Cut and paste

How to Make a Zine

Learn how to make your own zine, a little book to share your voice with the world!

Part of UNIQLO Tate Play in partnership with UNIQLO. Please visit the Tate website with an adult.

Meet artist Lu Williams, and together with students from Haberdashers’ Borough Academy, learn all about how to make your own zine!

But first, what is a zine?!

A zine (pronounced ‘zeeen’, like the end of magazine), is a self published booklet made from 1 or 2 pieces of paper. Zines or 'fanzines' originated through letter-writing, and people sharing information with each other about things they were passionate about. Can you think of anything you're a fan of? They're super quick to make, and can be silly or serious - it's completely up to you!

Tell me more!

In the 1980’s there was a photocopier boom! This meant that suddenly more people had access to low cost printing. Being able to self-publish zines gave people who were overlooked within mainstream media the opportunity to have their voices heard.

Around that time, artist movements including The British Black Arts Movement and Guerrilla Girls were challenging social issues such as racism and gender inequality. This also happened in music, with punk bands like Bikini Kill and Le Tigre also using zines as a form of political activism. So as well celebrating exciting things, zines were also used as an empowering tool to challenge the people in charge!

People shared messages of hope and anger with the world through zines - and these little paper booklets still have the power to challenge the status quo. Pretty cool eh?

Let's make a Zine!

You'll need:

  • 1 sheet of A4 paper
  • Ruler
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Pens/pencils
  • Newspaper or magazines to cut out and collage

Watch the film and follow along.

Beforehand, you could have a think about what you'd like to put in your zine and what it might be about. What do you enjoy? Or worry about? Imagine your zine was going to be found by someone in the future, what would you like them to know about the world we live in? Maybe you could chat about these questions with a group of your friends, and make your zines together.

To fill up the pages of your zine, you can use images from recycled newspapers and magazines. Try choosing colours and textures that feel interesting to you, or why not look for words or pictures that link in with your theme? Cut them out and stick them in.

Here's some examples of collages that you could use as inspiration:

What shall I do with my Zine?

Once you're finished, you could photocopy your zine at school to make copies and share it with your friends!

You could collect zines and start your own collection, just like Lu's Grrrl Zine library and Tate's Zine Library, which lives at Tate Britain!

Maybe you could even hold a zine fair where you and your friends could all bring along your zines, swap them and talk about what they're all about, and what ideas mean a lot to each of you!

We're excited to hear what your message is!

Glass case filled with zines

Zine fair at Tate Britain. Photo by Holly Callaghan

Teacher's note:

“Zines are a great way to share ideas that mean a lot to you.”

Lu Williams

Watch this film with your class to introduce them to zine making, its history and inspire them to make one of their own!

You can use the prompts given to support a discussion with your class and encourage pupils to share authentically the things that are important to them. Their voice and experiences matter.

“I often say, imagine you have 30 seconds to tell the entire world some important information. What do you think that would be?”

Lu Williams

Your pupils may want to discuss complex and sensitive issues so it important that you create and maintain a safe learning environment for this lesson. You can find more guidance and tips to support you here: How to create a safe PSHE education classroom.

Once your class has made their zines you can come back together to share them like the pupils do in the film. They can share the topics they are focusing on or the way they made them and their selection of found images and materials. Ask your pupils if they think what they have made is a book, magazine or artwork? Perhaps they think it’s all these things or something else entirely!

Discuss as a group how they could be shared more widely using the ideas on this page as starting points.

Zine making is a powerful artform to document and share voices that have often not been recognised throughout history. How can you use them to encourage your class to do the same?