For my kick-off “Weatherize this” post — a series of posts I’ll be publishing about affordable DIY weatherization accoutrement — I focused on caulk, not the most titillating topic. While caulking around windows and doors is a vital way to conserve household energy and save on heating bills, talking about it is, well, as exciting as watching caulk compound dry.

Today, I’m highlighting a home weatherization must-have that performs a similar role as caulk — keeping warm air and cold air out — but has more appeal to arts and crafts enthusiasts than to construction-oriented fix-it fanatics: the humble, beloved, and often animal-shaped draft stopper.

Draft stoppers, also called draft dodgers and door snakes, are tube-shaped objects of various lengths made with fabric (often excess/scrap fabric) and filled with some kind of insulating stuffing. You’ll most often find them placed against the bottom of closed  doors or on window ledges to block pesky winter drafts from entering a room. Additionally, they come in handy when sealing off garages, basements, attics, and unoccupied rooms.

While considered more a decorative quick fix than a heavy duty winterization tool, draft stoppers are still effective and have an endearing low-tech charm. Plus, unlike caulk compounds and weatherstripping, you can make ‘em yourself on the cheap and give them personalized flair.

There are numerous online DIY draft stopper tutorials since making one is a relatively easy sewing project where you can get really creative and incorporate unused fabric like those too-small denim jeans. Check out eHow, Crafty Crafty, Not Martha, GreenUPGRADER, and The Daily Green for instructions and inspiration. Or, if you’re scared of (sewing) needles, below are a few already-made draft stoppers both funky and more straightforward. 

38-inch Scented Window & Door Draft Stopper 102BK @ Alice's Home & Cottage ($13)

Decidoussoul's 36-inch Draft Stopper @ Etsy ($24)

Craftyllama's Archibald the Draft Snake (approx. 36 inches) @ Etsy ($40)

Door Draft Dodger - Warm Elegance Wine (36 inches) @ Bed Bath & Beyond ($14.99)

Ohthecuteness Draft Snake - The Tomboy (20 inches) @ Etsy ($7.50)

36-inch Draft Dodger (blue) @ Gaiam ($20)

Matt Hickman ( @mattyhick ) writes about design, architecture and the intersection between the natural world and the built environment.

Weatherize this: Draft stoppers
Whatever you call 'em — draft stoppers, draft dodgers or door snakes — these affordable, often handcrafted leak sealers keep warm air in and cold air out d