Flag Folding

The Martha Stewart Show, May 2008

The triangular shape of a properly folded American flag symbolically represents the three-cornered hat worn by Colonial soldiers in the Revolutionary War. The American flag is most commonly flown on holidays such as Flag Day, Independence Day, and Veteran's Day, but it can be flown from sunrise to sunset on any day of the year. When not on display, it should be respectfully folded into a triangular shape.

Flag Folding How-To
It takes two people to properly fold a flag.

1. Hold the flag waist high and parallel to the ground, keep the tension in the fabric at all times. Never allow any part of the flag to touch the ground. Make a lengthwise fold to bring the striped section over the "canton," or the blue section that contains the stars.

2. Make a second lengthwise fold, bringing the canton to the outside so it is on top.

3. Starting at the end opposite the canton, make a triangular fold. Take the outermost point of your triangular edge and fold it up, forming a second triangle.

4. Continue making triangles 7 times or more, until the last triangular fold brings the stripes to the canton. Tuck the remaining flap into the slot formed between the stars and stripes. This last step, which brings the red and white stripes into the blue canton, symbolizes the day's light vanishing into the darkness of the night.

Special Thanks
Special thanks to Ten Speed Press for giving everyone in our studio audience a copy of Kit Hinrich's book, "Long May She Wave." Special thanks to Annin & Co., the world's oldest and largest flag manufacturer, for supplying the flags used on the show, and for giving everyone in our studio audience a porch flag kit, a parade flag, and a flag etiquette book.

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