Since the first design of the American flag was created in 1777, there have been a total of 27 versions of the flag. If you fly your own American flag, it’s important to know proper flag etiquette.
There are many well-known rules for displaying the American flag, such as not letting it touch the ground. However, anyone displaying the stars and stripes should also know how to fold an American flag.
Folding an American flag is not just an important part of storage and care. The folding process also shows respect for the flag and what it represents.
If you’re looking for American flag folding tips, read on to learn everything you need to know!
United States Flag Code
The United States Flag Code lays out very specific rules and customs for the display and use of the flag.
How the flag should be displayed and disposed of is covered in the code. However, the code gives no official method for folding an American flag.
With nothing in the Flag Code about folding the flag, the “traditional” way to fold it came mostly from the military. Other organizations such as the VFW and the American Legion also played a part in solidifying the folding process.
How to Fold an American Flag
Now that you know the history behind American flags, keep reading for our American flag folding guide.
With one person on either end of the flag, hold it parallel to the ground and fold it in half lengthwise. The stripes should face up and the blue field should face the ground.
Fold the flag in half lengthwise one more time in the same direction. The blue field should now show on the top and bottom of the fold.
Starting at the stripe end, fold diagonally from the folded corner to the open edge to form a triangle.
Fold the triangle over toward the blue field so the end is rectangular again.
Keep folding the triangle over toward the blue field. One person should be folding the triangle while the other person holds the other end of the flag.
Continue folding the triangle in until you have no more room to fold it over. This should take 13 folds in total and you should be left with a rectangle of blue sticking out at the end.
Tuck the blue rectangle into the triangle. You should now have a triangular shape with only blue showing.
Letting any red show is known as letting the flag “bleed” and should be avoided.
Fold Your American Flag Correctly
Knowing how to fold an American flag properly is just as important as knowing how to display it. Not only will this extend the flag’s life, but it also shows respect for the flag.
Use this American flag folding guide the next time you need to take down your flag. Check out our blog page to learn about other fascinating topics!