Sunday, 14 January 2018

Nature Kids - Making Zines to Spread the Word

Crazy about kākāpō? Curious about kauri? Amazed by animal poo? Wild about weka? If you are a nature fan, you can make a zine to share your passion. 

Zine is short for 'fanzine' - these self-published creations started out as homemade books by fans about their favourite bands. But they can be on any topic that you are crazy about. I got inspired to try making zines when I met Murtle Chickpea and her Zine Museum at the Wairarapa Book Bash. Here is one of the zines...

Zine - I love Nature Lots
... you can see from the title why I was inspired to make my own zines! I joined a Zine-Along workshop in Porirua Library's Long Hot Summer Story Festival to start making my zines and share ideas with the children who came along.
My first 3 zines
My first zine, was made using paper that already had a photograph on it, which created an interesting background. The photograph reminded me of Rakiura Stewart Island, one of my favourite places to see nature, so I used collage to highlight some of the animals you can see there.
Pages from my Rakiura zine
The beauty of this zine construction (see below for instructions) is that the booklet folds out flat, which makes it easy to photocopy and share. (see below for a note on sharing)
The Rakiura Zine folded out flat
For my second zine, I was inspired by finding tūī chicks in the garden. I made a zine about Tūī using my own photos.
Some pages from my Tūī zine

I wanted to try a different zine construction, so I decided to use a concertina style. I decided that the way this zine opens out suited a walk or journey.  I used both sides to show the landmarks on my local coastal walkway along with information about what animals live there.
The first four pages of my coast zine
And because I'm concerned about the safety of the penguins that live there, I put in things people can do to protect penguins.

 I used a piece of handmade paper that I found and did this one by hand.
The reverse side
The paper was so thick and springy, I needed a paper clip to keep the zine shut!

How to Make a Zine

To make a zine you need:
  • A4 or A3 paper
  • scissors
  • pens or coloured pencils
  • glue stick
  • magazines, calendars, pamphlets, photos to cut up
  • and lots of creativity and passion.
Decide how you want to fold your paper. You'll find lots of different folding ideas online.  I practised mine on scrap paper until I got it right. There's a good You Tube video on how to construct an 8-page zine like my Rakiura or Tūī zines. But I've also written some instructions here.

Sharing Zines: Zines are not sold, but given away. They are often copied in small numbers and swapped between zine makers. When you make a collage the images are often no longer recognisable and so the collage becomes your creation. But the bird photos I used for my Nature Coast collage are another adult's copyright, I knew it wouldn't be fair for me to make copies of this one without their permission, so I made it just for myself.

More on Zines:
Libraries sometimes hold zine workshops or events, ask at your local library.
For more ideas about zines:


  1. Hi Gillian,
    I am a Teacher Librarian in Australia and write educational programs for students that support picture books. I was just wondering if I could have permission to use your photograph of your instructions to make a zine. It would be inserted in the lesson plan booklet and I would put your name underneath it to acknowledge the creator. These lessons are sold with the picture books., I look forward to hearing from you,
    kind regards Jodie

    1. Hi Jodie, sorry your comment got buried in spam. If you are still interested please tell me more about your resources. You can find my contact details at