How to Make Spinning Flags

How to make spinning flags

To make flags, you need a few things:

  • Suitable Fabric

    A light, draping weave, such as a silk, makes the best flag. Knits and stretch fabrics don’t work as well, since the weights tend to pull the flag out of shape and make it difficult to fly. Colors and patterns can make the visual quite amazing. Gold and silver tissue lamé are great for most lighting conditions. We of course prefer colors that glow under black light!

  • Weight

    You will need leaded weight tape or braided weight cord. Most fabric stores have this.

  • Sewing Machine

    or a needle, thread, and lots of patience

The fabric should be cut into two identical pieces. They can be square or rectangle. We have seen flags as small as 20″ square and as large as bed sheets. A good starter size is 45″ by 36″ rectangles. Take each piece and hem or fray check the unfinished edges. (You can leave the edges “as is” if you want them to fray. This can be an interesting visual effect, but be aware the threads can get tangled as you play.)

With the fabric laying flat, arrange the cut weighted cords in order, centered in one corner. They should be laid 1″ from the edge of the fabric.

Fold the fabric edge over the cords and pin into place. Zigzag stitch the weights in place. (This can also be done by hand). Stitch down the folded fabric edge to finish.

General Sizes for Flags

Small – 38″ x 32″
Medium – 45″ x 36″ – This is the standard size of most sets of dance flags.
Large – 54″ x 42″

For each flag, you will need two or three lengths of the weighted cord (see the calculator below for measurements). For a 42″ by 36″ light weight fabric flag, a 40″, 30″ and 20″ length should work fine.

 

Flagging Weight Calculator

We’ve resurrected this Flag Weight Calculator from the depths of the Internet so others may share it’s power. It used to live on spintribe.com. The calculator provides you with the proper lengths of curtain weight when you want to make your own flags. Thanks to and © 2005 Mark Ludwig for creating the original calculator.

Enter in the the size flag you want and whether you want your flag to be light, medium or heavy. Then press Calculate. The resulting numbers represent the lengths of lead curtain weight you’ll be needing to make your flags.

<— Length (long side) of flag
(in inches)
<— Width (short side) of flag
(in inches)

 

Calculations

Calculated size ratio
Calculated area of fabric (feet2)

Light Weight

length 1
length 2
width 1
width 2
first tier total
second tier total
total weight

Medium Weight

length 1
length 2
length 3
width 1
width 2
width 3
first tier total
second tier total
third tier total
total weight

Heavy Weight

length 1
length 2
length 3
width 1
width 2
width 3
first tier total
second tier total
third tier total
total weight

Note: this calculator requires a javascript enabled web browser to operate.