How I Make my Zines

Published Categorised as Art & Design, Crafts, How to, Popular Posts, Zines 4 Comments on How I Make my Zines

This is how I person­ally make my zines. There’s no right or wrong way (aside from doing things like acci­dent­ally making it unread­able once photo­copied or forget­ting about your margins and cutting off half the text). If you want a more in-depth guide to all things zine-related, I can recom­mend Stolen Sharpie Revolu­tion. You can see all the back issues of my zines on my website.

What I put in my zines:


I have these two note­books. The small one is for jotting down ideas. When I think of things, it’s usually not when I have the time to actu­ally make them. If I don’t write them down, I tend to forget.

idea book

The ideas note­book has pages set aside for vari­ous categor­ies of things.

writing book

I usually write out the contents longhand first. I revise and edit them when I type them up on the computer. If I write them straight on the computer I’m more likely to get distrac­ted. The import­ant thing is to write about the things that person­ally interest you, not what you feel you “should” write about. Fads in zines come and go like anything else, and some­times it seems like every­one is writ­ing about a certain topic, and then next year it’s some­thing differ­ent.

Making the pages:

I make the pages on separ­ate sheets and then glue them onto one master sheet. That way if you make a mistake or want to change the page order, you don’t have to rip anything out.

collage box

I keep all sorts of inter­est­ing scraps in this old biscuit tin for zine and collage use. Things like magazine pictures, food pack­aging and travel tick­ets.


For the back­grounds I cut pieces of paper about 1cm smal­ler in each direc­tion than the finished page. That way the margins are built in, and I can’t go over them. Things like old wrap­ping paper, tour­ist maps, the inside of busi­ness envel­opes and magazine pages are good sources. You want high contrast patterns, things with delic­ate colours don’t photo­copy well. I try to have facing pages have the same back­ground design if they’re part of the same article.


I also print off some patterns on the computer. You can get books of copy­right free patterns that you are allowed to use for small-scale projects like zines.


I keep all kinds of inter­est­ing pictures in the tin too. The blue thing is a Bulgari­an metro tick­et. If I want to use my own photos, I up the contrast before print­ing them on the computer. Again think about how well the pictures will copy.


The tools of the trade: glue, scis­sors, mark­ers (I use Posca ones), correc­tion pen. I recom­mend stick­ing to the well-known brands of glue. I’ve had bad exper­i­ences with cheap glue sticks not stick­ing very well. I wouldn’t use fancy or best scis­sors, because you *will* end up with glue marks on them. I keep a scrap piece of paper to one side to glue on.

adding text

I print out my text set into columns. For one column per land­scape page I make it 8cm across, for two 5.5 cm. I stick to 9/​10 pt Bask­erville for the text, and pick one decor­at­ive font per issue to use for titles. Too many differ­ent jarring fonts hurt your read­ers’ eyes. The fine-tipped scis­sors come in very useful for this stage. They were £2 in Wilko. In the UK Wilkinson’s is a great source for zine stuff. They sell cheap card-making supplies, which are the same things that are useful for zines (I swear by their paper fold­ing tools).

I do pages when I feel like it, and set them aside until I have 24 that I feel will make an issue togeth­er. Some­times they sit in the box for quite a while until they find a home. When I’ve got enough, I arrange them in order, and then write the pages numbers on the corners, or stick prin­ted numbers or stick­ers on. Number­ing your pages is very import­ant, it makes assem­bling much easi­er once you’ve photo­copied.


I label my master sheet with the numbers (some tips here) and glue the page sheets on, then I’m ready to photo­copy.

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