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.
To make a draft dodger, you will need:
- 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:
- 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.
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.
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 fabric||2⅞” diameter tube|
|11” wide fabric||3⅛” diameter tube|
|12” wide fabric||3½” diameter tube|
|13” wide fabric||3⅞” diameter tube|
|14” wide fabric||4⅛” diameter tube|
|15” wide fabric||4½” diameter tube|
|16” wide fabric||4¾” diameter tube|
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.
Step 4: Cut Fabric
Cut out the rectangle of fabric with scissors along your measurement lines.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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:
- 16 Door Draft Stoppers, Dodgers, & Snakes: Free Patterns (tipnut.com)
- McCall’s Patterns: Toy Animal Draft Dodgers (lanetzliving.net)
- Draft Dodger Crochet Pattern (redheart.com)