One of my favorite things to do at the library, at home or pretty much anywhere is make zines! Zines are tricky to define, but Sarah Mirk has a great definition in her meta mini zine “How to Make a Zine:” “A zine is a multi-page publication made for passion, not profit.” Zines are often made by hand, out of cheap paper and require only simple supplies to create. Anyone can make them, sell them, trade them and share them, which makes them a perfect creative outlet for this time of necessary social distancing. These free online resources will help you get started making your own zines.
We Make Zines offers a fantastic online hub for all things zine related. You can connect with other zinesters (zine-makers), talk about zines you love or use their Zines 101 page to get started making your own creations.
If you’re totally new to making zines, I suggest starting with minis! You can make a mini zine by folding a single page into a small booklet, and the only tool you need is a pair of scissors. RookieMag had a breakdown on how to fold a mini zine to walk you through the process.
Are you up for a bigger challenge, and you’ve got some sewing supplies on hand? Try making a pamphlet stitch zine! Orange Barrel Industries has a nice guide for making a 4-hole pamphlet stitch “mini book.” Don’t be intimidated by the fancy supplies; you can use printer paper and a sharp sewing needle or scissor tip, or whatever you’ve got handy! Alternatively, try out Book Zoompa’s kid-friendly version, which requires zero sharp tools.
Once your zine is folded, stapled or stitched together, you’re ready to fill up those pages! Alex Wrekk, creator of the amazing resource Stolen Sharpie Revolution, has a collection of all the prompts from International Zine Month. Pick one at random if you're stuck!
If you’re interested in drawing over writing, Pop Culture Classroom has a blog post about drawing exercises that make great zine content. I’m fond of Daredoodles, which involves turning scribbles into monsters and characters.
These five resources are just the tip of the iceberg. There are zine communities all over the world, and zinesters are constantly producing resources to help each other make more incredible work. For example, Malaka Gharib illustrated a comic zine for kids about Covid-19 that you can print and use to practice folding, and on April 4 and 5, there will be a huge online zine festival called Quaranzine, where you can find new artists and buy their work.
Are you excited about zines yet? Tell us all about the zines you make in the comments!