simply cut the leg or arm off the garment, stuff with filling, and tie the ends closed with a knot (or sew shut), and you’ve got the easiest draft dodger ever made. Some of the cutest ones I’ve seen have been made from crazy striped tights, another perfect holiday gift for the kids to make!

Further Information

If you’ve been bitten by the draft dodger bug, there are all sorts of ways to be creative. Check out these patterns and ideas: