How to: Make your own dog (or snake) draft excluder and save energy!

draught%20excluders.jpgThrough my work over on Hippyshopper, I often chance upon crafty ideas that are also great for the planet. DIY culture and clothes recycling is, of course, doing wonders for cutting down on waste, but you can also use your crafty skills to save energy.

If you'd like to cut down on your carbon emissions and save a few pennies this winter, why not start thinking now about making some fun and useful draft excluders for your home? In my youth, a trusty sausage dog by the front door, keeping the house warm and toasty was a common occurence, but I don't think I've seen one in years! Why not bring doggie draft excluders back with this easy tutorial, and with plenty of warm months to come before winter hits, you could embellish your new friend with as much personality as you like! The two pedigree pals pictured are by Kath Kidston, and the dragon is from a gift store. But yours will cost you a lot less...

Follow the jump for a tutorial

This tutorial will show you how to make a basic sausage and embellish it as a snake. Dog (or dragon, cat, hippo, etc) features optional!

You will need:
fabric, red ribbon (only if you want a snake tongue), two beads (for the eyes), thread, scissors, a sewing machine, some stuffing batting, some quilters batting, approximately five pounds of aquarium gravel, pins, and a needle.

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Measure your door width and add 8 inches to it. That's the length of your fabric. Also check to see how high above the ground your draft/leak zone is. You want to double that plus a couple of inches for the width of your fabric. Now cut two pieces of fabric to that length and width. Note: your second piece doesn't have to be the same as the first since it will never see the light of day (again).

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Take old scraps of batting and lay them on top of the wrong side of fabric piece #1. Leave a 1/2 inch margin from the edge as shown in the picture. Sandwich the batting by placing fabric piece #2 on top (right side facing up). Pin the edges.

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If you're making a snake, trim the tail like so. Use the cutting from the first attempt as your template for the other side (for symmetry). If you're not making a snake, leave it be.

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Now quilt large Xs across the fabric sandwich (my Xs were about 8x8 inches). You can do it by hand, but I find a sewing machine to be faster and an opportunity to screw up straight lines. This is mostly to hold the batting in place. Why batting? Because the fabric is thin, the gravel has interstitial holes, and your draft might penetrate the stopper. Also, I didn't want the darn thing to thunk around on my wood floors... So the batting helps to interrupt airflow and cushion the gravel.

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Again, only if you are making a snake, cut a piece of ribbon (I bought red velvet ribbon, but felt works well too) and fork the "tongue".

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Sew the tongue wrong-side up and pointing back to the body onto the top of the snake. (If you used two different fabrics, do this on the outside fabric - otherwise it doesn't matter).

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Fold the fabric sandwich in half with the right side facing IN (because you are going to turn this baby inside out). Pin the edges together but leave the head open (and you might want to give it a few inches along the side unpinned as well to ease the filling of the guts). Sew a 1/4 inch margin from the tail to the head opening. Please don't sew the whole thing shut.

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Carefully turn the stopper shell inside out. You can pop the tail out with a broom handle (or, in my case, a swiffer handle). Then take some of the loose batting material and stuff it into the tail using same household cleaning device handle. Stuff it full of batting until you reach the constant diameter part of the body (where the tail ends).

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At this point, start pouring in the gravel. I'll just warn you that my fabric was 44 inches by 8 inches and that this five pound bag of aquarium gravel ($4 at Petco) just barely filled it up to the neck. Once you've emptied enough gravel, grab more loose batting and stuff it in leaving a few inches left of the head unstuffed.

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Sew the eyes on. Fold in the margins and hand stitch the head closed making sure the tongue is sticking out and not in.

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You're done!

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How to: Make your own dog (or snake) draft excluder and save energy! - Comments

  • SALLY

    COULD YOU USE CAT LITTEE THE ONES WE HAD YEARS AGO WERE KNITTED

  • suzi o

    Last year I made some "draught dodgers" by filling the cut off legs of old tights (women's are usually long enough) with rice and sewing across the top... they worked, but attracted a huge amount of cat hair, and the rice began to break down... obviously, if you have cats, you won't have mice, but if catless, I wouldn't use anything edible, as the mice (or worse, rats!) will chew holes in your lovely stoppers to get at the beans.... hope this helps!

  • Yay! I can't wait to try this. I've been wanting to make something like this for my windows. I was wondering why you chose to use the aquarium gravel for the fill. Not that I oppose that but I'm wondering if there are other things I can use to fill it up, perhaps dry beans? I'm a novice when it comes to sewing.

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