Bookbinding · Zine

What is a ZINE?

I never really understood what a zine actually is so stayed away from them previously. Now I want to learn everything about them – what do they contain, how are they made, what format are they, what binding do they have, what is their subject matter, are they considered a book, and so on.


  • Zines are cheaply made printed forms of expression on any subject. They are like mini-magazines or home made comic books about.. anything.” (Todd and Watson, 2006)
  • A zine is usually a non – commercial, non professional publication, kind of like a magazine but with a twist. The main difference between a magazine and a zine is that zines are not out there to make a profit but, rather, to add other, often unheard voices into the mix. (AGO Blog, 2005)

Zines can be created by a singular person or multiple people and can be read by anyone of any age and any profession. Some are exchanged, mailed off or left for others to find (FREE ART FRIDAY?)

The Zine is not a new concept; they have previously been named Chap Books, Pamphlets, Flyers, etc. They have been around since the dawn of the printing press. As long a speople could self-publish, zines could be created.

A zine can be about anything IN THE WORLD. Literally. And figuratively. They could be about your favourite music, band, tv show, food, drink, holiday, city, country, animal, jumper, pair of shoes, your dog,  and so on.

A Zine can be created out of anything you find laying around. Photocopiers make it easier to re-use items over and over, and most zines are simply photocopied. They can also be screen printed, hand drawn/written, and so on. There is no right or wrong material to use when it comes to Zines, same as subject choice.

Once you’ve picked a subject, you can write about fiction, poetry, rants, diaries/journals, reviews, interviews, articles and  so on, and they can all be completely made up. Zines are made solely for arts sake and getting an unheard voice out there.

I could literally make a zine out of my blog posts here.

I could make a zine about random thoughts that pop into my head throughout the week.

I could make a zine about bee puns! Bee-utiful.

Zines can come in different formats, each having their own advantages to the purpose it serves. Some examples:

  1. 1/2 page, center fold (stapled, sewn or not)
  2. Folded sheet of paper (foldy)
  3. 1/4 page mini
  4. Accordian folds
  5. Concertina
  6. Stack and wrap (singular sheets held with a belly band)
  7. Folded paper containing a freebie (sticker, temp tattos, posters, etc)
  8. Micro-mini (single sheet of paper)
  9. Fold and bind (sewn, stapled, spiral, etc)
  10. Or anything else you fancy!

Consider the type of pen or pencil or brush or ink you use when photocopying – not all lines will be picked up and some may come out darker!

ALWAYS keep a master copy so you can easily produce more zines if and when needed

The zine can easily be altered thanks to photocopying technology; you can alter the colour saturation, black and white, zooming, cropping and so on.

You could photocopy the whole book and just print the cover – adds a different texture.


Zines are cheaply made mini-magazines on a range of subjects using any materials close to hand. They are usually non-profit and simply meant to get your voice heard. Could have quite a niche market, so consider this.


Sources used in this blog post:
-AGO Blog (2005) WHAT IS A ZINE? Available at: (Accessed: 21 February 2017).
-Todd, M. and Watson, E.P. (2006) Whatcha mean, what’s a zine? The art of making zines and mini comics. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt


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