What does a Garden Gnome do when she is not gardening, in the kitchen or doing genealogy? Well the answer might just surprise you so read the entries to find out more. This blog focuses on everything we do to make our house a home. There will be a strong emphasis on home energy efficiency and do-it-yourself (DIY) projects. At the same time there will also be crafts, knitting and crocheting projects along with any other little tips we do to create that down to earth, I want to be here home. Please enjoy your visit :)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Winterizing Project #4 - Door Snakes

Door thresholds can be chilly even if the door is well sealed and insulated. Not only does cold air fall to the threshold area, thresholds are often made of metal that is a good conductor of cold. The simple solution to this problem is a door snake aka draft stop. I prefer to not call these draft stops because ideally there will not be any drafts around the door or at the threshold.

Door snakes can be purchased to fit average sized doors. Some are plain Jane but there are some really cute ones that have faces on or are made to look like animals. However, finding door snakes for patio doors or off sized doors can be a problem. The easiest solution is to make your own. That way you will have a custom made door snake that meets your needs.


This is an ideal project whether you own your home or are renting. It is one of those things you can easily take with you when you move. The first step is to measure the spot where you are putting the door snake (1). If it is an inside application as here, add 2 inches to the end plus the seam allowances to give a bit of bend to fit both doors. If the application is for a single door, measure from the edge of the trim furthest from the door. Cut a length of fabric this length and 16 - inches wide. Fold the fabric in half along the long side.

You will need a sewing machine for this project. Mine happens to be a very loved, well maintained, older Brother (2) that my Mom gave me for my thirteenth birthday. It works as well as the day I got it. The only thing that has changed is the skill of the user! Start at one open end and working along the long side, sew a seam 5/8 - inch wide (3), reinforcing at each end. Repeat along the bottom open end and up the remaining long side. Cut across from the short end to the long end about 1/4 - inch from the reinforced corners to reduce the seam bulk when you turn the tube. Turn the tube and fill leaving about 2 inches. Turn 5/8 - inch inwards. Sew the end closed.

Filling the tube is rather easy but choose your filling based on your circumstances. Dried corn, rice or peas are cheap fillers but should not be used if you have a rodent problem or a potential rodent problem. If the door snake will be in an area where it may get wet, grains my mold too. Aquarium gravel can be used that will eliminate both problems but is more expensive. I decided to use kitty litter that will eliminate any rodent problems and is less expensive but can be a slight problem if it gets wet. Drying out well should solve any wetting problems. A layer of plastic can be sewn into the tube if moisture is a concern.

Finished Door Snake

The finished door snake for a patio door is quite heavy. It is higher than a store bought door snake so it comes up higher on the door. The extra length allows for a bend for patio doors. Using the door snake is quite easy. Lay it along the doors creating any bends as necessary. Once in place, lightly kick the snake to snug up against the doors.

On an unused patio door, the door snake will not get dirty enough to worry about. At the end of the season, gather up the snake and store as is. If the snake has become dirty, you can remove the end stitches, empty and wash the covering or you can simply make a new slip covering for the snake to fit into, much like a miniature, elongated pillow case.

DIY Skills: beginner level with beginner level sewing skills


length of firm woven fabric

Garden Gnome
© 2007


chronic chick said...

Cool tips

chronic chick said...

Nice tips thanks so much :)

Ada said...

Glad to see you back on the rocket ;).
Like the new layout and thanks for the tips.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your instructions!!!
Can't wait to start!!!