American Flag Folding Instructions

American Flag Folding Instructions

American Flag Folding Instructions: A Step-by-Step Guide

The American flag is a cherished symbol of national pride and unity. Honoring it with proper care and respect is a fundamental duty for every citizen. One of the most meaningful ways to do so is by folding the flag in accordance with established traditions.


  • American flag

Instructions for Standard Triangle Fold:

Step 1: Lay the Flag Flat

  • Spread the flag out flat on a clean and level surface.

Step 2: Fold the Stripes

  • Locate a point on the stripe closest to the staff (blue union).
  • Fold this stripe over the next stripe, towards the staff.
  • Continue folding all the stripes towards the staff in this manner until only the blue union is visible.

Step 3: Fold the Field of Stars (Union)

  • Take the top point of the blue union (where the stars are) and fold it down to just above the last folded stripe.
  • Smooth out the folds and creases as you go.

Step 4: Fold the Triangles

  • Starting from the point of the folded union, fold the right corner of the flag over the left corner to form a triangle.
  • Repeat with the left corner, folding it over the right corner to make another triangle.

Step 5: Tuck the Tail

  • Take the bottom, pointed end of the triangle (the "tail") and tuck it inside the triangle by pulling it through the opening.

Step 6: Smooth and Finalize

  • Smooth out any wrinkles or creases in the folded flag.
  • Ensure that the triangles are even and the tail is fully tucked in.

Alternative Methods for Special Occasions:

  • Coffin Fold: A specific variation of the triangle fold used to drape over the coffin of a deceased veteran or military member.
  • Pallbearer Fold: A larger, more elaborate fold used when the flag is carried by pallbearers at a funeral.
  • Half-Staff Fold: A fold that is displayed when the nation is in mourning or remembrance. The flag is hoisted to the top of the staff and then lowered to half-staff.

Respectful Handling:

  • Treat the flag with the utmost care at all times.
  • Fold it neatly and store it properly when not in use.
  • Never use the flag as a tablecloth, bedding, or clothing.
  • If the flag becomes torn or damaged, dispose of it respectfully by burning it.


Q: Why is the flag folded in a specific way?

A: The triangle fold is a traditional symbol of honor and respect for the flag and the nation it represents.

Q: Can I fold the flag with anyone else?

A: Yes, it is common for multiple people to participate in folding the flag, especially during official ceremonies.

Q: What if I make a mistake while folding the flag?

A: Start over and fold the flag again. It is important to take your time and ensure the fold is precise and respectful.

Q: How often should I fold the flag?

A: It is not necessary to fold the flag on a regular basis. It is typically done during official ceremonies, when the flag is displayed, or when it needs to be stored.

Q: What is the proper way to display a folded flag?

A: The folded flag should be placed flat on a table or other flat surface. It can also be displayed on a wall using a flag bracket.


  • United States Flag Code (36 U.S. Code)
  • American Legion Flag Folding Ceremony Guide
  • Veterans Administration Burial and Memorial Benefits

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