If you live in an older house, you may love the rustic charm that comes with it. However, you most likely don’t like the drafts that seem to find the smallest cracks to sneak in. Drafts are a very common occurrence around windows and doors, especially in older houses where the wood starts to warp. Even newer houses can have drafts that sneak in under the door, and this can cause your heating bill to rise.
It can also make it uncomfortably cold on your feet when you just want to relax. Luckily, a draft stopper is a fast and effective way to seal the bottom of your door and your window sills. Draft stoppers are easy to make with spare items you have around your home, and you can make them in several fun colors and patterns to match your decor. If you want to stop the drafts, take a look at our collection of draft stopper ideas below.
Fillings You Can Use in Your Draft Stopper
There are several different types of filling you can use on your draft stoppers. Some work better than others, especially when you put your stopper in high-traffic areas. Also, some of the filler is more widely available at your local store than others, or you may have some on hand. Common filler materials include:
- Cat Litter
- Plastic Bags
- Popcorn Kernels
- Buckwheat Hulls
- Crushed Walnut Shells
- Pool Noodles
- Pipe Insulation
During the winter or cooler months, drafts present a large problem for many houses. This is where a draft stopper can help.
10 Draft Stopper Ideas to Keep Your Home Warm
A draft stopper is an elongated tube of fabric and filling that either sits directly against the bottom of your door or windows, or you can create a double-sided one that slips under your door and moves with it. This is particularly popular in high-traffic areas like your front door. As a bonus, draft stoppers are also a popular way to block out light and sound from under the door, and you can put one in your bedroom to help you sleep better.
1. Rice Draft Stopper
First up is a very simple draft stopper that you fill with uncooked rice, and you can use it on your windows or doors. First, you’ll need fabric, rice, and whatever sewing essentials you plan to use. You can set it by hand or with your sewing machine. To start this project, measure the length of your door or window, and add an inch.
Measure your fabric so it’s 8 ½ inches wide and as long as your door or window with an additional inch. Cut the fabric. Get a hot iron and press your fabric to ensure it lays flat. Fold your fabric in half lengthwise. The inside of the fabric should be facing out, and pin along the edge. Sew the fabric together, and leave around a half inch allowance. To reinforce the seam, backstitch both ends.
Once you finish sewing the long side of the fabric, turn your tube around and sew one end closed. Backstitch at the end again. One end should be open at this point. Turn your fabric the right way out. Poke out the corners using a pencil. Pour your rice into the tube of fabric, leaving an inch or at least a ½ inch open. Pin the edge shut, and hand sew it closed.
2. Pool Noodle Draft Stopper
This one is super easy, and you can buy pool noodles in several different colors. You can get two draft stoppers out of a single pool noodle. To make it, measure the length of the bottom of your door. You don’t want to leave any additional room or your door won’t close. Mark this measurement on your pool noodle.
Cut your pool noodle where you made your mark. Next, you’ll slit your pool noodle open lengthwise while being careful to not cut all of the way through it. Gently pry open your pool noodle until you can fit it around your door. Slide it on until it reaches the far end of the door. Carefully test to see if your door still closes. If not, you may have to shave the pool noodle down, but it should collapse on itself until it’s the right height because the foam isn’t dense. This will block out any drafts, and you get a double layer of protection.
Pool noodles are an inexpensive stopper that you can use for many years, and they fit different gap sizes.
3. Patchwork Quilt Draft Stopper
This homey stopper is great for rustic decor. You can sew it by hand or with your sewing machine. To make it, you’ll need up to 10 different fabrics with stripes, patterns, and solids, lining fabric, fabric scissors, needle, thread, crushed walnut shells, and a sewing machine if you plan on using one.
You want to cut 4-inch by 11-inch squares in each of your 10 different fabrics. Lay your fabric out on their 11-inch sides and pin them together in a row. Sew along the 11-inch sides. You want to press all of your seams to one side so you’ll have a neat finished product. Get your lining fabric and cut it so it’s 11 inches by 35.5 inches.
Pin your lining fabric to your patchwork fabric with the right side of the patchwork fabric facing up. Take both pieces of fabric and fold them long ways in half. Pin it together to hold it in place, and carefully sew around the fabric’s perimeter. Remember to leave a 3-inch opening along one of your short ends. Open your crushed walnut shells and fill the stopper, leaving around an inch of room. Finally, use a slip stitch to close up the end of the stopper.
4. No-Sew Draft Stopper
If you’re not that handy sewing or with a sewing machine, this no-sew draft stopper is the perfect way to go. For this project, you’ll need buckwheat or batting for filling and a couple pairs of girl’s tights. Leg warmers, long socks, or sweater arms work, but you’ll have to sew two of these things if you use them, and that defeats the purpose of this tutorial.
To start, place a twist knot in the end of your tight by the foot to get rid of the foot indent and create a streamlined tube. Cut the leg area away from the crotch of the tights. Get a mason jar and fill it with buckwheat. Carefully stretch the open end of the tight over the mouth of the mason jar, turn the jar over, and dump the buckwheat into the tight.
Keep doing this until you fill it. When it’s as full as you want, place a twist knot in the open end. You’re now ready to lay your draft stopper along the bottom of your door. As a bonus, you’ll get two draft stoppers out of every pair of tights you use. You can pick them up at a thrift store, garage sale, or from your local clothing store.
You can find tights in virtually any color or pattern, and this makes it easy to create a stopper that fits into your decor.
5. Sock Draft Stopper
Chances are, you most likely have one or two pairs of old, thick socks lying in your drawer that no one ever wears anymore. You can upcycle these socks into a stopper. Ideally, you’ll get longer socks so they stretch the length of the door. Make sure there are no holes you have to patch before you start or your filling will spill out as soon as you move it.
Take two socks and stuff them with batting. You could use something heavier like rice, but it’ll be very hard to keep the rice in when you try to stitch them together. Make sure you pack the socks full of your batting. When they’re full, get your needle and thread and stitch the two socks together at the openings. You’re now ready to lay the draft stopper against your door. If you’re worried about it moving because it’s more lightweight, hot glue a strip of velcro to one side of the stopper and the other strip to the bottom of the door. Press them together.
6. Pipe Insulator Draft Stopper
This stopper is just like the pool noodle one, but it uses slightly thinner material that can be harder than a pool noodle. There are two ways you can go about this. The first one is easier, but you’ll have to replace the pipe insulator eventually due to wear and tear. To start, get a piece of pipe insulator and measure the length of your door. Cut the insulator to the length of the door, and make a slit to open it lengthwise. If you plan to use it as-is, slide it over the bottom of the door.
The second option you have is to cut the insulator in half so you have two even sides. Take fabric and measure it so you have enough to go around both pieces of insulator and slide under the door. Sew two tubes, one on each side of the fabric, length-wise. You’ll create pockets that you can slide your pipe insulator in. Slide one piece of pipe insulator into each tube. Slide the flat part under the door, putting one piece of insulator on each side of the door.
Pipe insulation is more durable than pool noodles, so any draft stopper you create out of this material should last a long time.
7. Log Draft Stopper
This cute draft stopper would be right at home in a cabin. To make it, you’ll need a yard of wood-patterned fabric,thread, stuffing medium, embroidery thread, pencil, ruler, pins, scissors, and an iron. Measure the length of the door or window you want to use the stopper on, and add 1 ½ inches. Measure and mark this length on your wood patterned fabric and cut it. Cut out two 3 1/4-inch circles.
Iron the fabric to ensure it lays flat so you get an even finished product. Flip the fabric so the inside is facing out and fold it in half lengthwise. Pin the edges when you have them even to hold them in place, and leave a ½ of an inch along the edges to sew it shut. Get your thread and stitch all of the way up the long side, leaving a four-inch gap in the middle.. You can use a sewing machine for this part if you’re short on time.
Press your long tube flat, keeping the seam in the center. Push your seam open. Take your circles and fold them in half once before folding them in half again. Open them up and line these creases up with the creases in your long tube. With the right sides facing in, pin the circles to each end of the tube.
Sew each circle onto the end of your tube, making sure you leave a ¼-inch seam. Turn the tube right side out by pushing the fabric through the four-inch gap you left in the middle of the tube. Fill it with cat litter until it’s your desired fullness. Carefully stitch the gap closed and set it against your door.
8. Denim Draft Stopper
This nostalgic stopper uses durable denim to help block out the cold. For an added touch of fun, you can stencil words onto each side of the stopper. To make it, you’ll need an adult pair of denim jeans, rotary cutter, sewing machine, needles that work on denim, fiber fill, letter stencils, white fabric paint, and foam paint brushes.
To start, measure the length of your door. Turn your denim jeans inside out, and mark your measurements on the fabric. Cut the jeans to fit this length. The jean leg will most likely be wider by the thigh area and thinner by the ankle. Measure up around five inches from the seam of your jeans and cut it lengthwise to even them up.
If you want to add a pun or saying like “Mind the Gap” or “#1 Draft Pick,” turn the jeans the right way out and lay your pencil right on the denim. Using your paint and foam brushes, dab directly onto the jeans to fill in your stencils. Leave them to dry. Stitch up one end of the denim before you add your filling. It’s nice to add heavier filling like sand or kitty litter because it’ll help hold it against the door.
Once you fill it all of the way, stitch up the final end. If you make two draft stoppers, you can easily sew a small strip of denim between them to stick them together. Slide this thin piece of denim under the door, leaving one stopper on either side. Now it’ll move with your door.
Denim is very durable, and most adult jeans will be long enough to span the length of your doorway.
9. Iron-On Transfer Draft Stopper
You can use whatever shapes or animals you’d like with this stopper. All you need is iron-on transfer sheets. You’ll print your desired pattern right on the sheets before carefully cutting them out. Get a flexible but durable fabric and cut out two 37-inch by 5-inch rectangles. Whatever fabric you choose, make sure your iron-on transfers show up.
Iron your fabric to remove any wrinkles and give yourself a flat work surface. Carefully arrange your transfer onto the right side of our fabric, and make sure you leave at least a ½-inch seam allowance on all sides. Iron your silhouettes into place. The transfer paper will have exact instructions on it.
Now you’re ready to assemble your stopper. With the right sides of the fabric facing, pin both rectangles together. Stitch along the seam, making sure you leave one shorter end open to fill it. Turn the stopper right side out, and use a pencil to push the corners of the ends out. Iron your fabric so it’s flat again. You’ll need roughly 54 ounces of bean fill to stuff the stopper. To finish it, blind stitch the open end closed and set your stopper against your door.
Make sure you follow the instructions when you iron on your transfer. If you don’t, the transfer won’t stick as well as it should.
10. Magnetic Draft Stopper
The magnetic stopper is a nice way to ensure your draft stopper moves with the door each time you open and close it, and it’s slightly less bulky. To make it, you’ll cut a six-inch rectangle of fabric the length of your door. Fold it in half lengthwise with the interior facing out. Pin one end and along the long portion of the rectangle. Stitch these areas closed.
Next, turn the stopper right side out. Get a magnetic strip and glue it onto the top portion of the stopper. You’ll create a teardrop shape with the fabric. Fill it halfway full and sew up the other end to seal it. Attach a second magnetic strip to your door, ensuring it’s low enough so your draft stopper touches the floor and creates a seal. Attach your draft stopper to the door. You can remove it as you see fit by tugging the magnets apart. If you want to make it easier to remove, you can stitch a small loop of fabric onto one end of the stopper that gives you something to hold onto when you pull the pieces apart.
Reasons to Use a Draft Stopper
Now that you know several fun ways to make your new stopper, we’ll go over why you’d want one in the first place. We briefly touched on the reasons at the start of the post, but we’ll go slightly more in-depth here. The biggest reasons include:
- Save Money – Drafts, especially in the winter months, can cause you to turn your heat up to keep yourself comfortable when you’re home. Each time you turn up the heat, you’ll spend more money. If you have a large house, this could easily cost you hundreds of extra dollars in the cooler months. Draft stoppers make excellent wind blocks, and you’ll be able to keep your heat lower.
- Boosts Your Energy Efficiency – Everyone wants to be conscious of how much energy they use, and you tend to burn more energy by keeping your home warm. Since the stoppers prevent colder air from coming into your home, you boost your energy efficiency.
- Adds a Whimsical Touch – Depending on your creativity levels, your stopper could add a whimsical touch to your home. You could add googly eyes to create an animal like a snake, or you could use fabric paint to add sayings or puns.
Everyone wants to do their part to help conserve energy, and adding these stoppers to your doorways or windows is a great way to accomplish this.
These draft stoppers make functional and practical additions to any room. You can cut them smaller and follow the same patterns to create draft stoppers for your windows if you have problems sealing them as well. Whatever you choose, you’ll get something that you can use for years at a time.