How to make your own paper flags

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Colourful paper flags make wonderful decorations for celebrations or other special events such as street parties, village fetes or sporting occasions. You can buy British flags easily (and cheaply) enough but what do you do when you need a historical flag, an unusual size or shape, or perhaps a flag from an obscure country? The answer is to do as model makers worldwide have always done -- make your own paper flags!

Download a clear image of the flag you want to make from an online image or flag resource. Use one of the many free image sources or scan a flag image from an encyclopaedia or flag reference book. Save the image to your computer's "Pictures" folder.

Use design software to duplicate the image. All Windows computers come with the free Microsoft Paint software. Launch Paint and select "Open" from the drop-down menu under "File." Retrieve the saved picture from the folder in your Pictures folder. Go to "Image" and select "Flip/Rotate" then "Flip Horizontal" from the drop-down menus. The flag will now show as a mirror image. Go to "File" and save as a second image so that you have one each -- normal orientation and reverse orientation for the back of the flag.

Print one each of the two images. Cut them out with scissors.

Use a glue stick to glue the two images side by side on another piece of paper, allowing a small gap between each side to compensate for the thickness of the "pole" they will wrap around in the next step. Align the sides that contact the flagpole space together with the reverse orientation to the left and the normal orientation to the right.

Allow the glue to dry, and then cut out both flags together as one piece.

Choose a proportionately sized "flag pole" -- use round toothpicks for tiny flags, medium or large skewers for larger sizes or wooden dowels for the largest flags.

Fold the paper flag in half around the flagpole so that the two halves align perfectly. Use a glue stick to glue them together tightly around the pole.

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