Make Your Own Zine

What You Need:

  • Selection of old magazines and newspapers
  • Blank 8.5 x 11" pages for the zine and for branstorming
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Stapler
  • Found items (i.e. magazine cilppings, newspaper articles, pictures, photos, etc.) related to the zine topic
  • Markers, pens, and pencils or computer and printer

What You Do:

1. Outline the zine. Once your teen has chosen a zine topic, work with her to outline a list of subtopics for the content. Use the cluster method to brainstorm 10 to 12 subtopics. To cluster, have your teen write the zine topic in the middle of a page and circle it. For the next five minutes, jot down any associated words that come to mind. When time is up, you and your teen can review the words and connect the strongest ideas to the topic. For instance, if your teen is writing about her favorite sport, think about what kinds of sports issues, equipment, people, or aspects of the game she'd like to talk about.

2. Get organized. Copy the subtopics into a list, and beside each one write down what type of content it should be. Possible content types include articles, interviews, creative writing (poetry and short fiction), drawings and other art, photos, charts, comic strips, or anything else you can imagine. This list will also serve as a checklist as you and your teen complete content for the zine.

3. Create the content. With the checklist handy, divide the content into three general categories: written items, illustrated items, and found items (i.e. magazine clippings). Allocate the content, making sure that each of you works on activities from every category. Written content can be handwritten or typed if you have access to a computer and printer. Use blank 8.5 x 11" paper to create content, but remember to consider the size of the zine (8.5 x 5.5") when writing. Once you've completed an item, cut it to out and set it aside. For "found" items, look through old magazines or newspapers for images that will enhance the zine. Keep in mind that if you want to make multiple copies of the zine, images will be in black and white. Cut these out and set them aside.

4. Put it all together.

  • Fold six sheets of 8.5 x 11" paper in half horizontally to create a book that measures 8.5 x 5.5". The zine will be 24 pages long (one sheet yields four zine pages), including the front and back covers.
  • Using glue, place each content item into the desired location in the zine, reserving the front page for your zine title, name, and cover art. Once everything is glued down, let it sit for an hour to dry.
  • If you're making multiple copies of your zine, photocopy each page and collate the pages in separate stacks. Staple each stack on the crease, using three staples to make sure it's secure. Fold the pages over.

Voila! Your zine is complete!

Did You Know?

Local bookstores often carry zines and other small journals. Encourage your teen to bring copies of her zine to an independent local bookstore—it might just end up on the shelves!

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