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How to Make an American Flag


As a way to honor president's day, my first grade class creates their own homemade American flag. This flag is made using a full flat white bed sheet and red, white & blue Crayola Tempera paint. Before beginning the project, wash and iron the sheet. Find a large area on the floor where this flag can be kept for three days without being moved. First, line the floor with some kind of paper (not newspaper) or cardboard to keep paint from getting on the carpet or floor. Then tape down the flag over the paper or cardboard to the floor stretching it out eliminating most of the wrinkles. The flag should be as smooth as possible. Once finished taping the sheet to the floor, measure the length between the stripes. With a tape measure or a yardstick, measure and mark a pencil line about every 6 inches. There should be a total of 12 marks from the top of the sheet to the bottom. Then from the marks, draw straight lines across the entire length of the flag creating the 13 stripes. Then draw a vertical line from the top of flag to the seventh stripe to make the square for the star area. This is about 45 X 51 inches from the left corner of the flag. Using masking tape, place tape on this vertical line and on the horizontal line back to the left edge of the flag. This will create a box for the star area. Taping the lines will keep blue paint from getting into the stripe area. With teacher guidance, the students can paint the star area all blue. Sponge brushes work best, avoid using paintbrushes. Let this dry overnight. The next day, you can peel the tape off of the star area and you should have a perfect box with straight lines. The students will create the stripes using their hands as stamps. Individually place the students' hands in red paint. Make sure the entire hand is covered in red paint, not too heavy on the paint. Then take the child's hand and place it on the stripe. The first stripe is red. Make sure the child spreads his/her fingers far apart. Have the student make three or four handprints in a row. Continue with all the students. Remember to keep the handprints very close to one another as well as keep the handprints going in the same direction. Also, stay in between the lines. Remember to skip every other stripe making the red/white pattern. Then let the flag dry overnight. If the pencil lines are apparent the next day, a large pink eraser will erase the lines. The next day have the students create the stars using white paint. The students can use their index fingers to draw on the stars. You can also use a star sponge if you prefer. Make sure to include all 50 stars. A suggestion would be to mark the place of each star forming vertical lines in the star area. Then let it dry again overnight. Remove the tape and hang for display. I would suggest using pins to hold this flag up; the flag tends to be heavy from the paint (See the finished products: http://www.nea.org/tips/content/flag.html).

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