If you’ve never heard of a magazine before, don’t worry, it’s all good - in fact, it wasn’t until fairly recently (2013) when I actually discovered what a zine (pronounced zeen)  was myself - so there’s no judgment. The good thing for you to know is that I’ve made a bunch since then and now I’m considered an expert, and I’m here to help guide you in becoming an expert of your own.

By the end of this article you should have a complete understanding of what a zine is and hopefully, you feel empowered and inspired to use this art form as a way to express yourself creatively (without permission).


What is a zine?

According to Wikipedia - “a zine is a small-circulation self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images, usually reproduced via photocopier”. It derives from the word fanzine which by definition is “a non-professional and non-official publication produced by enthusiasts of a particular cultural phenomenon for the pleasure of others who share their interest.”

Simply put -- a zine is a self-published mini (small-circulated) magazine comprised of unique work that caters to and identifies with a specific audience (community/culture). Generally, there's some hand-crafted/DIY element to its production, while the content usually draws on ideas and values not covered regularly by the mainstream publications.


What is the purpose of a zine?

I believe the purpose of a zine varies and it really depends on the person who is creating it to define their why. Rather it be: an outlet for self-expression, a result of boredom, to share information and/or interest, to raise awareness, to document times, to make a statement, to encourage critical thinking, or simply to spark discussion - these are all the reasons I’ve created zines in the past. Ultimately I see zine-making as a vehicle for communication and connection.

Aside from using zines to publish your own visual art, poetry, creative writing, musings, manifestos or any other ideas you want to bring to life in print form, by putting your zine out in the universe, you are essentially creating a unique opportunity to align and connect with like-minded people - your tribe.


Keep it simple…don’t complicate things

The great thing about zine-making is that: 1) you don’t need permission to get started - there’s no barrier to entry, like needing help of some big publishing house, and 2) it doesn’t take a lot to to create your own print media -- all you really need to get started are basically items you either see or use everyday in school.


Materials Needed:

  • Pencil or pen
  • 1 Sheet of paper
  • Scissors
  • Glue (optional)

Yes - you are reading correctly…these are the only materials you need to get started in creating your own zine!


Choose Your Format

Once you have your materials ready, the next step is to choose your format. Since the possibilities are endless in zine making, and the hardest thing to do sometimes is starting, I took the liberty to narrow down your options to just 1 basic style (mini 8-page zine) only for this exercise - once you complete this one then I encourage you to explore other options.

Since everyone has their own work flow or method to their madness, the next steps may vary - so for now, we are just going to skip to the instructional part of how to make the zines, and then we’ll make our way back to how to structure (used loosely) and layout your zine.


Making a mini 8-page zine:

Step 1. Start with 1-sheet of paper


Step 2. Fold in half (from right to left)


Step 3. Fold in half (from top to bottom)


Step 4. Fold in half (from right to left)


Step 5. Open the sheet of paper back up (notice you should have 8 boxes)


Step 6. Now take your pen and number them as visually instructed (your front cover and back cover should be positioned next to each other starting with box 1 [bottom right] then count backwards starting with page 6 and go counter-clockwise ending with page 1 [top right])

Step 7. Fold back in half (closed edges should be on the right and open edges should be on the left - or just reference the image below...numbers 3,4,5, and 6 should be facing you)

Step 8. Now take your scissors and cut from the right center point (where the paper fold is closed) until the middle center point (ONLY cut until the middle point of the paper - if you cut all the way across you zine will be unfortunately ruined)

Step 9. Now open the sheet back up and notice that there’s ONLY a whole in the center of paper (when opened the whole in the paper should resemble an opened mouth :D)

Step 10. Now take your index finger and thumb and pinch both center edges (reference the pic above) and push them in together as if you were playing an accordion

Step 11. Now wrap the back cover page (BC) to the back and simultaneously the front cover (FC) should land in the front.Voila...you’re done! You just created your first mini-zine. You can flip through the book to make sure all of the pages are in order.

Voila...you’re done! You just created your first mini-zine. You can flip through the book to make sure all of the pages are in order.

It’s totally optional if you want to apply glue in between the loose pages

Next Steps

Again, just to reiterate, I understand that everyone creates differently - so there’s no right or wrong way to approach these next steps and they are listed in no particular order; they are simply questions to consider in your process - you totally have the choice to include or not include whichever part you want.

Things to consider:

  • What will your zine be about?
  • What is the name of your zine?
  • Who is your audience?
  • What is the layout and order of your zine?
  • How many copies of your zine will be made?


Happy creating.