Monday, December 17, 2007

It's time to abolish the draft. (Creating a draft dodger.)

The drafty door between our unheated mudroom and our kitchen has been driving me nutty!

The tile floor was too cold for bare feet, and I could almost see the money from our heating budget seeping through the crack!

This morning, I finally fixed it. Here's how I did it.

First, I measured the door in units of empty paper towel tubes. Since they had to fit inside one another to form one long tube, the total length (of three tubes for my door) had to be a bit longer than the width of the door.

I fit the three tubes together, folding one to fit inside the other, forming a "supertube". These were attached with a ring of glue from a hot glue gun, along the inside of the outer tube.

Using a chopstick and a broom handle, I stuffed the supertube with plastic grocery bags, packing them tightly.

On the door flashing, I placed a super-strong magnet on each nail. Then, I put some hot glue on the magnets, and quickly pressed the stuffed supertube onto the glue-y magnets.

The result is a supertube that attaches to the (nails in the) flashing, magnetically.

This project requires the strong magnets, because the flashing is aluminum (not attracted to magnets), so the tiny nail-heads are the only metal for holding the whole supertube. In order to work properly, the attraction has to be strong enough to hold up to frequent door opening.

For doors without flashing or metal, see the next post for what to do.

When opening the door is tested with a full length supertube, it will knock the supertube off, due to interference from the corner/end piece.

Trim the end piece just enough to allow the door to open easily, allowing the maximum draft-covering length to remain.

I needed about 3/4 of an inch of clearance.

Then I covered the supertube with fabric, using the glue gun. I was careful to leave only one layer of fabric over the magnets, to avoid interfering with their hold capacity.

This was a very quick project, using materials on-hand and about 10 minutes (including photographs.) The frog fabric was from my stash, purchased on clearance at about $2/yard, and I used less than a quarter-yard. Scraps of sheets/tablecloths would work nicely, too. The total cost was under $2.

I wonder how many minutes of New England Winter it will take to recoup my costs from the heating oil bill?

It works very well, and our bare toes are grateful!

Stay warm, everyone!

17 comments, so far. Add yours now!

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AidelKnaidel said...

I just wanted to say that I really appreciate your insightful and kind comments. Love the blog, it made me laugh :)

Anonymous said...

Oh my gosh, I just love you! You're too cool! I love the resourcefullness! Thanks for the inspiration!

Jendeis said...

As always, a wonderful idea. Our draft comes from sliding glass doors in the living room and bedroom. Was thinking of making a long rolled rope of fabric to keep in the crack.

Anonymous said...


Juggling Frogs said...


Thank you! I enjoy your blog, too.

Thanks! I like to use what I have on hand. The usual "draft dodgers" are made from fabric tubes, filled with rice or kitty litter. The weight holds them in place.

I wanted something cheaper, neater, and lighter weight. The plastic bags provide great insulation without weighing down the door.

This project uses less fabric, because it just needs to reach around the skinny tube, and no need for seam allowance.

I also like that it didn't require a bunch of fussy measurements. Since the tubes are all standard diameters, it looks all measured-out, even though it was totally eye-balled.


Go for it! You won't regret it.

This draft dodger has already made a big difference in the warmth of our kitchen, and it has been less than a day.



Orthonomics said...

I've been putting together an energy plan. Do you know any good materials one can line curtains with to keep heat from flying out the window. Like you, I sense the dollars flying out the cracks.

Homeschool Help Web said...

This is SO clever! My biggest problem with draft dodgers has always been, what happens when everyone leaves the house? There's nobody left to push the plush style dodgers back up to the crack, so all the cold air comes in while you're gone. (And I never could train the cat to do it, go figure!)

Congrats on a great design!

Erika Jean said...

what a great idea!!

Phyllis Sommer said...

you are so creative! i love this. (oh, and p.s., i got my book - can't wait to read it! thanks)

Miriam said...

Hey Juggling Frog.

May I ask you a question?

I have little kids running around and they make MESSES!

Well, I find myself moping constantly. Is that bad for the tile floor? I sometimes worry that the floor will be so soaked I'll fall down into the neighbors' house downstairs. lol


Anonymous said...

It's no good!
it's not water resistant!!
Yosi Dahan

Juggling Frogs said...

Sephardi Lady,

Me too! There are a couple of drafty windows I need to line. There are thermal fabrics made specifically for this purpose, but (when I checked the fabric store last month) they were quite pricey ($50/yard!)

They looked like they'd do a great job, but my sewing skills just aren't up to the level where I'm comfortable cutting into such expensive fabric.

In the interim, we have hung spare blankets over leaky windows, and have seen a huge difference in comfort and warmth of the room.

I'm considering quilting something (so it'd have layers - quilt batting - especially polyester batting - is a great insulator) or using PolarFleece.

Homeschool Help,

Thank you! I'm busily making them for all the drafty doors in our house. It really helps that they are so light and thus don't weigh the door down at all.

I hope to post pictures soon of how I've handled the regular doors, without flashing.

Sneak preview: I've cut and painted decorative shapes from metal (clean!) tuna can lids, and used those 3M command strips to attach them to the bottom of the doors. The magnets on the draft dodger can then stick to something metal, without my having nailed anything into the door itself.

Stay tuned!


Thanks, and welcome!

Rabbi Phyllis,

That's great! I wasn't sure if it was okay to send it directly to your office, but that address was easy to find. I hope you enjoy it.


What's your floor made of?

I don't know if it's bad for the floor, but I think it's great for you and your family!

It's definitely great for the rest of the house. Otherwise, everyone'd be tracking crumbs into all the other rooms, spreading the joy to the far corners of your home!

Walking barefoot onto food crumbs is debilitating in the same way that broken windows depress a neighborhood.

Kol HaKavod for you - every time you mop! (With a house full of little ones, this can be an hourly task!)


Why would it need to be? I could spray the fabric with ScotchGuard, I guess. I have a can of it, might as well.

Since it is very light and has magnets, it's easy to remove it when time to mop the floor.

Our toes have already given testimony that it has helped. The whole kitchen feels warmer than it did.

I'm making more of them for all the drafty doors in our house. I guess I could put duct tape around the stuffed cardboard tubes (before the magnets) to make it more water resistant.

Ellen said...

Love it! Per usual, I love how you think and your wonderful problem-solving.

Homeschool Web Help: yeah...I've always wondered that too!

Anonymous said...


Just saying hello while I read through the posts

hopefully this is just what im looking for looks like i have a lot to read.

Anonymous said...


just registered and put on my todo list

hopefully this is just what im looking for, looks like i have a lot to read.

Anonymous said...

pretty cool stuff here thank you!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

This is the kind of thing I try to teach people. Can we count on a sequel?

If you liked this article, congratulations! You have great taste. Please brew yourself a cup of coffee.
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