There’s no right way to create a zine, which is precisely why Ashley Mireles says they’re the perfect DIY project if you’re trying to harness that creative side at home. “They are really fun and accessible,” says Ashley Mireles, director of education at Artpace San Antonio.
Short for magazine or fanzine, zines are handmade, paper booklets that can focus on everything from the last show you binged on Netflix, your favorite superhero or band, to recipes or rock collection from your children. Made from a single sheet of paper, zines can include collages made with images cut from old magazines, handwritten stories or notes, drawings and more. “They can definitely get complicated if you want to incorporate multiple skills and techniques, but you can also create them with paper and pen only,” she says. Mireles shares a tutorial so you can try one out at home. Several zines are also available in the Artpace gift shop, and zines created by former Artpace Teen Council students can be viewed at the downtown gallery.
What you will need
A sheet of paper (Mireles uses an 8 1/2 x 11 inch or 11 x 17 inch sheet)
Recycled magazines, newspapers or printed images if you want to make collage
Tape or glue (preferably a glue stick)
Markers or colored pencils
Pencil or pen
1. Genius idea. Mireles says you can just start, but if you want your zine to tell a story, it’s best to figure out what you mean and create an outline before you start creating.
2. Fold your zine. To start, fold your sheet of paper in half horizontally (“hot dog style”). Then unfold it and fold it horizontally the other way around to create a nice, neat crease. Unfold the paper, then fold it in half vertically, pressing down to create a firm crease. While the paper is still folded, fold it in half vertically again. When you fully open the paper, you should have eight different sections, which will become pages. If you see your eight sections, fold the paper vertically once, then add a slit by cutting in the paper at the fold and continue until you reach half of the folded paper. Open the paper up. Fold it horizontally along that original crease, then pick it up, with one hand on either side of the paper. Crush the two ends together and you will notice the slit opens allowing you to continue folding the paper back onto itself until you have a booklet.
3. Start creating! The beauty of zines is that anything goes. Glue pictures together to create a collage, test your hand at calligraphy, add a poem, print graphic designs, or create your own designs. Mireles usually glues several cut-out images onto her paper, so she likes to unfold it and make a color copy after her zine is finished. That way she can share a finished book that is one dimensional.