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Zine Folding 101 • Learn How to Fold a Zine Booklet in Minutes!

An outline of a booklet that says how to fold a zine in paper cut out text

Zine Folding 101

Introduction to zine-making

Zine-making has become a popular form of self-expression, allowing individuals to share their creativity and ideas in a unique and personal way. But what exactly is a zine? A zine, short for magazine, is a small, handmade publication that is often created independently and distributed within niche communities. It can be about anything you want – from art and poetry to politics and personal stories. The beauty of zines lies in their DIY nature and the freedom they offer to creators.

What is a zine, and why make one?

Zines have a rich history rooted in subcultures and countercultures, where individuals use them as a means to express their ideas and connect with like-minded people. Today, zines continue to serve as a platform for marginalized voices, enabling individuals to share their perspectives outside mainstream media.

You can also create a zine for your own personal use. Use your zine as a place to write, sketch, or keep ideas. The small size makes a zine perfect for keeping handy in a mini art kit. There are also lots of printable zines that you can use to learn an art technique or keep drawing ideas handy.

Materials needed for zine folding.

Before diving into the world of zine-making, you’ll need a few basic materials to get started. First and foremost, you will need paper. Choose a type of paper that suits your preference – whether it’s plain white, colored, or even recycled. You’ll also need a printer if you prefer to print your zine digitally, or you can stick to the traditional method of hand drawing and writing. Additionally, you’ll need scissors and a smooth object or bone folding tool to make sharp creases. (Don’t worry; the handle of your scissors will work for making sharp creases, too.)

Thin markers are great for adding writing and drawing. You can work in just black and white or add a splash of color with alcohol markers or even colored pencils or water-based markers (such as Crayola).

Zine templates and layout design

Once you have your materials ready, it’s time to think about the layout and design of your zine. While zines can take any form, there are some common templates that you can use as a starting point. One popular template is the “8-page mini zine,” which is created by folding a single sheet of paper into a booklet. This template is great for beginners and allows you to experiment with different layouts and content.

When it comes to the design of your zine, let your creativity run wild. You can use a combination of hand-drawn illustrations, photographs, and text to create visually appealing pages. Remember, zines are a form of self-expression, so don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through in your design choices.

Step-by-step guide on how to fold a zine

Now that you have your materials and a basic understanding of zines let’s dive into the step-by-step process of making a zine. Follow these instructions to create your very own zine from scratch or watch this tutorial video:

Zine Folding Step 1 Diagram
  1. Start with a blank sheet of paper; a standard letter-sized paper (8.5 x 11 inches) or A4 works well.
  2. Fold the paper in half lengthwise (longwise), crease it well, and unfold it. This will create a center line that will serve as a guide for your folds.
Zine Folding Step 2 Diagram
  1. Fold the paper in half widthwise and crease it well.
  2. Unfold it. Now, you should have four equal-sized panels.
Zine Folding Step 3 Diagram
  1. Fold the paper’s outside edges so they meet in the center of the page.
  2. Crease all folds well in both directions.
Zine Folding Step 4 Diagram
  1. Fold the paper in half widthwise.
  2. Cut in the center fold, stopping halfway.
Zine Folding Step 5 Diagram
  1. Fold the paper in half lengthwise.
  2. Pinch the ends and push them together so that the paper separates where you just cut.
Zine Folding Step 6 Diagram
  1. Keep pushing the folded paper towards the center until you meet in the center.
  2. Find the cover and fold the booklet so that the cover is on the outside.

Tips for folding a zine properly

Folding your zine properly is essential to ensure it looks neat and professional. Here are some tips to help you achieve clean and precise folds:

  1. Use a bone folder or the edge of a ruler to press down firmly on the creases. This will help create sharp folds and prevent your zine from unfolding. If you don’t have a bone folder, use a smooth object, such as the handle of your scissors or a coin, to crease your folds.
  2. Take your time when folding each panel. Make sure the edges are aligned and the corners are sharp.
  3. If you’re struggling to fold a thick zine, score the crease lines beforehand using a bone folder or the tip of a pen. Lay a ruler along the fold and use a pointed object to score the paper. You don’t want to cut through the paper; just make an indentation. This will make it easier to fold the paper without it tearing or crinkling.

Remember, practice makes perfect. Don’t worry if your first few zines don’t turn out exactly as you envisioned. Experiment with different folding techniques and find what works best for you.

Adding content to your zine

Now that you have your zine structure in place, it’s time to add content! This is where your creativity truly shines. Consider the theme or message you want to convey through your zine and brainstorm ideas for content. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  1. Write personal stories or poems.
  2. Share your artwork or photography.
  3. Include interviews with interesting individuals.
  4. Create collages or mixed media pieces.
  5. Discuss social or political issues that matter to you.
  6. Share recommendations for books, music, or movies.

The possibilities are endless. Remember, zines are meant to be personal and unique, so don’t be afraid to think outside the box and showcase your individuality. Once you have your content ready, simply glue or tape it onto the pages of your zine.

Resources for zine-making inspiration and guidance

Feeling inspired to create your own zine but not sure where to start? Luckily, there are plenty of resources available to help you along the way. Here are a few recommendations:

  1. Online zine communities: Join online forums or social media groups dedicated to zine-making. Connect with other zinesters, share your work, and get feedback and inspiration.
  2. Zine festivals and workshops: Attend local zine festivals or workshops to learn from experienced zine-makers and discover new techniques and ideas.
  3. Zine libraries: Visit zine libraries, both physical and virtual, to explore a vast collection of zines from different genres and styles. This can provide valuable inspiration for your own zine-making journey.
  4. Zine distros: Check out zine distros, which are platforms that distribute zines created by independent creators. These platforms often have online catalogs where you can discover zines and support fellow zinesters.

Remember, zine-making is a community-driven activity. Embrace the community, learn from others, and support fellow zinesters along the way.

Download this Free Zine Template & Folding Instructions so you can get started right away! Check out this YouTube video for folding as well!

Conclusion

Congratulations! You’ve reached the end of our Zine Folding 101 guide. By now, you should have a solid understanding of what zines are, why they’re worth making, and how to create your own from scratch. Zine-making is a powerful form of self-expression, allowing you to share your voice and connect with others in a meaningful way.

So, what are you waiting for? Download the free zine instructions and template, gather your materials, and start creating. Remember, the most important thing is to have fun and let your creativity run wild. Happy zine-making!

Click on the image to get your free infographic!

Use this infographic to display in your room or share with parents, administrators, or other teachers as a way to point out some of the academic benefits of learning to draw. While they are not the only reason for using drawing as part of a balanced curriculum, they are certainly worthy of celebrating and may help you advocate for including drawing as part of your art or classroom learning experiences.

You can read more about The Benefits of Drawing in this blog post.


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Stacey Peters

I create engaging drawing resources that help students build confidence and express themselves through art. I'm a former elementary art teacher of 25 years turned business owner. Giving you the tools you need to bring more drawing into your classroom brings me joy.

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