How to Make a Union Jack Flag

Written by martha adams
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How to Make a Union Jack Flag
Almost anything can be decorated with the Union Jack. (Geir Pettersen/Photodisc/Getty Images)

The Union Jack is the national flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and is a very complex pattern composed of separate symbols representing three countries: Scotland (Cross of St. Andrew), Ireland (Cross of St. Patrick) and England (Cross of St. George). A simplified version of the patterns can be made with fabric, paper, flower petals, cake frosting or just about any material from living plants to sand and still be recognisable as this time-honoured symbol. The traditional colours are red, white and blue, but you can use other colours or patterns and still create a recognisable Union Jack pattern.

Lay a sheet of blue paper on a table.

Use the ruler to draw a rectangle twice as long as it is wide.

Use the scissors to cut out the rectangle. This is the field.

Measure the field diagonally from one upper corner to the opposite lower corner.

Cut two strips of white paper of that length.

Make each strip one-fifth of the height of the field in width.

Glue these strips on the field from corner to corner on the field, overlapping them to form the saltire, or X-shaped cross. This forms the national symbol of Scotland, which was joined with England in 1606.

Cut strips of red paper the same length as those you made for the Cross of St. Andrew, but one -fifteenth of the field in width.

Lay these strips on top of the diagonal strips of the Cross of St. Andrew, in the centre of those strips.

Glue them in place. This creates a representation of the Cross of St. Patrick (a red saltire on a white field), which was added to the Union Jack in 1801 to symbolise the joining of peoples from Scotland and Ireland to form the Ulster Nation, now known as Northern Ireland. This is where this simplified version departs from the official version, in which the Cross of St. Patrick is arranged differently.

Cut one strip of white paper the length of the blue field from right to left. Make it 7/15 the height of the field.

Cut another white strip of the same width, but make it the length of the field from top to bottom.

Center the longer one on the Union Jack from top to bottom and glue it in place.

Center the shorter one on the Union Jack from right to left to form a cross and glue it in place. This forms the field of the Cross of St. George, the symbol of England since 1194 under Richard I.

Cut two strips of red paper the same length as those in Step 1, but only one-fifth the height of the field in width..

Center these two red strips on the white strips that form the filed of the Cross of St. George, and glue them in place. These form the arms of the Cross of St. George.

Tip

Whatever the actual size of your Union Jack, choose dimensions that are easily divided by 15. If you choose nontraditional colours or patterns, be sure to chart and label or remember carefully which represents each of the traditional colours. If rendering this design on a very large scale, such as with flowers or even blooming plants, or on a small scale, such as with beading on fabric, cross-stitch or knitting, it is best to abandon layering, draw the design on the background and label each section for colour.

Warning

The Union Jack has changed many times in its past for political reasons, and may do so again. Wales is part of the United Kingdom but is not included in the pattern, although the Red Dragon has occasionally been seen centred on the Cross of St. George. The possibilities also include Scotland withdrawing from the UK become a separate nation again.

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