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How to Make Color Guard Flags

By Laura Jensel

Color guard isn't only about tall flags. Guard members can use other props too, including short flags. A short flag is generally 3 1/2 feet (1.07 m) long or less, and the flag fabric takes up all but about 4 inches (10 cm) of the pole. (A short flag is not the same as a swing flag, which is a similar size but has a swiveling pole.) Fancy performance flags are available at marching band suppliers online, but teams can make their own practice flags quickly and inexpensively. Plus, these homemade practice flags stand up well to hard, frequent use.

Measure and cut the dowels to the length you want the flags to be. Smooth any rough edges with sandpaper.

Measure and cut the polyester china silk to the correct size. Iron up a 1/2 inch hem on all sides, then repeat to encase the raw edges. Hem all four edges on the sewing machine with a straight seam.

Carefully staple the appropriate hem edge (usually one of the shorter edges, as most short flags are rectangular) to the wooden dowel. Make sure the top edge of the fabric is flush with the top of the dowel.

Lay the flag on a protected work surface and roll the dowel so a layer of fabric encases the dowel. Pipe a line of hot glue over the staples and press that glued edge onto the fabric below, keeping the fabric taut around the dowel. Hold it for about 10 seconds until it starts to set. Let it set and cool completely.

When the glue is completely cool, pipe another line of hot glue over the first line of glue for strength. Hold it for 10 seconds until it starts to set. Let everything set and cool completely before using the flag.

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