A zine is short for magazine, and it is a self-produced booklet of art, writing, fun facts, and anything that you’re interested in at the moment of making the zine. Some people make zines about bands, political movements, animals, and anything that you can think of, really. Zines came out of the punk movement. To learn more about zines and their history, Puntktuation Mag has a great article about zines titled “A Brief History of Zines” that can be read on their website.

As an example, I thought I’d give you some instructions on how to make a zine from The Phoenix’s print issues and show you an example of a zine all about me, the Opinions Writer. I photographed my construction of the zine, and got my folding instructions from the 42nd Street website in their article, “How to Make Your Own Zine,” which offers a brief explanation of what a zine is, along with a graphic showing the specific instructions on how to fold and cut paper to construct the basis of your zine. 

I followed the method taught to me by my cultural studies prof, but you can make your zine in all sorts of ways. It does not have to be specific to the format I used. For example, some individuals even make their own paper and tie the book together via twine and other methods of tying. You could also make a zine out of flashcards and tie them together — you don’t have to be this fancy, necessarily. 

This photo demonstrates how to fold paper to make a tiny book, suitable for assembling zines, in order, and in rows of three. First, fold it in half vertically, then fold it in half again, then fold it again, then unfold it and fold it horizontally. Then, a cut is shown down the middle of the folded paper, and when it is unfolded it is in the center of the unfolded paper. Then, the paper is folded back up again and pushed together to reveal a big hole, which then becomes pushed together to make a mini booklet of four thick pages. On the right-hand corner at the bottom is the phrase, “Then Decorate!!”

This zine-making process, for me, was relatively fun. I had a lot of fun cutting out words from issues of The Phoenix. I also had a lot of fun coming up with things to write in the zine. I made my zine out of loose-leaf paper without using scissors, showing that you can do this even without materials you might think you absolutely need. I cut along the creases gently with a thumbtack and used a glue stick to glue things down. Down below is a picture of mine!

This is the cover of my (Noah Davis’s) zine. It has the title “Get to Know the Opinions Writer” in black Sharpie surrounded by a bubble-like border which is drawn in red. Underneath in brackets and in blue pen is “For The Phoenix News!” and underneath that is my name as the creator of this zine. This is all along with a cut-out of The Phoenix logo and another cut-out from the print issue stating, “words by Noah Davis.”

This is a fun activity if you are looking for ways to destress over midterm and exam season. But, it is also a great way to share your work! Hypothetically, you could make these little zines and (hypothetically) leave them around campus for people to (hypothetically) pick up and read. It’s also a great way to use up old magazines and Phoenix issues if they are cluttering up your space. I promise The Phoenix team takes no offence, and we love seeing people reusing and recycling our print issues.

These are the first two pages of the inside of the zine that I constructed. On the left side (the first page) it says, “My major is: Combined Creative Writing and Art History,” and a drawing of a book, pencil, and globe are underneath. There is writing underneath the drawings stating, “I am currently in second year.” On the right (the second page), there is writing that says, “Why do I love writing for the Opinions section?” The word “Opinions” is a cut-out from The Phoenix issues. Underneath this is text that answers the question by stating, “Because I get to chat with the student body and write about topics I am passionate about!” On the bottom of each page is a page number.

This is pages five and six of the zine, leaving out pages three and four. The left side (page five) starts with a title stating, “What musical artists do I listen to?”; underneath it is a list of artists I enjoy listening to. The list goes like this: Oasis, The Beatles, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, Rilo Kiley, Paramore, Elliott Smith, Jeff Buckley, David Bowie, and Bob Dylan, and ends with the phrase “and many more.” The right side of the page (page six) starts with the title, “What are my favourite movies?” and there is a list of five of my favourite movies: The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Ruby Sparks, Pride and Prejudice (2005), Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, and Star Trek: The Voyage Home. Beside each movie is a doodle related to the movie.

This is a photo of the back of the zine. There is a red bubble-like border, with “Noah Davis, Opinions Writer” inside of it, which is a cut-out from a Phoenix issue. Underneath the author’s name is a line of text that states, “Made on Feb 12th, 2024 in The Phoenix Office!” and the text underneath reads, “Thank you! Follow The Phoenix News on Instagram: @UBCOPhoenix.”

There’s also a ton of examples of zines on Pinterest if you need some inspiration; I actually have a zine Pinterest board for this very reason! If you’re looking for a fun activity, I would say zines are one of my favourites right now.

So, go ahead and make some zines with our print issues — after reading them, of course — and post them to Instagram or other social media if you want. Tag us in your posts or send them to us so we can see your super cool creations!