Zine Workshop

In this Chapter

Length of Program

One hour or more.

Program Description

Zines, or ’zines (pronounced “zeens”), are amateur publications usually written by one person (a zinester) and often photocopied. They are a D.I.Y. (do-it-yourself) magazine and can be about anything - lists, letters, true stories, fiction, etc. Zines are a great vehicle for teens to showcase their individual interests and passions. In this program, they will design and create zines.


Prior to the workshop, collect zines or make sample zines for teens to peruse at the workshop. Talk to your library administration about displaying some of the teen’s zines in your library, and/or about the possibility of adding zines to your library’s collection. Familiarize yourself with the copier at your library. Choose a space to host your zine workshop that has plenty of room for teens to spread out and work.

Set up tables and chairs in your programming room on the day of the workshop. Display dictionaries, books of quotations, magazine articles, books listed in this program, etc., to inspire the teens. For an additional list of fiction and non-fiction titles and a webliography to include, see the “Zine Resource Guide” produced by Joanna Nigrelli as part of the Austin Public Library’s Teen Services program, “Zines @ The Library”. It is included with permission.

Teens will need a variety of materials and tools to create their zines. Gather them in advance and place them on the tables.

  • Copy Paper
  • Glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Colored markers
  • Magazines and newspapers
  • Ream of white paper
  • Colored cardstock or colored paper for covers, including black paper
  • Portable typewriter
  • Black Sharpies - fine and medium
  • Non-ball point Black pens
  • Long stapler
  • Super fat black markers
  • Stickers
  • Paper cutters
  • Dictionary of slange or dictionary of teen quotations
  • Date due stamps
  • Stamps and inkpad
  • Copier (optional)

Creating Zines

Explain to the teens that a zine is a D.I.Y. (do-it-yourself) magazine and can be about anything they want - lists, letters, true stories, fiction, etc. Provide materials for the teens to create an individual zine and/or a group zine. Encourage the teens to write about their passions and interests. Since some teens may need prompts to help them get started, it may be helpful to organize the zine workshop around a theme. For example, using the “Time Twistin’” theme, let the teens make a fantasy-themed zine such as a Harry Potter Fan Zine, or let them make an historical-themed zine about places they have lived, traveled, etc. Let the teens know they may protect their privacy by publishing their zines anonymously or using pen names. The teens can make a mini D.I.Y. “one-shot” mini-zine using the How to Make Zines at the Library Template or make a zine the size of their choice.

Let the teens follow these instructions to create their zines.

  1. Look at all of the sample zines, books, etc. for ideas and inspiration.
  2. Think about what you would like to write about. What topics do you know enough about to write about? What are you passionate about?
  3. Pick a size for your zine. Standard ½ page size is easiest, but you can make a zine in any size or format.
  4. Figure out how many pages you might need.
  5. Fold your cover and inside pages, then number the pages.
  6. Write, draw and create your zine
  7. Collate and staple your zine. (If you do not have a long arm stapler, tell the teens that they can open the stapler, as they would to staple something to the wall, and staple their zine flat on top of a thick stack of newspaper.)
  8. Promote and distribute your zine around town and your school.
  9. If a copier is available, make copies of each teen’s zine so that they can swap them with other teens. If your library plans to start a zine collection, make a copy of the teens’ zines to display.
  10. If the teens do not have enough time, they can finish their zines at home or bring them back to the library another time.


Prepare a flyer to advertise your Zine workshop and post it in the teen section of the library and in the community. Here is sample flyer.

Developmental Needs and Assets

The Zine Workshop encourages freedom of speech and allows teens to express themselves and discover their voices. Teens yearn to be heard and this program grants them the opportunity to unleash their creativity. It inspires innovation and self-expression and positive identity. As a result, teens have an outlet to vent their feelings and have a sense of their personal power as an individual.

Books to Display

From Girls To Grrlz: A History Of Comics From Teens To Zines by Trina Robbins.

Hey, Day! Super-Amazing, Funk-da-crazing, Ultra-glazing Things to Do, Make and Ponder Every Day of the Year by Clea Hantman and Keva Marie.

Whatcha Mean, What’s A Zine?: The Art Of Making Zines And Mini Comics by Mark Todd.

Your Name In Print: A Teen's Guide To Publishing For Fun, Profit, And Academic Success by Elizabeth Harper.

Books to Booktalk

The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga.

Middle School Is Worse Than Meatloaf: A Year Told Through Stuff by Jennifer L. Holm.

The Plain Janes by Cecil Castellucci.

Sleeping Freshman Never Lie by David Lubar.

Bulletin Board

Cut funky letters out of magazines or from computer fonts, and post them in a sporadic spiral onto your bulletin board. Place the spiral of letters and words above the Zine Workshop Flyer.


Find an old typewriter and display the Zine Workshop Flyer sticking out of it. Place the typewriter in a display area with zine-related books around it.


Serve an assortment of pre-packaged snacks and wrapped candy at your zine workshop. Invite the teens to get creative with the leftover packages and wrappers by reusing them as messages and/or text in their zines. This zine has a Crunch candy bar wrapper.

Printer Friendly Adobe PDF Version

Zine Examples


Purchase zine buttons to give away at your program from a shop such as My My at http://mymy.us/store/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=1_10. Or let teens make their own zine buttons using a button maker. To make the buttons, cut out circles on white or colored cardstock paper. Leave them blank for the teens to decorate with markers or pens. Buttons and button-making equipment can be purchased online at Badge-a-Minit at http://www.badgeaminit.com/ or Button Biz.com at http://www.buttonbiz.com/.

Guest Speakers

Invite a local “zinester” to your workshop to give the teens insight into the zine-writing process.


Show these videos and DVDs or segments of them if you have public performance rights. Otherwise, display them for home use.

Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen. (89 minutes)

How to Deal. (101 minutes)

Read It and Weep: Zapped Edition. (84 minutes)

Professional Resources


From A to Zine: Building a Winning Zine Collection in Your Library by Julie Bartel.


Teens and Zines by Sarah Hannah Gomez.


This VOYA (April, 2007) article features a teen’s perspective on having zines in the library.

Your Zine Tool Kit, A DIY Collection by Jenna Freedman.


This article in LibraryJournal.com (June 15, 2006) gives tips on starting a zine collection. It includes A Miniguide by Miriam DesHarnais from the Baltimore County Public Library.

ZINES! by Andreas Trolf.

Transworld Skateboarding. Jan, 2008, Vol. 26, Issue 1.

This article discusses the origins of zines.

Discussion Lists



This in an online discussion group for “exchanging information and ideas about zine librarianship: collection, shelving, preservation, cataloging, classification, programming, scholarship, publication, fundraising, etc.”


Barnard Zine Library Blog


This blog features information on the Barnard College Zine Library Collection.

Alternative Library Services Blog


This is a Teen Librarian Web blog, featuring discussion including teen zine workshops and more.

Web Sites



This is an online source for purchasing buttons and button-making equipment.

BCPL Zines Page


This web site provides information about zines at the Baltimore County Public Library.

Button Maker and Supplies - Button Biz


This is an online source for purchasing buttons and button-making equipment.

Do Something!


This eZine encourages and supports teen involvement in the community.

Grrl Zines A Go-Go- Zine Workshop Group in San Diego: Workshop How-To


This web site gives great instructions on hosting a zine workshop.

New Youth Connections


New Youth Connections (or NYC) is a general interest teen magazine written by and for New York City youth.

PRHS Library’s Zine Collection on Library Thing


This link provides information about the Plymouth Regional High School library’s zine collection.

Salt Lake City Public Library: Zines: Zine Links


This web site provides several zine-related links.

Teen Ink


Teen Ink is a monthly print magazine, website, and a book series all written by teens for teens.

Teen Voices Online


This is a web site of Teen Voices Magazine, a print magazine where teens can get published.

The Twin Cities Green Guide: Do-It-Yourself: Zine-Making


This web site gives access to a printable version of “How to make a zine”.



Yo! (Youth Outlook) is an award-winning literary monthly journal of youth life featuring in-depth reporting pieces and first-person essays, comic strips and more.

Youth Radio


Listen to poetry, personal stories, and news ranging from entertainment to politics created by teens.

Zine Collection: Linebaugh Library System


This web site offers Zine FAQ’s and more.

Zines, E-zines, Fanzines: Book of Zines: Directory


This is an online directory of zine resources.

Zines: My My, Handmade + Totally Awesome!


This is a web site where zine buttons are available to purchase for prizes at your workshop.

Zines - Readers - Multnomah County Library


This web site offers information about the Multnomah County Library Zine Collection.

Program Materials

Zine Resource Guide (2 pages)

Printer Friendly Adobe PDF Version

Zine Resource Guide, Part One

Zine Resource Guide, Part Two

Mini Zine How To

Printer Friendly Adobe PDF Version

Mini Zine How To

Zine Workshop Flyer

Printer Friendly Microsoft Word Version

Zine Workshop Flyer

Texas Teens Read 2009! Programming Manual / Time Twistin’ TTR.09

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 10, 2011