Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox

DIY Zines and Homemade Mini Activity Books

My library, like many other libraries, has turned to online programming during this time. One of the things to look for when sharing online STEAM activities and video tutorials is what kinds of materials and supplies they require, because not every house has a well stocked craft closet and running out to buy supplies right now does not help us flatten the curve. Which is why we have instituted family zine night at my house. Zines are a creative, fun and easy thing to make and all you need is a piece of paper, scissors, and something to write with.

Zines are small, mini books or magazines that an individual can create to educate, empower and start a revolution. Zines have a pretty interesting history and are an important part of our culture and history. They are incredibly important to feminism. The zine format was even used recently in comic book form to help educate kids about the coronavirus. Check out the short documentary about zines up above to learn more.

Throughout the year, there have been several nonfiction titles that talk about zines. Zines have also made an occasional appearance in YA literature.

In the YA novel Moxie, zines play a role in helping a group of girls stand up against the sexual assault culture of their local high school. You should definitely read it.

So making a zine is a great DIY activity to do at all times, but it’s easy to share and do with teens during these times because it has a rich history that you can share AND it’s fun and easy without requiring a lot of supplies. Here’s a brief rundown of DIY zines.


  • Blank sheet of paper, printer paper works best but really any paper will do
  • Scissors
  • Writing implements like pens, colored pencils, etc.

Here’s a quick tutorial I found and used to learn how to fold a zine:

Using the tutorial above, The Teen was able to follow the simple instructions and create her own Zine.

We found it easiest to fold our zine into the booklet shape and then write a small page number on each page before opening it up again and filling it in. This helped us keep track of which square was each page.

She then took the time to draw and write a short story for her zine.

When she was done, it looked like this:

It turns out I am completely unable to draw, so I made an activity book for Thing 2. It looked like this:

I looked up various puzzles online and used them as templates.She loved the activity book a lot and we have made several! Her favorite activity was coloring in the line shapes I made and requested that I made her a mini coloring book using that technique – which I did. I highly recommend them making zines, especially if you turn them into mini activity books to share with others.

Have a teen writing group? Zines are a great activity to share with them as well.

More about Zines: https://www.slj.com/?detailStory=middle-school-ya-zine-project-makes-kids-the-bosses

Nonfiction to help you in your pursuit of zines:


  1. […] thought of creating your own zine? Now’s the […]

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