Introduction: How to Tape a Color Guard Flag

Taping is a precaution that can keep your flag from falling off at the worst times, say during practice or worse, during a performance. In addition to taping the flag on, you have the advantage of being about to use thirds (sometimes called "cheaters") in our color guard. They help tell you where to place your hands! Use them to your advantage, and read on to learn how we tape a color guard flag at Rancho HS. You will need to know the parts of a flag in order to understand where to tape what, so make sure to review the image with the labeled parts before going on!

Please note: I am aware that there is an error in the labeling. The labels for "third" and "bottom third" should be switched. I apologize in advanced.

Step 1: Begin by Removing All of the Old Tape From the Crutch Tip.

See those little caps on the end of the flag? They are referred to as either crutch tips or end caps! If you have an old crutch tip, do your best and try to remove as much of the old tape as possible. If you are willing to invest in your flag to get some nicer crutch tips on there, you can go to Home Depot or another department hardware store and buy some black rubber chair tips for about $3. Make sure you get the right measurements to fit your pole, they come in 7/8" or in 1" sizes.

Step 2: Take Some Black Electrical Tape and Tape Up the Crutch Tips.

Taping your crutch tips correctly is very important. DO NOT just take the black tape and wrap it around the tip, it will not only look messy but it will come apart easily and you'll be more susceptible to catching a sail when spinning. Follow the diagrams provided above. Feel free to email me at if you have any questions about this step.

Step 3: If Done Correctly, You Should Now Have 2 Properly Taped Crutch Tips. Here Is a Warning to Those With Crutch Tips That Are Not Smooth All Around:

If you have crutch tips which are not smooth on the sides, but rather have a few raised bumps, make sure the tape does not look messy! These types of crutch tips are guilty of many flag sail disasters because the tape tends to not stick. As you tape these, do your best to smooth the tape into those weird little gaps so that it sticks on as best as possible.

Step 4: Now That You Have Prepared Your Crutch Tips, Move Onto Adding the Weights to Your Flag.

Take your weight and insert it into the flag pole.

Step 5: Next, Take Some Black Tape and Tape the Weight Onto the Pole. Do the Same for the Other End of the Flag Pole.

Doing this will prevent that pesky noise that flag poles tend to make when dropped. The metal clanking you hear is the screws moving about in the ends of the flag pole, so by doing this you will be securing them in place and preventing the racket.

Step 6: Now That You Have Your Weights and the Crutch Tips Taped Up, Take the Bottom Crutch Tip and Tape It to the Butt of the Pole.

Step 7: Secure the Crutch Tip Onto the Pole by Taping Around the Flag Pole, and Then Taping Around the Crutch Tip Itself.

Make sure it is securely taped on. You do not want flying crutch tips during a show. Again, try to make this as neat and wrinkle-free as you can make it. Electrical tape is flexible and can be stretched, so don't be afraid to pull on it a bit when moving around curvatures.

Step 8: Now, Slide Your Silk Onto to the Flag Pole.

If you have a professionally made flag, make sure that the tags are facing the correct direction. Or, if your flag is specially cut, do not tape it on upside-down. It'll suck to completely finish taping on your flag only to later realize that the flag is on backwards, so make sure to check before moving on.

Step 9: Take the Remaining Crutch Tip and Push It Onto the Pole.

Step 10: Like Before, You'll Want to Secure the Crutch Tip Onto the Pole. DO NOT TAPE IT ONTO THE SILK.

Some people like to cheat by taping the crutch tip and the silk together. This will not secure either of them onto the pole, as the constant pulling on the silk will not only cause the flag to come off, but it will leave the crutch tip without anything that's firmly tying it down. You have to tape the crutch tip onto the flag pole directly, make sure that you do so.

Step 11: Now, You Can Tape the Silk Onto the Flag Pole.

Pull the flag up so that it is almost covering the tape that's securing the crutch tip in place. Pinch the flag at the seam and pull slightly, to make sure the flag will not be wrinkled as you tape it on. Then, take your electrical tape and go around the top of the silk only once or twice, do not overdo it. Make sure that half of the tape covers the silk while at least the other half is sticking onto the flag pole. People have the tendency to do this step quickly and usually end up covering more of the flag than the pole with the tape, it is not enough! The constant pulling on the silk will not be supported by only a small strip of tape that is actually attached to the flag pole. Don't be one of those people, do it right the first time.

Step 12: Now You Can Tape the Silk to the Tab.

Make sure that the seam here is directly in line with the positioning of the seam at the top. In other words, don't have the seam all twisted around the pole, you flag will not spin correctly if this is so. Stretch the silk slightly down the pole, so that the flag is not all crunched up. Then, like before, pinch the seam and then go around the circumference of the pole and silk once or twice. And again, make sure that the flag is actually attached to the pole and that you didn't just add some tape to the silk.

Step 13: You Can Finally Move Onto the End of Your Taping Journey. It's Time to Add Thirds to Your Flag Pole!

Remember that thirds can also be referred to as "cheaters", because they are markings that tell you exactly where to place your hands on the flag. You'll want to imagine the bottom half of your flag pole (the part not covered by the silk in other words) divided into three parts. Add two strips of tape to mark the lines dividing each part into a third of the original. If you wish to be anal about it, I have attached a simple diagram telling you the placement of the thirds at ___ inches from the bottom. The bottom third is 12" (1 ft) from the butt of the pole, and the next third is 24" (2 ft) from the bottom.

Step 14: You Are Done! Admire Your Perfectly Taped Flag, Practice, and Then Get Out There and Show Those Judges Who They Came For. ;)