Personal Making Assignment 1: Hacking Zine

Hacking (noun):

  1. the gaining of unauthorized access in a system (Google)
  2. creatively overcoming limitations to achieve novel or clever outcomes in a spirit of playfulness or exploration (Wikipedia)

As we read in Making or Making Do, everyone is a maker, even if the kinds of making they do don’t fit into the Western, “Make Magazine” definition of making. Everyone has hacked something at some point in time. Have you mended some clothes instead of throwing them out? Used household objects in unconvential ways to quickly address a problem? Appropriated some branches as tools while out in nature? For your first personal making assignment, your job is to make a zine about one (or more) times you’ve hacked something.

What is a zine? Short for “fan magazine,” and gaining huge popularity in the counter-culture movements (particulary punk and sci-fi) of the 1960s, zines were a way for people–before the age of the internet–to spread information, fandom, and culture outside of mainstream media. Associated with “DIY” (do-it-yourself) movements, anyone who had access to a copy machine could mass produce and distribute their own zines.

The zine should be folded from a single piece of 8.5x11 paper (see folding instructions below). This assignment is not about drawing ability. Feel free to use whatever methods you want to construct your zine, including printing and/or finding resources and cutting and gluing them, like we did in class for our name stands. The more important things to focus on are telling a coherent story and creating something visually appealing, regardless of drawing abilities.

Your zine should have a cover page with a title, 6 pages of content (it can be sparse per page), and a back cover with at least one method of contact (e.g., email, social media).

How to fold a zine

How to fold a zine

To fold a zine, make 8 rectangles and cut across the middle. Pay special attention to the orientation of the pages: pages 3-6 are upside down on the top row, while the front and back covers and pages 1-2 are right side up on the bottom row. Instructions from Social Studio.

Tips & Resources

  • Before you even start folding a piece of paper, sketch out and thumbnail your zine. Draw 8 small boxes and roughly spatially plan what imagery and text you want on each page. It’s good to approach (all things in this class) with a plan!
  • When printing, cutting, and gluing resources, make sure they are the correct size. Each individual page is roughly 4x2.5 inches (leaving space for margins). Popular free online design tools include Canva and Figma. The 24 hour Cowart IT lab computers also have computers installed with Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator/InDesign.
  • Speaking of hacking and appropriation, here is a Google Slide template sized out to be a 8.5x11 zine pre-divided into sections. Feel free to make a copy of it and paste digital resources so they print at the right size!
  • Printing resources are available at (you need to be logged onto the campus network). I do not recommend designing your whole zine digitally and printing it from a single sheet of paper, as most printers need some margins, so your zine will not fold correctly.
  • If you need materials (scissors, glue, old issues of AI magazine) and didn’t take any in class (or need more), please stop by my office (Edmunds 111) - but send me a Slack DM first to make sure I’m there.
  • YouTube video: What is a Zine? from the ASU Library
  • Making Comics by Scott McCloud is a huge comic book about making good comics, if you want to dive in deep.

Sample zines

Grading & Submission

  • Take photos/scans of each page of your Zine (cover, pages 2-3, pages 4-5, pages 6-7, back cover). Merge them into a single PDF file and upload that to Canvas.
  • Also bring your zine to class on Tues 1/23 for our first personal making critique. I know sharing personal art and narratives can be dauting: don’t worry, we’ll go over norms and how to give constructive and caring feedback beforehand. If you borrowed any materials, please return them during this class too!

Estimated/expected time: It is my hope you spend no more than 5 hours on this assignment. Ideally, you will spend around 1 hour brainstorming and thumbnailing your zine, and no more than 30 minutes per page.


  • ✓+ : Zine tells a coherent story and shows careful thought and effort in visual presentation, design, and narrative
  • ✓ : Zine tells a coherent story about hacking
  • ✓- : Not all pages are filled out, story is confusing