How To Make Your Own Draft Stoppers

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Do-it-yourself draft stoppers are easy to make out of unused scraps of fabric, old sheets or towels, or even old clothing. Great for energy conservation and for keeping winter drafts out of toasty rooms, homemade draft stoppers also make welcome holiday gifts. Get started now and by December you can have a custom-made draft stopper for everyone on your list that will remind them of you (and keep them warm) all winter long. You’ll also want several to use in your own home.

Drafts stoppers come in two basic varieties: The long, snakelike stuffed tube draft stopper that you place at the bottom of a door (where air is most likely to seep into a room), and the double foam tube draft stopper with a flat bit of fabric between the tubes for the door to nestle into.

Both types are effective and easy to make. The second type does require the purchase of two 36 inches lengths of tubular foam from a craft shop (not pricey but requires a special shopping excursion). The tubular snake-type draft stopper can often be assembled from scraps on hand. Both are attractive and much, much cheaper to make than to purchase new.

To make a snake-type draft stopper, cut a length of fabric 36 inches long by five or six inches wide. You can use any fabric at hand: an old sheet, a beach towel, a long fabric scrap, or even and old wool scarf. Sew three sides of the draft stopper shut, and then turn the tube inside out. Fill the tube with rice, sand, beans, or cherry pits, and then hand stitch the open end closed. You can add button eyes and other decorations to make the draft stopper look like a creature if you so desire.

The stuffing material is important and requires some thought. Don’t use anything lightweight like foam or batting for this type of draft stopper. You need a filling heavy enough to keep the draft stopper in place. Beans and rice are cheap and handy but they swell and spoil if they get wet, and they can sometimes attract pests like mice and voles that chew through the fabric to get at the grain. Sand or gravel for stuffing might be well worth a special trip to a garden center. Both are available in 40-pound pages for less than $10.

To make the double tube draft stopper, purchase two 36-inch lengths of foam tubing from a craft shop. The tubes should be at least an inch or two inches in diameter, but don’t make them too large or they might not fit the space between the inside door and the screen. Take the diameter of the tubes times four, then measure the thickness of the door and add that measurement to the total width, plus an inch for the seams So if the tubes are an inch and a half in diameter, multiply that by 4 to get six inches. Add two inches for the door thickness and another inch for two half-inch seams to get 9 inches in total.

Cut a length of fabric 9 by 38 inches and fold the edges over to accommodate the tubes. Stitch each side, leaving an opening for the door. Insert the tubes and whip stitch the ends shut. You might want to mark the center seams using the tube as a guide to make sure you don’t sew the openings too small.

Once you make one of draft stopper, the others come together pretty quickly and easily and you can start having a bit of fun with them. Some people like to turn them into dachshunds, caterpillars, snakes, and other whimsical crawling things. Other people like to match them up with other easy to sew gifts like table napkins or lap blankets.

Use your imagination and have fun! Then wrap them up with a canister of hot cocoa mix or a jar or homemade preserves with a matching scrap of fabric covering the lid, and presto! You are ready for the holidays and winter weather too.

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