When George Washington commissioned Betsy Ross to create the first American flag in the spring of 1776, his design featured a six-pointed star. He thought cutting equal sides in a six-pointed star would be easier than a five pointed star.
However, Betsy knew better. She astounded him with her demonstration of how easy it was to cut equal-sided five-point stars from fabric with just a few folds and a scissor snip.
Here's a tutorial to cut your own 5-pointed star, just like Betsy!
The directions call for practice on an 8x10 sheet of paper, but you can make any size star, following those dimensions, larger or smaller.
Follow these step-by-step directions from Pageant Wagon Publishing and plan a star-spangled celebration for Independence Day, other patriotic holidays, Christmas celebrations, or planetarium studies.
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Earl P. Williams, Jr.
Betsy Ross had a unique gift of making five-pointed stars from a single piece of cloth with one snip of the scissors. It saved time and material. Other flag makers used two crossed triangles to make six-pointed stars or two crossed squares to make eight-pointed stars. (This method took extra material, time, and energy.) After the Revolutionary War, Mrs. Ross was the most prolific flag maker in early America; she was in the business for 50 years. But during the Revolutionary War, it is known only that Mrs. Ross made flags for Pennsylvania's navy. These flags did not resemble the American flag. Her famous story came from her grandson, William Canby, in 1870 -- nearly a century after the Revolution. It is based on unverified and uncorroborated Ross family oral history that was passed down from generation to generation. The annotated Wikipedia article on Betsy Ross (as of May 2021) separates the historical Betsy Ross from the mythical Mrs. Ross. Incidentally, New Jersey's Continental Congressman Francis Hopkinson -- not General George Washington -- designed our National flag. It was originally intended for the Continental Navy. For more information, see the annotated Wikipedia article on Francis Hopkinson (as of May 2021). Submitted by Earl P. Williams, Jr., U.S. flag historian (paleovexillologist)
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