Styles of flags

There are two basic styles of flags, twirling flags and plain flags. These  differences are due to the way the flag is attached to the baton, shaft or handle.

Twirling flags

These flags were and presumably still are used by cheerleaders and similar groups to create a visual effect in processions and displays. especially in the US. They usually have metal poles, that have plastic sleeves over part of them. These plastic sleeves have velcro on them so that the actual flags can be changed. The also have a ball-shaped handle end to aid manoeuvrability. These handles are bought ready made and come in a number of different lengths. It is even possible to buy the end stoppers, plastic sleeves, and ball-shaped handle separately via the Internet or in the US. Some people buy a number of plastic sleeves and leave the flags on them and take off the stopper and slip the plastic sleeves on and off. However this can mean that in time the stoppers become loose and come off when the flag is being used leading to problems until a new stopper is obtained.

These are the sort of flags used by majorettes and those involved in baton twirling as a sport. In the first version of this site there were links to the shopping sites for the UK organisations for these activities. Sadly this time around I could not find any links for such sites. However, if this is something you want to pursue then you could look for and contact either the British Isles Baton Twirling Association or the British Isles Majorette Association.

Ordinary flags

These use either a bamboo cane or a piece of dowel usually about 1 cm in diameter. The fabric is hemmed and then fixed to the cane or dowel. Unlike the twirling flags where the handles and parts of handles are purchased ready prepared, these flags are often made by the church craftsperson(s).

The differences

One difference between the two different styles of flags is the way that they move. The twirling flags can be used to create a wider range of effects partly because the fabric does not wrap itself around the handle and partly because of the size and shape of the handle. There are various complicated techniques of using twirling flags that can be learnt form books or videos available via the Internet.

Another difference is the weight of the pole. The metal handle is a lot heavier than the bamboo cane handle therefore it can mean that your hand, wrists and arms need to work harder to move it around. This is strange as the twirling flags are normally used in pairs (one in each hand) whereas the ordinary flags are more often used one at a time.

Kingdom Dance twirling
Twirling flags available mail order from a UK supplier.
Dance ordinary flags
Ordinary flags available mail order from a UK supplier.
Twirl flags from a US supplier
Swing (ordinary) flags from a US supplier
This American organisation sells books and videos to
help people learn to use twirling flags in church. This link takes you
to the creative ministries resource page.