APT: Washington Heights

Draft python.

IKEA GREA draft snake - doorsixteen.com

Do you ever forget that you know how to make stuff? Like, with your hands?

My first impulse when I need something that’s sewn is to look on Etsy, so I suggested as much to Evan when we decided we need a draft snake for the front door to our apartment (we installed a door sweep already, but the dogs still obsess over the sliver of light that creeps in at night). He quickly located a cute one, made sure it was long enough, and placed an order.

Then the snake arrived, and we filled it with rice. All was grand until we put it down in front of the door and discovered that a rice-stuffed snake is shorter than a snake skin. It was also so skinny that it wouldn’t reach over the threshold to actually cover the gap under the door. Oops.

I was all set to hop back on Etsy and look for a replacement snake in a large enough size, when I remembered that Hey! I actually have a ton of fabric and a sewing machine! And I know how to sew! I’m no master seamstress by any means, but I can certainly sew a flat rectangle when the need arises.

And so, I got to work on the World’s Largest Draft Snake. It’s 38″ long, 16″ around, and filled to the fangs with 7 pounds of rice. It’s a DRAFT PYTHON.

I used a piece of my precious linen Grea fabric (previously seen acting as a curtain in the dressing room at my house), designed by Maria Vinka for IKEA’s 2007 PS line. This fabric makes me so happy. I don’t mind that it took me almost three years to find the right use for it!

No, I’m not going to post instructions. Okay, yes I will: (1) Measure fabric. Cut. (2) Fold in half, good side in. (3) Stitch on three sides. Invert. (4) Fill with dried rice or beans. (5) Stitch open end. DONE.

As I write this, the dogs are sleeping peacefully, draft python in place, hallway light sliver obscured. 60 miles north of here, the too-small-for-the-apartment draft garter snake is doing a great job blocking the gap under the door to the attic in the house. Everyone wins!

IKEA GREA draft snake - doorsixteen.com

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  • Reply megan February 9, 2010 at 12:10 am

    i had never heard of a draft snake until reading this post! your snake–er, python–is so pretty, though. love that fabric.

  • Reply victoria February 9, 2010 at 12:12 am

    i forget all the time. and that is gorgeous fabric!

  • Reply Laura February 9, 2010 at 12:32 am

    Martha has these on her site and she filled hers with highend ‘green’ unused kitty litter. Very cool on your site too!

  • Reply Shayna February 9, 2010 at 12:49 am

    Not only do I love your draft python, but your sewing instructions gave me major DIY scrunchy flashbacks to my junior high days (in a good way). Remember when the Gap used to make coordinating scrunchies and lady boxer shorts???

  • Reply Vic @ Swoonette February 9, 2010 at 12:51 am

    Oh I love your snake! I unfortunately suffer the opposite problem. I am convinced I can make almost anything (I really can’t mind you), and thus I end up never making it because said object is far too complicated for my skills, and yet I never actually purchase said object because in my head I’m still convinced that I can make it… eventually! Maybe one day I’ll learn!

  • Reply Audrie February 9, 2010 at 1:06 am

    Love the fabric you used! I agree, they’re very easy to make and very very useful!

  • Reply Josh (in Wonderland) February 9, 2010 at 1:13 am

    Oh my freakin god! That fabric is seriously the best thing I’ve ever seen. If only IKEA still sold it…I would buy the entire spool of it…or two.

    That rambling aside, I love the python 😀 Oh, and I identify with your dogs. I hate that hallway light sliver!

  • Reply lsaspacey February 9, 2010 at 1:32 am

    Note: You can also use cheap aquarium rocks to fill them, that’s what I used for my draft snake. That way I can use them on the patio doors even when it rains.

  • Reply Dan February 9, 2010 at 2:01 am

    I think it’s so cute that Bruno and Fritz couldn’t handle the light!
    This is how I imagine it:

    Bruno: I dunno, man. I just don’t know.

  • Reply Fiona February 9, 2010 at 4:32 am

    Perfection as usual. I thought you were going to tell us this was some fabulously rare piece of textile history. Which only goes to prove your earlier point in the Saarinen table post about designer prices versus quality.

  • Reply Tiel February 9, 2010 at 5:05 am

    i think the fabric and your instructions are perfect!!

  • Reply martha February 9, 2010 at 7:02 am

    you are funny.
    now you can open your own etsy shop -Door Sixteen Draft Snakes.

    I think you should make a one that has swallowed a mouse:)

  • Reply Lisa February 9, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Fabulous – I have been needing one and you inspired me to make my own. I only wish I could get this gorgeous fabric. Did I read above that it was at Ikea? Crazy!

  • Reply Jen Jafarzadeh February 9, 2010 at 8:43 am

    I think I need a draft snake for my drafty window. love yours!

  • Reply Mary-Ellen February 9, 2010 at 9:05 am

    “Filled to the fangs” you kill me! I think I have the world’s smallest front door at 29 inches. It affects every furniture purchase I make.

  • Reply paige February 9, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Aren’t you worried the puppers will try to kill the snake and eat the insides?? That’s exactly the kind of thing my dog would do…

    • Mar November 9, 2010 at 3:05 pm

      My chocolate lab DID eat the rice….what a mess!

  • Reply eva February 9, 2010 at 9:35 am

    it’s cute! and hopefully effective.

    as a sidenote, for myself, I’m opposed to using food for anything other than eating–so much human labor, not to mention resources, etc, goes into the creation of rice that I can’t justify, personally, using it for house decorations. that’s me, though. and that said, I hope your apartment does not have rodents, because they may also take an interest (not likely as you have dogs but it has happened to people before).

  • Reply elisabeth February 9, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Very clever and very pretty. I think the fabric works better as a snake than a curtain, primarily because in the picture you posted, the light coming through the curtain takes away from the beauty of the fabric.

    I was finally able to get my hands on the hanging lamp you have in your dressing room. It is so pretty. I cannot wait until it is perched above our dining table!!

  • Reply Lori February 9, 2010 at 9:56 am

    That is hysterical. A draft python… You know what intimidates me about sewing? Preparing the sewing machine. Threading the bobbin, just everything that goes along with it… I have glorious ideas in my noggin of the many things I could do but then the dreaded “threading of the machine” stops me dead in my tracks. And the fact I have no machine. That is another small sticking point… Great job on your draft snake!:)

  • Reply Melissa de la Fuente February 9, 2010 at 9:58 am

    That is awesome! The MOST gorgeous fabric ever….:)

  • Reply celine February 9, 2010 at 10:14 am

    I seriously love that fabric. I can’t believe it is from ikea!

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 9, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Vic: You could definitely make this yourself, I promise. 🙂

    Dan: Reverse the roles, and you’ve got the dog conversation pretty nailed down. Fritz just goes along with whatever Bruno says…and then takes it to an extreme.

    Lisa: The fabric was part of IKEA’s 2007 PS collection, so it’s no longer available, sadly.

    paige: The snake is only on the floor during the nighttime, and our dogs would really rather cuddle in bed with us when we’re sleeping than go on a demo rampage.

    eva: The only rodent in the apartment is a geriatric mouse. Her name is Maude, and she lives in a tank.

    Lori: Thread the machine 10 times in a row. You won’t think it’s hard anymore once you’re familiar with the pattern the thread makes!

    celine: IKEA is known for having beautiful textiles — you should take a look sometime!

  • Reply Melissa February 9, 2010 at 11:08 am

    Great idea! I use that fabric as a runner on my dining room table. It’s awesome.

  • Reply heather February 9, 2010 at 11:46 am

    This is such a cute draft “python!” My mother and I made about 20 of these a few weekends ago (assembly line style) for all of the drafty windows in my house. They are no where near as cute as this one though – we just used plain white fabric. We put perlite in them because I read that it acts just like insulation. Then we ran out of perlite and couldn’t find more because it’s the middle of winter!

  • Reply Megan February 9, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    You make the smallest projects seem inspiring! It is such a good reminder that nothing is too small to be well-designed and beautiful. Love it, and lovely fabric.

  • Reply Live a Colorful Life February 9, 2010 at 1:53 pm

    I’m completely snake phobic. I almost couldn’t open up this blog post. Whew.

    Love the fabric. And the sssssssssnake.

  • Reply jodi February 9, 2010 at 3:39 pm

    it looks so wonderful! love that fabric. nice job!

    i’m sure i could make one, too, once i re-learn how to thread my sewing machine. =)

  • Reply robin February 9, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    i just made one too for the door that leads to our drafty basement. i bought one of those “as seen on tv” twin draft guard from target and recovered it in an amy butler fabric. it makes me so happy when i look at i and it really has warmed up our 1st floor. btw, i don’t know how to use a sewing machine (a shame, i know) so i handsewed it during “what not to wear.”

  • Reply Ella February 9, 2010 at 5:14 pm

    I love this fabric.

  • Reply Dan February 9, 2010 at 5:44 pm

    Can I request a post about Maude (LOVE the name)? I’m fascinated with your abiding love of small rodents… people just don’t understand how awesome they are. And I’m guessing her home is exquisitely decorated, as is the apartment that surrounds her!

  • Reply Lynn February 9, 2010 at 6:55 pm

    this is the best draft dodger tutorial ever. I made one, and love it and it works sooooooo well. and cheap!


  • Reply Beate February 9, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    Hi, I recommend you take a look at emmas designblog today. I think she has a post that would interest you;-)

  • Reply Agnes February 9, 2010 at 8:20 pm

    This is really neat, first time hearing about the draft snake too.
    Anna, have you seen the latest post @ Emma’s blog:
    You will LOVE those black drop shaped pegs. I want to see them in your house or the new apt on a wall soon.

  • Reply Agnes February 9, 2010 at 8:36 pm

    Beate, I seriously didn’t see your comment.
    Anna will be surprised to see the tear shaped thingies, whatever they are.

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 9, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    heather: I really need to make tiny snakes for my windows, too. Maybe next year! Thanks for the perlite tip — I’ll have to remember that (and stock up in advance).

    Dan: Maude is a little camera-shy (and very old), but I’ll try. And yes, I have a real soft spot in my heart for rodents. 🙂 Especially rats…

    Beate & Agnes: That’s okay, I always appreciate people sharing things they think I’ll like! I read Emma’s blog every day, so I’ve already seen them earlier. 🙂 I actually saw a picture of them several months ago, and I inquired as to their availability — at the moment, though, they are just prototypes.

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 9, 2010 at 8:55 pm

    p.s. You can get a better view here.

  • Reply Nicolette February 10, 2010 at 12:03 am

    That first line cracked me up. Like, loud enough that I may have woken sleeping cats.

    I recall that fabric and I LOVED it too. But I just couldn’t figure out what to do with it at the time. Should have stockpiled like yourself.

  • Reply Kim Mancha February 10, 2010 at 12:03 am

    add me to the list of instantly inspired!

  • Reply Beate February 10, 2010 at 7:12 am

    Haha, should have known you’d seen it before me;-)

  • Reply Sandra February 10, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    Hi, I really love your blog – and I was very touched by your messages about Michael Jackson.
    I also made some “snakes” – here in Portugal we call it “chouriços” (a type of sausage) but they’re too narrow, I’ve to make new ones. I’m thinking of making some for the outer side of the doors, because my dogs surely will destroy them.

  • Reply Agnes February 10, 2010 at 4:45 pm

    Yeah Beate, we shoulda known Anna is the go to ask (go ask Anna), not the other way round. 😉
    Speaking of which, Anna I meant to ask you about flickr images in your photostream. I wanted to post photos from the net- magazines and other blogs in my photostream but don’t you need an approval to upload someone else’s photos. I mean they must be copyrighted. How do you make you sure that the photos you upload are ok to be posted @ flickr?

  • Reply Anna at D16 February 10, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    Agnes: Um…I don’t? I try to make it clear which are mine and if they’re not, exactly where they came from (with links). So far, no one has complained. If they do…well, then I’ll have some deleting to do. (Sometimes asking me for advice might not be the best idea!!)

  • Reply Agnes February 10, 2010 at 8:30 pm

    I thought so. 🙂 Don’t ask, don’t tell policy the same as in redecorating rented apartments.
    I am in awe of your courage in life Anna. Thank you for your answer.

  • Reply nicita February 11, 2010 at 8:15 am

    Just discovered /thnx to AT/ your blog. I love your clean blog- design. Love snow and white floors as well.

  • Reply Martini February 13, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    such a good idea.

  • Reply Sara February 16, 2010 at 10:57 am

    Thanks for the inspiration to make one for myself! Just finished it – two tone light and grey linen. I love it!

  • Reply Emily February 24, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    Oh I do wish little New Zealand had Ikea *sigh*. I will be spending up large on fabric when I next go to Australia!
    Your snake reminds me of the one my mum used to have at the front door – it was huge, with a zip in it and full of tiny scrap fabric that she didn’t want to throw out but couldn’t find a use for. I used to rummage in it for fabric for my dolls house.

  • Reply Lauren March 13, 2010 at 1:36 am

    cutest way to keep out the draft that i ever did see.

  • Reply mary March 24, 2010 at 10:14 am

    OHHHH, I did the same thing this year!!! http://www.flickr.com/photos/littlebitsys/4358955335/

    I love your home. : )

  • Reply pve April 27, 2010 at 6:47 am

    r u sure that it is not a boa?

  • Reply chelle October 8, 2010 at 9:21 am

    Can these “draft snakes” be used vertically? My cats have a habit of ripping the weather-stripping off of all my exterior doors. (It’s their way of letting me know that they want to come in the house.) The bottoms of the doors are fine, it’s the sides that are letting in the light and the cold air. Help me, I can’t afford another winter of $600/month electric bills.

  • Reply Anna at D16 October 8, 2010 at 12:23 pm

    @chelle: The reason draft snakes work so well at the bottom of doors and windows is that they have gravity on their side — I don’t think that they’d work well in a vertical application. Weather stripping really is the way to go. Maybe you could try the rubber kind to see if it’s less appealing to your cats than the foam kind?

  • Reply Kalee November 9, 2010 at 9:46 am

    I had been googling DIY instructions for this all night (literally) when this popped up on Money Saving Mom. Yay!

  • Reply amy December 27, 2010 at 10:33 pm

    the only problem with filling it with rice or beans is that mice love these 2 things…in an apartment bldg, that’s a real consideration…then you’d wish the snake were real 🙂

    • Anna @ D16 December 27, 2010 at 10:44 pm

      I’ve been using it every night for almost a year now and haven’t had any issues, so I’m not going to sweat it. 🙂

  • Reply Leah February 6, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Great draft python! During a very frugal moment, I, too, made a draft stopper from some jean fabric. I stuffed it with strips of old jeans! (Yes, it was a very frugal moment!) One of my complaints of previous draft stoppers in my life was that I always had to move them to open the door. My solution was to sew a tab across the top and sew some small magnets inside that hold onto the door as you open and close it. Of course this is only useful on a metal outside door. One day when the kids are all grown, the homeschool days are done and I am sitting alone growing older, I just might be making my fortune selling these amazing draft stoppers! Until then, I am passing along my idea to you!

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