By Tina Jepson
Brrr! It’s cold outside. In fact, “cold” may be the understatement of the year. Here in the southeastern United States, we’re struggling with a cold snap for the ages, and it seems like everyone up and down the East Coast is experiencing the same uncomfortable (another understatement) weather trend.
And can you believe that there’s no end in sight for these sub-zero temps? Yikes! That means many homes throughout the country aren’t as warm and toasty as they should be. Sadly, my house is no different. It’s old (170 years) and full of leaks, ill-fitted doors, and window gaps. The minute I step near one of my doors, my entire body shivers!
So, what’s a homeowner to do if you’ve got one (or more) drafts? I recently learned that the best, most effective and amazingly quick solution is a simple DIY door draft guard.
You may be wondering: How do I make a door draft stopper? Luckily for you, all you need are four simple items found in most households. The best part? No sewing skills are required!
Here are the items you’ll need to create a no-sew DIY draft stopper:
- One pair of crew socks for each leaky door/window
- A filler such as uncooked beans, rice, or dried corn (or a little bit of all of these)
- Rubber bands
- A cup or funnel
When I made my door draft guard, I used a medium-sized bowl to mix my draft stopper filling ingredients. These included pinto beans and white rice. If you’re using more than one filler, consider pre-mixing your fillers to make for a more uniform look and feel.
No one likes to work in a messy environment, so clean off a table and set your materials out. If you haven’t already, mix your filler ingredients.
Next, take one long crew sock and stretch it out. Holding the top of the sock, slowly pour your filler in until you’ve reached your desired density about an inch or an inch-and-a-half from the top of the sock. It’s sometimes difficult to fit your hand into the top of the sock, so use a funnel or small cup to make the job a bit easier.
Then, immediately secure using a strong rubber band. Go ahead and move the filler around from the outside of the sock, massaging it so that it’s evenly thick throughout the sock. Is anything coming out from the top where you tied it off? If not, you’re good to go! Otherwise, tie a second rubber band to be on the safe side.
Great! Now, it’s time to move on to the second sock. Perform the same process of carefully filling up the crew sock with the filler and secure it with a rubber band.
You have two filled crew socks and didn’t break a sweat, right? Next, you have to secure the socks to one another, something you can do without an ounce of sewing skills.
Simply stuff one of the rubber banded-ends through the middle of the other rubber band to create one extra long door draft blocker.
Since the single exposed rubber band isn’t aesthetically pleasing, I went ahead and folded the 1 inch or so of sock back over the exposed band.
Since it’s not sew shut, the door draft snake is slightly flimsy in the middle. However, if you secured the rubber bands tight enough, no draft stopper filling should get loose.
Holding the middle of the draft stopper, carry it over to whichever window or door you need it.
Time: I have eight doors that open into outdoor and/or unconditioned space (crazy, right?), so I whipped up a whole batch of these draft snakes for doors in slightly under 30 minutes. That means each one took under 5-minutes!
Cost: While I had some old crew socks that would have been perfect for this DIY project, I chose to spend $9.99 on a pack of 14 black crew socks from Walmart. They were remarkably affordable, and I thought the black would match my décor more than traditional white crew socks. For the filler, I purchased 2 8-lb bags of beans ($6.98 x 2 ) and two 5-pound bags of white rice ($3.98 x 2). I had rubber bands in my craft kit, so they didn’t cost me anything.
Considering I only used 8 of the 14 socks ($5.70), the total per draft stopper came out to an impressive $3.45. Keep in mind, the average door draft stopper at your local big box store will set you back around $10.
Effectiveness: Considering the cost and time it took me to create these draft stoppers, I’m impressed with the end result. Once they were in place, I noticed an immediate improvement in the amount of air seeping through the bottom of my doors. Poof!
With just a little preparation and a few minutes time, you too can stop the cold weather from seeping into your home. You can never go wrong with a 5-minute DIY draft stopper!
Do you have any cold weather tips you want to share? Let us know in the comments below.
Images used with permission, courtesy of Tina Jepson