When you walk past the windows or doors in your apartment, do you feel an icy draft?
If so, you’ve got a leak, which can be a real problem.
The icy air coming inside is something your heater has to fight against, costing you a lot on your heating bill. You probably feel like there’s nothing you can do (after all, it’s not like your property manager will let you replace the windows). But you’re not out of luck — if your apartment is way too cold, you can insulate the windows and doors to help keep the weather out.
Draft stoppers — also called draft blockers, draft dodgers or door/window snakes — are simple. They’re tubes made of fabric and filled with an insulating material. You place them 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. Keep reading to learn how to make your own.
Measuring the width of the window or door you are working with will ensure your DIY project actually works and keep you from wasting supplies. For our first draft stopper, we’re starting with a skinny window that’s just 23 inches wide.
To know how wide to cut, add four inches to the width of your window or door. For us, this comes to 27 inches. No matter how wide the item is, cut the fabric 8 inches tall (this will help make sure your heater can run efficiently by blocking out cold air). Now you have a long rectangle of fabric.
Fold your piece of fabric in half lengthwise so that the long edges are touching each other Then, pin these edges together using a few straight pins.
Using your sewing machine, sew the long edge where the pins are as well as one of the short ends. Sew several backward 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.
This will help to hide the stitching and create a seamless look.
Next, you’ll want to fill your fabric tube with insulating materials. There are several things you could use here, such as beans, sand, rice or kitty litter.
Anything that’s small and granular will do the trick, but stay away from powders — they'll get messy. We used rice for ours. 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 us: We 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.
Pin the last open side 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 backward stitches at both ends so everything is nice and secure.
Admire your handiwork and begin to enjoy your lower power bills as you improve your apartment’s efficiency!
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.
Anyone else tackled this project? Leave us a comment and let us know how it went!