Courtney Craig
door draft stopper

When you walk past the windows or doors in your apartment, do you feel an icy draft? If so, you’ve got leaky windows, which can be a real problem. The icy air coming inside is something your heater has to fight against, costing you a lot in heating costs. You probably feel like there’s nothing you can do – it’s not like your landlord will let you replace the windows. You’re not out of luck – you just need to insulate the windows.

Draft stoppers – also called draft blockers, draft dodgers, or door/window snakes – are simple: They’re just tubes made of fabric and filled with an insulating material.  It’s basically a tube shaped pillow that you place at the base of your windows or doors, where most energy leaks happen. Making your own draft stopper is a fun, simple DIY project that took me less than an hour.

Here’s how I did it:

What you’ll need:

  • Medium-weight fabric (how many yards you’ll need depends on how big your windows are, and how many you’re making – err on the side of more than you think you need)
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure
  • Sewing machine, threaded
  • Straight pins
  • Insulating material


1. First, measure your window.

For my first draft stopper, I’m starting with a skinny window that’s just 23 inches wide.

How to Make Draft Stoppers

2. Cut your fabric.

To know how wide to cut, add four inches to the width of your window. For me, this comes to 27 inches. No matter how wide the window is, cut the fabric 8 inches tall. Now you have a long rectangle of fabric.

How to Make Draft Stoppers

3. Fold the fabric in half lengthwise so the long edges are touching each other.

Pin these edges together using a few straight pins.

How to Make Draft Stoppers

4. Using your sewing machine, sew a seam along the long edge where the pins are, and then one of the short ends.

Sew several backwards stitches so the ends are firmly sewn shut.  You could also handle the sewing by hand, but a machine is much preferred for the sake of solidity and consistency.

How to Make Draft Stoppers

How to Make Draft Stoppers

5. Turn the fabric tube inside out so the seams are hidden inside.

6. Fill your fabric tube with insulating material.

There are several things you could use here, such as:

  • Beans
  • Sand
  • Rice
  • Kitty litter

Really, anything that’s small and granular will do the trick, but stay away from powders — they'll get messy. I used rice for mine. Enlist someone’s help when you’re filling your draft stopper, or else you might spill the rice and make a mess all over your kitchen floor. (Take it from me: I learned this lesson the hard way.) Don’t fill it too full – you want it to have a little malleability.

Some places also recommend you alternate different insulation – for example, a layer of rice followed by a layer of actual pillow fluff, then another layer of rice – but mostly, the decision is up to you what you want to do.

7. Sew the open edge of your draft stopper shut.

Pin carefully so none of your insulating material falls out as you sew. You might want to enlist a helper again to hold the heavy end of your draft stopper while you sew. Remember to sew backwards stitches at both ends so everything is nice and secure.

How to Make Draft Stoppers

8. Place your draft stopper in your window and admire your handiwork.

And continue enjoying lower power bills as you improve your apartment’s efficiency!

How to Make Draft Stoppers

9. Prepare the next or start decorating.

If you want to keep going, there’s a lot more you can do. Check your other windows to see if they’re letting in drafts. You can also decorate this one further to make it really stand out. Maybe you want a plain fabric tube, or you want to put something on it as decoration: add more colors of fabric, wrap it with paper or old clothes – anything to make it look more like something you made, and not just something you have.

Feeling crafty? Check out all our DIY articles here.

Anyone else tackled this project? Leave us a comment and let us know how it went!

Photo credits: Courtney Craig

Photo by Karly Santiago on Unsplash



About The Author

Courtney Craig is an editor and writer for the Apartment Guide Blog. She rented apartments for 12 years in 4 cities before buying her first house in Atlanta. Find Courtney on Google.