How to make a zine

I was speaking at a teachers’ conference recently about the IndonesiaZine project and there were a lot of questions from teachers about how to make a zine. So, I thought I’d post a ‘how to’.

First up – this is not the only way to make a zine! It’s just what I found worked in the workshops I’ve run in schools.

you’ll end up with a zine that looks something like this:

2016-03-16 08.45.15Well, maybe with a bit more text on it.







Step 1: set up

Start with a 5-page document in MS Word or similar. Or start with 5 blank A4 pages if you want to go freehand.

  • Page 1 is the back cover
  • Page 2 is the front cover
  • Page 3-4 is the centre spread

All of these pages will end up being reduced to A6 size so use big font – 24 point for body text should be about right.

  • Page 5 is the fold out. It will stay at A4 size so this is a good place for a comic, a longer article or a photo-story.

Step 2: create content

Fill your 5 pages with brilliant ideas.

Step 3: resize

Reduce pages 1 to 4 to A6 size.

The easiest way I’ve found to resize in MS Word is to choose the ‘layout’ menu in printer settings then select ‘4 pages per sheet’ and print.

Step 4: layout

When opened out flat, the orientation of your first 4 pages should look like this:2016-03-16 08.43.34

So if you’ve resized in MS Word, you will need to cut the page in half along the short edge and flip the centre spread. I’ve tried making MS Word turn pages upside down but it won’t do it for me – if you figure out a way, I’d love to hear from you.

Step 5: publish

Print page 5 then photocopy it back-to-back with the covers and centre spread page. Fold in half along the short edge, keeping the front and back covers facing you. Now fold in half again, keeping the front cover facing you.

Congratulations, you have just made a zine!

By the way…

If you would like me to do a zine-making workshop at your school or arts organisation, you can book me through Creative Net Speakers Agency. For more information:

Sulawesi Selatan

Students at Pinrang workshop

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve visited Indonesia, but this is my first time in Sulawesi. It’s the jigsaw-piece-shaped island that always seemed somehow remote, even though it’s only a two-hour flight from Jakarta. My visit here this time is the result of kebetulan. When I put in a grant application to the Australia-Indonesia Institute I gamely stated that I would visit a school in Makassar to do a writing workshop with the students. I had a vague plan to get the BRIDGE team at AEF on board and convinced myself not to worry, something would work out, it always does.

By the start of August, the BRIDGE team was on board and an itinerary for Java was starting to take shape but Sulawesi seemed as remote as ever. Then, kebetulan, I met Lily Farid at the Bendigo Writers Festival. Lily is the founder of the Makassar International Writers Festival, a talented writer and a true dynamo. Before I knew it, I had a MIWF t-shirt and bag and a spot on the line-up for a MIWF 2016 pre-event: a two-day workshop at SMAN 11 Unggulan Pinrang, a boarding school in a small (by Indonesian standards) town about four hours drive from Makassar.

I’m back in Makassar now, having just spent two wonderful days in Pinrang with two fellow writers (Aan Mansyur and Faisal Oddang), an inspiring Indonesian teacher (Baharuddin Iskandar) and twenty-nine enthusiastic senior high school students.

Senior High School students in South Sulawesi design zines on their laptops
Editorial teams at SMUN 11 Unggulan Pinrang prepare zines for Indonesian teachers in Australia to use as reading material in their classes

I shared my zine-making idea with the students and they were straight onto it, forming editorial teams and gathering material for zines about food, boarding school life, why everyone should read and dispute resolution Bugis-style. Within two days they had produced first editions for seven zines and one team was onto its second edition. I’ll get them onto a Wikispace to share with Indonesian teachers in Australia soon but now it’s time for me to go and explore Makassar.