User Reviewed

How to Fold an American Flag

The national flag of the United States of America is folded as part of a formalized and time-honored ritual, resulting in a neatly-folded triangular flag that you can display in between flying ceremonies.


  1. Image titled Fold an American Flag Step 1 preview
    Hold the flag with a partner. Folding the flag properly requires two sets of hands.[1] Hold the flag waist-high so that its surface is parallel to the ground.
  2. Image titled Fold an American Flag Step 2 preview
    Fold the flag in half lengthwise. Fold the lower half of the stripe section over the field of stars, holding the bottom and top edges securely. Make a gutter when folding, by folding it just below the grommet. This offset is to ensure the thickness of the flag and to ensure that there is no red showing.
  3. Image titled Fold an American Flag Step 3 preview
    Fold the flag again lengthwise with the blue field on the outside. Keep the crease tight and make sure the corners are aligned with the first fold's offset.
  4. 4
    Make a triangular fold. Bring the striped corner of the folded edge to meet the offset edge of the flag. It's important to start with the folded edge, to make sure the folds align correctly in the end.
  5. Image titled Fold an American Flag Step 5 preview
    Turn the outer end point inward. Fold the triangle you've just created, parallel to the open edge, to form a second triangle.
  6. Image titled Fold an American Flag Step 6 preview
    Continue the triangular folding for the entire flag. The entire sequence of folds should involve 13 folds, which represent the thirteen original colonies.
  7. Image titled Fold an American Flag Step 7 preview
    Ensure the flag is folded properly. When the flag is completely folded, only a triangular blue field of stars should be visible. Tuck the end into the fold to secure the flag in place. Make a 45 degree fold and then tuck the fabrics in. The finished flag must have no red showing, has four stars pointing upward, and square corners so that it can be easily inserted by the relatives of the deceased into a case for viewing.


  • A salute (hand over heart for those not in uniform) should be rendered when the flag is raised, lowered, or carried on parade, when the Pledge of Allegiance is recited, and when the national anthem is played.
  • Always display the flag properly.
  • Always treat the flag with respect.
  • This is for 5-by-9-1/2", or "funeral-sized" flags. If you have a flag of a smaller size (like the flag shown), you may have to adjust the technique accordingly.
  • Do not display the flag if it is raining, or if there is a thunderstorm, etc.
  • Never use it as part of a costume or athletic uniform. However, it is proper to attach a flag patch to the uniform of military personnel, firefighters, police officers and members of other patriotic organizations, provided the patch is properly affixed.
  • Always keep the flag clean and safe. Never let it become torn, soiled or damaged.
  • Always carry the flag aloft and free. Never carry it horizontally.
  • Always dispose of an American flag properly. Cut out the field of the flag (separate the stars from the stripes) and then burn it.
  • Never use it for advertising purposes, or embroider it on household items or pieces of clothing.[2]


  • Never let the flag touch the ground.

Article Info

Featured Article

Categories: Featured Articles | Flags