The Write Women Book Fest - Virtual Festival 2020!

 Special thanks to Heather & the entire team behind the Write Women Book Fest! They have worked tirelessly to convert the entire event to a virtual platform, coordinating with several authors & creators while navigating this shifting pandemic landscape, their own day jobs, & families. We appreciate all you do to support local womxn authors & creatives! Be sure to head back to their blog to find all the other fantastic opportunities in this year's virtual festival!

DIY Zines

Welcome to the Folkhaus; home of trial & error, DIY, creative pursuit, & wonderfully informative mistakes made along the way. My name is Mary. I'm a creative mom & advocate of lifelong, interest-led learning. That might sound boring, but I promise it's super interesting. After all, we are basically electric jellyfish piloting meat suits... our brains are our essence! Finding stuff that lights up the current of your mind is what life is really all about. The only thing that is more exciting than learning new things is sharing what you know. 

Communication is, therefore, key. There are TONS of ways to instantly communicate in our modern world (such as blogging, which is how I am communicating right now!) but there is something truly magical about making something for someone to hold in their hands. Something tactile, that demands the viewers' attention & doesn't easily lend to distraction. Then again, we live in a fast-paced world, fueled by micro-blogging (like tweets) & video clips (like tiktok). So how can you present your friends with a hand-held, tactile item that amplifies your Voice & shares your passions but also doesn't require a huge time commitment from your audience?


Have you heard of zines? If not, I am pretty sure you have heard of magazines. A zine is a magazine, although it is generally about more specific subjects, & is often handmade by one creator or a small group of creators. Zines are also generally limited to a small run, with only a handful to a few hundred copies for sale at a time... if they are even for sale at all. Some people exclusively make zines to swap! 

Zines also have a really fascinating history. They function similarly to early pamphlets (have you seen Hamilton? The Reynold's Pamphlet can kinda be thought of as a really really old-school zine by definition: specific content for a particular point, small print run, grassroots distribution!). They were instrumental in the 1980's punk rock scene & the 1990's feminist renaissance.  Most of those zines were made on a single double-sided 8.5 x 11 page folded in half, featuring handwritten musings & illustrations, cut out magazine typography & pictures, etc. They were then Xyroxed off in black & white at the corner print store, usually on some colorful paper, & handed out at gigs, meetings, protests, & so on. 

There is no wrong way to make a zine, but there are several different ways to create one depending on your content, preferences, budget, & distribution intentions. You can make an 8-page mini zine using a single folded page (as I will be showing you today) or you can made a booklet bound with staples or you can even attempt to hand-sew the binding in the same way book pages are bound. You could sew a fabric cover & stitch pages (maybe fabric pages!) directly inside, or you could outsource to a printer like Blurb. You can choose to hand out your zines to your circle of friends, or you can list them on a site like Etsy. You can even sell & swap your zines at huge zine events held all over the country, even here in the DC Area! Zines are even sold in vending machines in cities all over (how flipping RAD)!!!

Okay, so are you ready to get started? For what we are making today, you only need a few simple items:

* an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper (computer paper is fine- it's what I used!)


* art supplies. Whatever you have. Markers, crayons, paints, washi tape, construction paper, old wrapping paper, gel pens, sticky notes, printed photos, stickers, stamps, glue, bits of fabric, magazines... anything you see that inspires you.

*a piece of scratch paper for writing down your ideas

*some good music to create to!

Got your supplies? Watch this short video to get an idea of what we're going to do & how you can make copies of your finished zine if you so choose!

1- write out your ideas. With school being virtual for so long, making a sort of mini yearbook would be a pretty interesting way to capture this historic time! Or maybe you want to tell someone all about your favorite hobby? Maybe you like to draw & want to try your hand at making a comic book... this is a great small-scale project to start with. Not particularly interested in the visual arts? Zines can also feature simple writing. Poetry zines are a Thing. Want to write a book one day? You can start now & release each chapter as a zine (not unlike how Sir Arthur Conan Doyle released the Sherlock stories via newspaper installments in his time)! Zines are also a good way to express social & political views; many zines focus on those topics, in fact. The only limit is your imagination.

2- Fold your paper into eighths. With your paper folded lengthwise (so it's long & skinny), cut along the edge across the two-fourths in the center of the page. If you need to, check back in my video at the 1:34 time stamp to see this step. Prefer to have a template & illustrated guide for the folding & cutting process? Here you go! Want to print a Zine pocket guide to making your OWN Zines (so meta)? Boom.

3- start creating! Your front cover will be the bottom right eighth. Your first interior page will be the top right eighth from the cover, but you want to rotate the page around so you create that first interior page in the now-facing bottom left eighth. Does that make sense? If you have trouble visualizing it, grab those post-its & stick one on each eighth of the paper. You can then write the numbers on the post-its like in this illustration from my film:

Anatomy of a single paper 8-page Zine

Simply peel off each post-it as you move from page to page!

4- fold the paper back up. Make sure the front & back covers are in the right place... & you're done!

BONUS- you can choose to write or illustrate the back as well! If you fold the zine & don't staple the binding, the zine can be unfolded to show a hidden "poster" image or some more writing! Experiment & see what you can create with this bonus space. Most creators seem to make content on the back as one large work either in landscape or portrait orientation, rather than more tiny pages... although I bet you could reuse the folding to make a reversible two-in-one zine! Personally, I think a mystery-themed zine with an invisible ink cypher on the backside would be super fun & unique...

That's it... you now have your own finished personal zine! Want to hand it out to your friends? It would be a lot of work to make it all over by hand, but it's easy to scan one page in & print copies! No scanner? Many modern cell phones also have document scanning features, or you could simply take a photo of your zine completely opened up & laying flat. If the paper peaks too much from the folds, try using the glass from a photo frame to flatten the paper for the picture (make sure you have permission first, & be careful not to break the glass). Make as many prints as you want, fold, cut, bind (I prefer staples to bind) or leave unbound, & get your zine into the hands of your friends, family, & whatever audience you want!

If you find that making zines ignites your imagination & you want to keep diving into the wide world of zines, these additional links are for you! 

I am providing links I found interesting, but I have not combed all pages of the sites for appropriate content. Please use your own judgment in exploring the following. Minors: please ask your parents for permission before clicking on the links. I do not bear responsibility for any content or views expressed in any of the links that lead to pages beyond my own webpage content which is beyond my control.

* Learn more about formatting & assembling different types of zines

* Become a contributor for large-scale zines that have open submissions, like Coin Operated Press, Love Your Rebellion, & more! Seriously, just google "zine submissions" plus the current month & year to find a plethora of opportunities.

* Search for zines to buy & collect on sites like Etsy!

*Check out some books about Layouts & content

I hope you enjoyed this craft event for the Write Women Book Fest 2020! If you are so inclined, please check out the Folkhaus Shoppe (I have zines for sale among my Scribbles dolls & other items) or pledge to support future content by becoming a patron of the Folkhaus on my Patreon!


  1. What an awesome craft project! Totally doing this with my friends' kids during their next quality time w/auntie.

    1. Thanks for tuning in! I'd love to see your finished Zines! If you're on Instgram & choose to share your project, please tag me (@thefolkhaus) so I can see your project! Happy making!

  2. This post is really awesome. Genuinely i like this blog. It gives me more useful information. I hope you share lots of things with us .vending machine sales


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