How to Fold the American Flag

Handling & Care

Knowing how to properly fold the Flag of the United States is one way to honor the Flag and the values it represents. Folding the Flag takes can take time to learn, but with practice, it is something that anyone can do. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to fold the Flag of the United States:

Step 1:

A team of two people hold opposite ends of the Flag. Stretch it horizontally at waist height and fold it in half lengthwise with the stripes facing up and the blue field facing down. The Flag should now be half of its original width.

flag-respect

Step 2:

Together with your partner, fold the Flag in half lengthwise again. The union (blue field with stars) should be showing on both sides of the fold. The Flag should be half the width it was at the end of Step 1.

Step 3:

One person holds the Flag by the union while the other starts at the opposite end by making triangular folds. The person at the striped end should make all of the triangular folds while the person at the Union end keeps the flag taut. See the picture below to see how the Flag should look during this step.

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Step 4:

Continue the diagonal or triangular folding towards the blue union until the end is reached, with only the blue showing on both sides and the form resembling that of a three-corner hat or triangle. It typically takes 13 folds before this step is finished—a tribute to the original 13 colonies. The triangular product at the end of this step is meant to resemble the hats worn during the Revolutionary War. Your Flag is now ready to be stored until you are ready to fly it again.

 

When to Fold the Flag

Folding the Flag takes place after the Flag is lowered from its mast or mount. Flag etiquette directs that the Flag should only be flown between sunrise and sunset except when there is enough light during the night to illuminate it. The Flag should also be taken down in cases of severe weather unless it is made of a waterproof material like nylon. The idea is to only fly the Flag in good conditions, because otherwise, the Flag could be damaged. A damaged Flag should never be flown. If these steps are followed, your Flag will stay in pristine condition and proudly display its stars and stripes for years to come.