Betsy Ross and the American Flag

Cut a 5-Pointed Star in One Snip

Legend has it that when the George Washington and his associates first approached Betsy Ross regarding the creation of an American flag, their design used 6-pointed stars. Betsy suggested five-pointed stars instead. When the committee protested that these would be too difficult to make, Betsy is said to have taken a piece of paper, folded it deftly, and with a single snip of her scissors, produced a symmetrical five-pointed star, so impressing her audience with this feat of seamstress magic that they readily agreed to her suggestion.

To you we pass along the secret...

Thanks to the Betsy Ross House for providing these instructions. Thanks to Arnold Tubis for his expert help in improving them.


Step 1. Fold an 8-1/2" x 10" piece of paper in half.


Step 2. Fold and unfold in half both ways to form creased center lines. (Note: be sure paper is still folded in half.)


Step 3. Bring corner (1) right to meet the center line. Be sure to fold from the vertical crease line.


Step 4. Bring corner (1) left till edges coincide, then make the fold.


Step 5. Bring corner (2) left and fold.


Step 6. Bring corner (2) right until edges coincide. Then fold.


Step 7. Bring right edge AC and the left edge AB together, crease, and unfold. Join points A and C, crease, and unfold.


Step 8. Cut on the angle as shown in the picture (from point C, through the intersection of the fold lines from step 7, to the left edge). Then unfold the small piece.


Step 9. Marvel at your perfect (we hope!) 5-pointed star! If your star is not perfect, take a fresh piece of paper (8-1/2" x 10" — not 8-1/2" x 11") and return to Step 1.

For more detailed instructions, Click here

For an animated demonstration, Click here