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A Quick and Easy Guide to Zine Making For Beginners

A Quick and Easy Guide to Zine Making For Beginners

Zines are self-published, small-circulation books, journals, or websites that are frequently nonprofit. They usually cover themes that are too contentious or niche for mainstream media, and they do it in an unpolished style and odd design. Everyone can be an author (and an editor, art director, and publisher) of a zine, which is part of what makes them unique.

So, where do you begin? Here are some basic first-time steps that may push you forward on your zine-making journey. Read on!

1. Select Your Format

Moving away from the traditional, mass-market techniques of making magazines allows you to be a little more creative in the ways you choose to offer art and ideas. The focus is on a low budget and not simply for practical reasons; the originality you demonstrate in the format adds to the attractiveness of this more personal, niche product.

Hot dog folds and photocopying are two of the most frequent approaches, but try to push the envelope by doing unique things with fold-outs and novel ways of binding, for example.

2. Decide What It’s For

What will you produce your zine for? Will it be for paying subscribers, for free? It may be a mix – a few issues of a paid-for zine, for example, followed by a few issues of a free one. Or you may want to start by giving it away for free and hoping that enough people like it that they’ll be willing to pay for it later.

3. Think of a Name

Like any business or brand, you need a name. It should be short, memorable and convey what the zine is about. If this is your first attempt, you could use your name as a brand – but often, it makes sense to create a separate identity so that you are free to create another zine with a different name later.

4. Build a Collective

Get some friends together who are interested in making a zine. If you already have a collective or band, this could be an ideal opportunity to get a new project off the ground.

Alternatively, search online and see if you can find some like-minded individuals with whom to work. Check out relevant message boards, Facebook groups and Flickr pages. You could even try holding a launch party or other event where you invite people along to see if they’re interested in getting involved – you might already have your first issue planned.

5. Make it

If you’re using a traditional print technique, you’ll need to think about how your zine will be made. First of all, you’ll need some writing and illustrations to print. Try to focus on one theme for the issue so that it doesn’t get too diverse as it grows.

If it’s a photocopied zine, you’ll need to source some good quality photocopying paper, or better yet, some cheap but strong paper made for sketchbooks and some paper for the covers. Use 120 or 130gsm paper if you can, as it’s better for print and easier to work with.

6. Bind It!

If you’re producing your zine in a stapled or saddle-stitched format, you’ll need to source some good quality staples or small paper clips to bind the pages of your zine. If you’re binding your zine with staples, it’s best to use a good quality paper that will hold together to the staples (a bit like a thick clipboard with paper clipped in).

7. Get the Word Out

If you’re doing it yourself, then you’ll need to get the word out about your zine. This can be challenging, but it’s a rewarding way to get your work out there. The main options are:

  • Word of mouth
  • Social media
  • Online communities
  • Events
  • Newsletters
  • Sales
  • Street marketing
  • Press coverage
  • Creative competitions

Try to be creative with your choice of marketing and coverage and target the right people.


Making a zine is a fun and creative way to produce and share your work. It’s a great way to promote your own artistic and creative standards and contact new people who share similar values.

A quality printing partner is an absolute must-have when starting your first zine! PrintPal London offers high-quality graphic design and printing solutions for all your branding materials. Get in touch with us today!