To return to my dryer lint theme, I do have another project that I used dryer lint in–only you would never know it to look at it! Our old farmhouse passed its century mark some time ago and has a great deal of what is lovingly referred to as “character”; a euphemism that covers a host of flaws! One of those flaws is a front door that has a gap at the bottom and sits somewhat crooked in its frame. While this door is protected on the outside by a porch, the gap makes it difficult to retain our heat and air and allows various small creatures access to the house. We could not attach a plate to the bottom of the door because the floor is uneven, so we have been using a standard draft stopper to block the gap. The only problem with this approach is that there is no way to put the stop against the door after everyone has left the house! I needed another solution.
I have seen rolling draft stoppers advertised in magazines, but the design looked simple enough that I could make one for myself. I set about gathering the supplies seen in the photo on the right: a felted sweater, a plastic-coated wire hanger, the cardboard tube from a roll of gift wrap, a brown paper bag, two matching bottle caps that fit snugly onto the ends of the tube, and some dryer lint.
The first step was to strengthen the tube and add to its diameter. The center of the tube needed to be just slightly bigger than the ends so that plastic caps would not rub against the door as it rolled. I opened up the paper bag along its seam and laid it flat on my work surface. I cut it down a little bit so that it would go around the tube several times but left room at either end for the bottle caps to slip directly onto the tube without going over the paper bag. Then I glued the bag onto the tube using decoupage glue. I did not worry too much about the few wrinkles that developed as I glued since I planned to cover them, but I did watch to make sure that the tube did not become uneven. I needed it to remain as straight as possible. I pressed out as many wrinkles as I could and left it to dry overnight.
Next, I turned my attention to the two bottle caps. Using a wood-burning tool (a heated ice pick or nail will also work), I melted a hole large enough to accommodate a piece of plastic-coated clothes hanger through the exact center of the caps . Then I painted the lids with a spray paint specially formulated for use on plastic.
After the tube was dry, I took an additional precaution to protect it from moisture by covering its entire length with a piece of contact paper. Then I turned my attention to what would be the exterior of the roller. For this, I used the sleeves of a felted wool J Crew sweater that I found in a Goodwill store. This was the perfect color for my needs in this project, and felted wool is wonderfully easy to work with. Other options that would also work well would be a remnant of fleece or some types of fake fur. I cut the sleeves loose from the sweater, removed the seams and cuffs, and put them face down with their top edges together. Then I hand-stitched them together along their top edges with a whip stitch, being careful not to allow the stitching to go through to the front of the sweater. Next I pinned the sweater wrong-side-out around the tube and cut off the excess.
After I had the sleeves piece about the size that I needed it, I whip-stitched it around the tube. Once again, I was careful not stitch through to the front. When I had accomplished this, I removed the fabric from the tube and turned it right-side-out. Then I reinserted the tube and used a blind stitch to closed up the remaining exposed edge. The result was a nearly invisible seam line. You really have to be searching for it to find it!
Now I was ready to use the dryer lint to stuff the tube with! This would give the tube some weight and further strengthen the tube. I began by using a hot-glue gun to glue one of the caps to the end of the tube and also to tack down the edge of the sweater so that it stayed against the edge of the cap. Then I went to the opposite end and stuffed as much lint down the tube as I could, using a long wooded dowel to pack it down tightly as it filled. Then I glued the remaining cap and sweater edge in place.
The final step was to attach the tube to the door in a way that would allow it to roll but still keep it close enough to stop the drafts. I decided to use a bent piece of plastic-coated hanger. It needed to have the plastic coating on it to prevent the cap from being worn down over time with the action of turning. (For this part of the project, you may have to rely on the photos more than my written instructions!) I made the shape shown in the photo with a pair of pliers. My object was to have the hole for the screw line up just slightly over the cap and have the wire bend in such a way as to not rub the cap except where it touched in the center. I used an ice pick to open up a small area in the dryer lint for the hanger to slide into and then attached the whole unit to my door.
I confess that I had by doubts about how well this project would work out, but it has been doing a wonderful job for about three and a half months with no sign of a problem. However, my household no longer has small children who might try to stand on it or pets that like to claw and chew. These are some considerations that should be taken into account before investing time in this project.
God used this project in my life as an object lesson to demonstrate His greatness. All of the things that I used in the construction of this draft stopper are simple and unremarkable by themselves. Most of them would have been consigned to the trash heap long ago had they been in many other households. But these same items were redeemed and given a new purpose beyond anything that they could ever be on their own. In the same way, God has chose to take fallen man, whose very righteousness is as filthy rags, to redeem him, and to use him to achieve His perfect purposes. To further demonstrate His greatness, He chooses to use the humble and lowly. “For ye see your calling, brethern, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to nought things that are. That no flesh should glory in his presence. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” (I Corinthians 1:26-31) Glory to God, no human life is beyond His ability to redeem! Come to Him in humble faith, give Him all that you have and are, and He will give you a life and a purpose beyond anything you could ever have on your own!