How to Make a Zine (We Made Some for You!)

A few months ago I took a workshop on zine and chapbook-making and it was so much fun that I went home and made a bunch of chapbooks and got them printed. I even made one on the computer because I wanted to use my own images and not ones from magazines! A chapbook is a short “book” of less than 40 pages and is often used for poetry.

Zines or chapbooks are really easy to make. The hardest part is the creativity! Here’s what you need:

+pens/things to draw/colour with
+magazines and/or pictures
+whatever you want to put in your zine! I like to tell short stories or use each page for a line of a poem. Laneia likes to share feelings and make observations. You do you!

There is a really easy way to make an 8-page chapbook out of one piece of paper. I took some instructional pictures to show you how!


How to Make an 8-Page Zine/Chapbook Out of One Piece of Paper


1. You will need a rectangular piece of paper. I think anything smaller than a 9″x12″ will be too small.

2. Fold the paper in half both ways.

3. Lay your paper out so it is longer horizontally. Fold the left and right sides of the paper to the vertical crease in the middle.

It should look like this when you unfold it:

4. Now you need your scissors. Fold your paper along the horizontal middle line. I’ve drawn a line on my paper to show you where you need to cut, but you don’t need to draw the line yourself (unless you want to!)

After you cut it, it should look like this:

5. Now for the actual folding part! Fold your paper again along the horizontal middle line (the part that you just cut). With the cut, you should be able to push the two ends together to make sort of like a starfish looking thing:

6. Just fold the two outside flaps over, until you have a little book! Does that make sense? It should make sense if you have it in your hand.

Here’s an example of what a finished one might look like when it’s all unfolded:

And here are some zines you can purchase from Autostraddle, all created and designed with love by me or Laneia!

Limited Edition Emily Zineshalf-size, 8 pgs, color, so so special – $10

I have about four copies of each, so there is a limited amount. I am willing to print a few more pending demand, but hurry up because I am going to China in a week and a half and won’t mail anything from there! Price includes shipping all the way from Canada!



This Isn’t a Bird Storyfull-size, 22 pgs, color, special shiny cover paper – $15

Created last fall using print clippings, drawings, electrical tape, polaroids, origami paper, the inside of a moleskine cover, stickers, Laneia’s favorite childhood books and one kindergarten treasure box tally card. Price includes shipping all the way from Phoenix!

“The original title of this zine was to be Bloody Vains, but now it’s called This Isn’t a Bird Story, because it isn’t. I began putting this together when my computer crashed a few weeks ago. This Isn’t a Bird Story is a collection of nice, pretty things that I like and that’s basically it.”


Additional monetary donations are always welcome, of course. ALL YOUR MONEY GOES TO AUTOSTRADDLE AND THE FUTURE!

Autostraddle recommends Microcosm Publishing for any additional ziney needs you may have. Have you ever made a zine or chapbook? Do you have feelings or stories or maybe a zine of your own that you’d like to share?

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Emily Choo started as an intern with Autostraddle when she was 18 years old. She's now 10 years older and lives in Toronto with her partner and cat. The defining moment of her career was when Riese said this about her: " I think Emily Choo is a very bright, 'poetically inclined' girl who pays attention to everything and knows almost everything (the point of stuff, how to read, how beautiful things feel, how scary things feel, etc.) but doesn't believe/accept/realize yet that she knows almost everything." She still doesn't believe she knows anything, so, thank you, Riese, for that.

Emily has written 100 articles for us.


    • I used to make zines with the sixth graders I worked with! About 25% of them loved it and the rest moaned the whole time but I had fun anyway.

    • Yeah, I taught kids at the afterschool arts program I used to work at how to make books like this…only we made comic books instead of zines out of them. The students really enjoyed getting to keep their finished books. It’s a good project even for pretty young kids; I had mostly elementary schoolers, and they were able to do it with only a little help.

  1. Tonight I am meant to be cleaning/clearing out my flat. But now I have seen this it will be impossible, because I will want to make a mini-zine instead.

    If I make a zine about cleaning up, will that count instead of doing the actual work?

  2. I understand everything now:
    1. My compulsive need to buy attractive stickers
    2. What to do with all these damn stickers.

    • ^ This. I think I still have Lisa Frank stickers from when I was a single-digit elementary school fledgling.

  3. I am the proud owner of two Emily Choo zines and I can tell you that they are worth every penny.

  4. When I tried to buy an Emily zine, the “Buy now” button just took me to my Paypal account summary page. I don’t understand.

  5. OMG OMG, I was just bitching at someone about how zines need to be a thing again. Autostraddle reads minds!

    • Oh, cool! Good thing I have a job, because my paycheck is totally going to zines this month.

      • You can also search for zines on Etsy–after a nasty breakup, I spent the equivalent of a good bender in NYC on zines and clung to them like tiny paper security blankets for a month. No hangover, supporting zinesters, it’s all good. :D

  6. zines are awesome. i started making some music related zines at my college and the response has been really good. crafty stuff rules.

  7. HELP someone tell me how to bind them. did you already do that and i missed it somehow. do you just staple them??? NEED TO KNOW <3

    • Depending on how many pages your book is (you can combine multiple ones), you can staple, tape, or sew them. If your zine is particularly RAD, you can use safety pins and electrical tape.

    • in the one i showed how to do, it’s just one sheet of paper so it’s already bound, which is great!

      • that’s the best part of this kind of construction! i made a zine one time for school but i was silly/did not know how to google my way out of my silliness, so i ended up using a cereal box? as like the front and back covers. not my brightest idea, but my zine smelled like cheerios, so. were i to do it again, i’d use this one sheet method like all the other geniuses in my class did. i console myself with the fact that their zines, although more beautiful/tidy did not also smell like breakfast food.

  8. i’m so broke :/ but now all of my friends will have zines about cats and cupcakes. :)

  9. Tell me you’re going to write a thing about China. I loved Crystal’s travel (food) blog. MOAR TRAVEL STORIES PLEASE.

  10. I didn’t know such a thing existed until Kate Nash gave me a copy of “My Ignorant Youth”

  11. are there going to be follow up posts? this is an okay starting point, but i think it would be great to hear more about zine culture/content – especially since so many of the commenters sound new to it. a post on riot grrl zines, on queer zines, maybe even an interview or two with awesome zine makers who write about stuff the autostraddle readership would be into?

    that would be really fun.

    • no! neverrrr! we’re never ever going to do a follow-up post about zines or riot grrrl or queer zines or anything like that ever EVAR !!!

      jk yes duh

      i like your suspenders.

  12. Ooh, China! I keep wanting to spend a year there to study(my school has a partner school in Hangzhou), but I always worry that my mandarin isn’t good enough. Are you at all worried about homophobia when you go there?

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