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How to Make a Zine

By Ronnie Houselander Cook - January 3, 2023

The word Zine (like MagaZINE) has evolved to represent a self-published, non-commercial magazine-like publication. Artists and organisations publish Zines to cover a variety of topics from art and social issues to personal thoughts. Their content can be written, drawn, printed, or collaged and usually combines words and imagery.

One of the benefits of Zines is that they can be reproduced easily (Which for teachers, can be good for keeping exemplar work). For example, if you create a Zine using an A3 piece of paper, the zine can easily be reproduced using a photocopier.

The original zine creation is called the “master flat” which allows the document to be copied before it is folded. There are no set styles in zine making, and they can look however you want them to!

In education, we often hear people using activities such as poster making as a creative activity, however, as art teachers, how can we challenge and expand that classic activity? I would argue that a Zine is a way forward. In this post, I will guide you step-by-step to create your own Zine. You will also find a template available to download so all you need to do is print, create, cut and fold!

The items you will need:

  • Paper (We have used A3 in this example)
  • A cutting mat
  • A craft knife
  • Art Materials

Once you have gathered your materials, you should find a suitable place to work. It’s best to work on a flat surface as folding and precision cutting is required.

Gathering Materials

How to Fold Your Zine

Next, you will need to fold your paper to prepare for cutting. (See below) This is the start of your Master Flat as mentioned above. You will be able to see the page layout forming.

How to Make a Zine

Where to Cut Your Zine

This step is important. You will need to make a cut across the middle 4 pages on the main fold. This will allow your Zine to fold. I would recommend using a sharp craft knife and a ruler.

The image below is good to show your students where to cut. You can also download this ‘Zine Planning Page’ as a PDF. It is ideal for students to learn how to fold, cut and assemble a zine, and great for planning on.

How to Make a Zine

How to Assemble Your Zine

This step is the most complicated in this tutorial. However, once you understand how to fold a Zine you will never forget. Take your folded and cut paper then fold it horizontally. Next, (the complicated part) push the outer pages inwards. Once your pages are pushed inwards, fold the outer pages and lie the zine flat on your cutting mat. Finally, fold down the middle. Hurrah! You’ve done it.

How to Fold a Zine

Now you’ve got your blank Zine it’s time for the fun bit! You can begin to fill your Zine with whatever you want. As previously mentioned, Zine content is very varied so let your student’s imagination run wild! Below is a zine inspired by climate change.

I have also found creating Zines creates opportunities for collaboration. For example, my group now collaborate with our multi-site library to create a Zine fair to exhibit and share their artworks.

I hope you enjoy the diversity and creativity involved with making Zines. They are a brilliant way to engage learners but also a tool that can help you encourage interesting conversations depending on what topic you decide to create them on.

Further Reading:

What is a Zine? (The Arty Teacher) Improve your subject knowledge further with this brief history that includes inspiring examples.

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Ronnie Houselander Cook

Ronnie Houselander-Cook is an Early Career FE Teacher and Educational Researcher based in the South West of England. She aims to raise the profile of creativity in Education and promote its benefits to a wider audience.

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