Win a copy of Homegrown Linen this week in the Plant Fibers forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Anne Miller
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Pearl Sutton
stewards:
  • Mike Haasl
  • paul wheaton
  • Devaka Cooray
master gardeners:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Carla Burke
  • jordan barton
  • Leigh Tate
gardeners:
  • Greg Martin
  • Jay Angler
  • thomas rubino

DIY Draft Stopper / Door Snake

 
Posts: 51
Location: Zone 5ish, Ontario, CA
17
fungi foraging cooking fiber arts homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It's been fairly blustery outside over the last few days and it reminded me to make some door snakes. There is one door leading outside where the gap is especially large and requires a pretty fat snake.
I had bought some jasmine rice to fill up some hot/cold pads as gifts (a great way to use up remnants) and had just filled up one draft stopper with rice when I realized it's probably not an ideal material to use for a country house like mine that has a few mice scurrying around. Additionally, it apparently isn't a good material to use where it might get wet since it can get mouldy and sad.

So here is some of what I found when researching what to fill my door snake with:

Edible fillers: dried lentils, beans, rice, things like that
Non-edible fillers: sand, kitty litter, chopped up rags/fabric scraps, poly fill, a bunch of plastic bags, spruce (I had no idea crafting spruce was a thing), cherry pits, walnut husks, or just a rolled up towel. I also found a suggestion to use a pool noodle trimmed down to size.

Anyways, I loved the idea of putting something that would go to the landfill to work, but I don't have a lot of plastic bags. However, I have TONS of large bubble wrap somehow. I figured if people use it on their windows as an attempt to insulate, why not try to fill up a draft stopper? This may have been a foolish idea and not have the same kind of thermal mass as straight rice but.... away I went! And here's the process I used.

- Measure the width of your door frame + 2 inches or more and decide what height you want it to be. Please note, for taller door snakes, you'll need to add more than 2 inches (mine was a tad short)
- Cut a strip of fabric your width + height(2)
- Fold in half, sew one short edge and the long edge, leaving one short end open for filling
- Clip corners, invert the tube, poke corners with a pencil/dowel
- Lay your bubble wrap on the ground beside the fabric, depending on the size of the bubble wrap you can probably layer some things inside it, so I shoved extra pieces of smaller bubblewrap inside, then rolled it up like a big fat burrito
- Shove said burrito into the fabric tube, taking care not to pop everything. You may need to massage it a little to get the fabric over big bumps
- Trim off the excess bubble wrap, make a funnel and into the "core" or inner tunnel of the tube, scoop in some kitty litter (it's what I had kicking around)
- Fold the selvedges inside, pin, and whipstitch shut.

And there you have your bubble wrap door snake tube. Obviously with other materials the filling step will be different but I thought I'd share since it's such a simple project and very relevant this time of year.

I'd love to hear any suggestions for what other fillers might be good, and any feedback about the effectiveness of using bubblewrap in this scenario. I have to say, I've already felt a difference and have been able to turn down the heater in the room beside the door which is a real boon.
Doorsnake_1.jpg
[Thumbnail for Doorsnake_1.jpg]
Doorsnake_2.jpg
[Thumbnail for Doorsnake_2.jpg]
Doorsnake_3.jpg
[Thumbnail for Doorsnake_3.jpg]
Doorsnake_4.jpg
[Thumbnail for Doorsnake_4.jpg]
Doorsnake_5.jpg
[Thumbnail for Doorsnake_5.jpg]
Doorsnake_6.jpg
[Thumbnail for Doorsnake_6.jpg]
 
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 6994
Location: SW Missouri
3238
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Lovely work! My compliments! :D

I think the idea behind a filling that shifts is only partly thermal mass, and quite a bit the ability to contour into the cracks that need blocking. Example: A pool noodle would be pretty useless in front of the door I keep draft stopped, as the floor is uneven, the trim is half the problem so it has to be covered too, and the door glass needs to be covered at the bottom too. The rolled up blanket I have there (I know, I don't have anything decent there) contours to fit up tight against the trim, against the floor and the glass, and can be kicked to tighten it up as needed. So I think it may be relevant if you have a mess like the door in this rental for a draft stopper to conform to irregular surfaces.

Just for information: Bubble wrap works well on windows because it provides dead air space, like a double pane window has. You kind of make it into a triple pane (or if you are me in a drafty rental, a penta-pane) for the winter. So consider what exactly you are trying do, when you pick your filling and fabric. That door here needs contouring, and insulation more than air flow block. There is one window on the north side that I have bubble wrapped with many layers, taped down, and it's got a towel draft stopper taped into it too, as it needs the air flow stopped on all of it, but also needs insulation in one area.

:D
 
gardener
Posts: 3969
Location: Pacific Wet Coast
1448
duck books chicken cooking food preservation ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I did something similar years ago - kids were little so I actually put eyes and a tongue on one end like a "snake".  I used Styrofoam packing peanuts for insulation and the fabric I used was salvaged from a coat which did the draft stopping.  It kept the peanuts out of the land fill and when we upgraded the door seals, the peanuts went to a local pottery maker for shipping uses, so that delayed the land-fill solution even longer.

In the right situation, bubble wrap would be a great option - definitely less attractive to mice than rice!
 
Hayley Stewart
Posts: 51
Location: Zone 5ish, Ontario, CA
17
fungi foraging cooking fiber arts homestead ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Of course! The double-pane effect! Thanks Pearl for the clarification, and a very good note about the filler conforming to cracks. The rice definitely does a good job of wedging itself into crevasses. In fact, I've been using my skinny rice snake to take care of a vertical gap in the door until I can refill it - which will probably be at some point today.
 
pollinator
Posts: 343
80
dog trees books bee medical herbs
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Nice job on the making of the snake! As far as using rice, we have been doing so for years and have never had a mouse be interested in having any. They come for all kinds of other things in our house, and can easily fit right under one of the doors a snake is in front of if they wanted to, but have never been interested in the rice.
 
Hayley Stewart
Posts: 51
Location: Zone 5ish, Ontario, CA
17
fungi foraging cooking fiber arts homestead ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Annie Collins wrote:Nice job on the making of the snake! As far as using rice, we have been doing so for years and have never had a mouse be interested in having any. They come for all kinds of other things in our house, and can easily fit right under one of the doors a snake is in front of if they wanted to, but have never been interested in the rice.



Oh! That's good to know. Good myth-busting.
 
Pearl Sutton
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 6994
Location: SW Missouri
3238
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Weird. Wonder why mice wouldn't want it? Cats in the area maybe? I have never seen a mouse turn down anything anywhere close to edible (soap is only close to edible, in my eyes.)
 
pollinator
Posts: 1612
Location: Denmark 57N
444
fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have one here that I made from an old unwanted scarf, if you have any that someone has knitted you that are in reality truly hideous then folded in half and sown up on each side they make an excellent draft excluder, mine is filled with rolled up net curtains which means the entire thing can go in the wash, Important because they get filthy.
 
Hayley Stewart
Posts: 51
Location: Zone 5ish, Ontario, CA
17
fungi foraging cooking fiber arts homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's a quick update on how things are going with the big ol bubble wrap boy.
It's.... annoying. As Pearl mentioned, the idea is to cover up the gaps, and since the bubble wrap has so much structure it doesn't hug gaps nicely. It might be better if you use the small bubble kind that is quite pliable and mix it in with other fillers, but I wouldn't recommend it. I actually took her advice and just rolled up an old scratchy towel and held it together with some rubber bands, which is great for a couple reasons - 1: no sewing required 2: takes 20 seconds to make 3: can double as a long mop when you come in with snowy boots and 4: can go in the wash! Sometimes the simplest things really are the best.
 
Posts: 140
7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Doorsnakes have to be heavy enough to press down and sideways.  I don't think that bubble wrap or packing peanuts are heavy enough.

If you use kitty litter, use non-clumping kitty litter or it becomes a petrified door snake.

A better thing to do, however is to fix the door.   Get a sweep type from Home Depot for $Can12.98
 
Hayley Stewart
Posts: 51
Location: Zone 5ish, Ontario, CA
17
fungi foraging cooking fiber arts homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi again! I decided to do a very quick amendment that turned this into a useful, way more effective door snake. If I could go back and edit my original post I would, so that nobody tries my terrible plastic idea, lol.

- I got my hands on some all-purpose sand for about $3 for a 20kg bag.
- I unpicked the edge where I filled it up, pulled out the bubble wrap and dumped whatever cat litter was inside back into the old litter container.
- I sewed a new seam straight down the middle of the snake, and another seam about a 1/4" parallel to it, leaving a bit of room at the top for me to fold it over later. This is going to keep it from bulging out too much and give it more height, which is what I was missing.
- I accidentally bought the wrong cat litter (we're transitioning to a non-clay-based kind) so I alternated scoops of that with some sand, and funnelled it into each new tube. Making two little tube chambers instead of one is a WAY more efficient method if you have a door like mine that has a big gap or a weird slant to the edge. The chamber method uses less filler and keeps the snake from losing too much length too - it actually spans the length of the door now!
- Fold the raw edges inside, and whipstitch shut again.
- Marvel in the fact that it's basically like having two mini door snakes which sit on top of one another and really can get snuggled into any weird shapes.

The fix took maybe 20 minutes max. I feel pretty dumb for thinking the bubble wrap could work, but maybe the chambers would be good for packing in more malleable plastic and some other heavy fillers, since I will admit this is a pretty freakin' heavy door snake now.

Anyways! Yay! I fixed it!
Snakefix_3.jpg
[Thumbnail for Snakefix_3.jpg]
Snakefix_2.jpg
[Thumbnail for Snakefix_2.jpg]
Snakefix_1.jpg
[Thumbnail for Snakefix_1.jpg]
 
Posts: 53
Location: 5000' Albuquerque, NM
31
hugelkultur forest garden building rocket stoves woodworking greening the desert
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Thanks for this terrific thread, Haley. Another stuffing for the snake is cedar bedding from the pet store. I buy it in bales for under $10. After winter, I put the cedar-stuffed snakes in my closets to protect my wool clothing from moths. This other function gets those serpents out of the way during the "off season" and offers multi-purpose utility. I haven't had a moth problem in the house since I started keeping snakes in the dark reaches of the closet (about 7 years). The cedar-stuffed door snakes are easy to hide in the backs of the shelves and between sweater piles. They are $100's cheaper than lining your closet with cedar boards. I have never had to "refresh" the snakes but I imagine that additional cedar oil could boost the pleasant fragrance.

P.S. The cedar stuffed snakes are washable. I hose them off and dry in the sun.
 
Too many men are afraid of being fools - Henry Ford. Foolish tiny ad:
SKIP book kickstarter video script
https://permies.com/t/155873/SKIP-book-kickstarter-video-script
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic