how to make a zine

what is a zine?

zine’s are small self-published book. kind of like a magazine, but all under your control. they are a great way to share the work you create without needing anyone else’s permission to do so. think of your zine as a way to showcase a final project, kind of like an exhibition of your photographs, but in book form.

start video at 1:24

getting started

step 1: pick a topic and take some photographs

what are you interested in? create a series of photographs with a common theme

step 2: curate the photographs into a book

now you have all of your images, choose a method of creating a zine and displaying your images

making your zine

free zine-making options


  • an open source publishing software similar to indesign and affinity publisher
  • here are some tutorials

pages (mac os)

  • choose the setting “facing pages” to edit two pages at once
  • export as PDF, non mac users won’t be able to open the pages file

microsoft word

  • log in for free with your uofg account
  • zoom out to look at multiple pages at once
  • design control is not ideal, but workable as a last option


  • cut up old magazines, use old photographs, find old fabric, stick anything to a piece of paper
  • once you’ve made a book, you can scan each page to make a digital copy
    • if you don’t have a scanner, download a scanner app on your phone or photograph each page
  • import your images to a word processor and export as a PDF

paid programs to make a zine

affinity publisher

  • free trial
  • one time purchase
  • award winning program

adobe indesign

  • free trial
  • professional, but expensive monthly subscription


  • this application is free to use, but will charge around $5 to export your project as a PDF
  • issue #15 of Kaleidoscope was created with this program

publishing and binding

step 3: publishing

you can export and share your zine as a PDF, but if you’re interested – here are some places you can print your zine (that will be cheaper than paying for ink at home) if you want to make multiple copies:

  • the campus library
  • staples

for online publishing, upload a PDF of your zine as a “file” block. if you click “copy URL”, you can hyperlink text with your file like this. click “open in new tab” so other students don’t lost the course website when they look at your zine.

some scanners automatically convert each scan into a PDF. if yours doesn’t, you can scan multiple images and combine them into a PDF using Photoshop.

  • Click “Browse” and choose the files for your PDF. Make sure they are in the correct page order before clicking “Save.”

step 4: binding

how you decide to bind your zine will depend on the images you choose, your layout design, and most importantly – how you want the final product to look.

for example: you could staple your pages together or you could sew your pages together or you could create an accordion book that becomes one long piece as you unfold it.

Otherwise Studios also created this great list of bookbinding resources that goes over all of the different types of bookbinding and pros and cons for each stitch.

here is a video tutorial from Jessica Thalmann on how to create a simple pamphlet stitch binding.

examples of zines


step 5: submit

after you submit your zine for the class assignment, consider trading zines with friends and submitting to other places on campus to share your hard work and build your CV

(p.s. you can submit other projects to these places, too)