Wednesday, November 20, 2013

How To: DIY Door Snake (Draft Stopper)

We shared earlier this week some of the updates we made around the house to try and conserve energy over the winter. One of the quicker fixes we took on was whipping up a couple door snakes for the two doors in the house with the largest drafts. Door snakes are really just draft stoppers, placed as blockers in front of the bottom of the door where the draft seeps in and out. They get their name from their long, skinny shape — some are even made to look like snakes (how cute are these?).

You can find draft stoppers in most big box stores inexpensively. I decided to make a few of our own so we could customize the length for an exact fit to our doors and pick out the fabric. I'm definitely not a skilled seamstress by any means and like projects with minimal measuring and patterning, so today I'm sharing how I went about making 2 super basic door snakes for our home. There are much fancier ones out there, like these that slip under the door and block drafts from both sides, but we just needed something to get the job done this winter:


We measured the base of the doors we needed draft stoppers for, then picked up 2 yards of this heavy weight blue & white ticking upholstery fabric from our local fabric store and got to work:


I measured length to fit the doors, accounted for a 6 inch circumference then added 1 1/2 inches all the way around to allow for sewing seams and troubleshooting:


Then I folded the fabric in half, lengthwise, right sides together:


I straight-stitched down the long side, sewing the sides together (this could also be serged if you have a serger). The ticking stripes in the pattern made it easier to keep everything on a straight line:


I stitched across one end, diagonally, which was just personal preference for a tapered final look, then trimmed all the way around the stitching for a closer seam:


Turn the fabric right side out. I used the wooden yardstick to help push the fabric in on itself and get those smooth corners:


We've now got what's starting to look like a door snake!


I went ahead and made a decorative stitch along the diagonal edge of the short seam. This would also help match the closed end when sewing shut after filling the fabric:


Here comes the fun part — filling the snake with rice! We chose rice since it's heavy and acts as a natural insulator. Using a funnel helped cut down on accidents and rice all over the floor. We also way overestimated how much rice we'd need to fill the 2 door snakes. Here I am laughing at the giant 20 pound rice "baby" we brought home for this project:


It's a good thing we like to craft and cook — all the leftover rice surely won't go to waste in our household.

Before filling, I'd marked the spot on the fabric where we'd need to fill up to, allowing enough extra fabric for sewing closed. Once filled, I snipped off the excess fabric and began working to close off the end opening. To conceal the raw edges and try to match the look of the other side, I turned the ends under inside the opening before pinning and stitching closed:


Here's the process — open edged, turned in and pinned, then stitched closed:



After removing the pins and trimming up the raw threads, here's what the stuffed edges will look like:


That's all it takes to make your snake! Now say that 5 times fast :)

Here is the longer version at our front door:


Someone else is enjoying the cozier feel to our non-drafty doors now too:


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28 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing, your post was helpful to me! I also have limited seamstress skills, but think I can manage this one. Weekend project here I come :)

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    1. Great and we are sure you will create a beautiful door snake!

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    2. This is a great idea and for those afraid of rice attracting pests you can use kitty litter to fill your snake!

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    3. Another great idea for filling a snake for your door is filling it with cat litter. Then there is no worry about pests eating the rice.

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    4. In case anyone else didn't see the previous two posts regarding attracting pests using rice, you can totally use cat litter (kitty litter) for a filler......Just throwing this out there, in case some people can't read a single comment then immediately post the same exact thing. Wonderful idea. ;)

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    5. Wow this is awesome! I will try this as soon as possible.

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  2. Yummie for the mice, too!, what a great way to invite them in....

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  3. The step by step representation always helps us to follow. Like that, the step by step representation given in this page is helpful for me to create one for me.. Thanks for sharing these information to the readers, and keep sharing more about the same.

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  4. Awww...Li'l Rice Baby. Now you take care of that little angel from heaven! :0)

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  5. Would sand or tiny seashells work ok for filler?

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    1. Both would be great to use but out of the 2 sand probably the best. Thanks for asking!

      Best, Tim and Mary

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  6. how much sand would you need to fill it?

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  7. We're trying to come up with a cheap, "non-organic" filler for one of these. Any ideas? By "non-organic" I mean something that won't be affected by moisture, and is not edible to any sort of pests. There might be some plant fillers that fit that description, but no cheap ones that I'm aware of. Our best bets right now are bean bag/poly pellet filler, or pillow stuffing, but both seem too lightweight to do much good.

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  8. P.S. To my last filler question: We're not liking the idea of using sand because it varies so much in "fineness" and has a tendency to sift out the small particles and cause dust.

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    1. You could maybe make a plastic sort of "Insert", made similar to the fabric shell, that you would fill with the sand to ensure it wont leak particles or dust and then insert into the fabric casing.

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    2. I've heard some using buckwheat hull filling...

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  9. animal bedding material, shavings or sawdust maybe

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  10. Did anyone mention potential pests eating the rice?

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  11. To help reduce the many negative posts of the rice being a potential invite for pests and/or that it attracts moisture, use pea gravel. You can purchased this at your local hardware store or if you don't want to spend the $3 to $5 dollars for it or don't have a store that carries it use the gravel from in your yard. If you don't have a yard I'm sure you have friends somewhere that has one and they wouldn't have any problem of giving you gravel out of it. As another additive for an extra touch add small amount, to your liking of your favorite potpourri. To the individuals that are/or want to be a big DIY (Do It Yourself-er) when making the snake put a zipper on one end so you can remove the gravel/potpourri and change it to a different potpourri or add to it.

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  12. I make "draft dodgers" all the time and I use the round foam they sell at home repair stores to insulate water pipes. They have a slit in them so they can easily be put around pipes and they are light-weight but are very effective. I make double sided draft dodgers that slide under the door with a "tube" on both sides of the door. You can customize their length based on the size of your door. I have been using these for years & they are inexpensive to make, You can get a 6 foot piece of the foam at the home improvement stores (they are usually black) really cheap and one 4 foot piece will do one 30 inch door with about a foot leftover. Save this piece because you can "stack" these pieces of foam in the fabric "sleeve" when you make another draft dodger. Happy creating!!!!!!!!

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  13. Thank you for sharing! It's just become very wintery here in South Australia, and I was trying to think of what a good filling would be for a door snake. I hadn't even thought of rice. What a great, inexpensive idea. Thank you!

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  14. This looks like it was very fun and exciting to make, but if you were looking to go the less expensive route, I think it would have bene more economical to get 2 of the fancy ones off from Amazon for about the price of that bag of rice. It looks like you had tons of fun with it though!

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  15. This looks like it was very fun and exciting to make, but if you were looking to go the less expensive route, I think it would have bene more economical to get 2 of the fancy ones off from Amazon for about the price of that bag of rice. It looks like you had tons of fun with it though!

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  16. I'm in desperate need of a draft protector, after reading all the comments that suggested rice but other comments were concerned about little critters coming to dine...lol, I thought I would suggest using the gravel used in fish tanks. Of cause just a suggestion. I Want to thank the owners of the orignal post for your kind instructions. My power bill has gone shy high this winter, being on a limited budget I took a punch in my pocket Sooo I am going to get crafting asap..Hope everyone keeps warm and draft free this winter!! Thank You for the Wonderful kind post.

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  17. How about using a pool noodle inside your snake?

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  18. I will use scrap material from other projects I have done. Believe me I do have enough scraps to fill several.

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