Zine Ideas

Want to make a zine, but don’t know what to write about? Here are more than 100 prompts from a zine librarian.

Inspired by a thread from @DarkLiterata and a Facebook post by @tinfoilraccoon

  1. Your housing history
  2. Your year in reading
  3. Your favorite job
  4. Illustrate a song
  5. Library Twitter slash fiction
  6. Psychoanalyze a stranger’s Twitter feed
  7. How does a day of Instagram stories make you feel?
  8. A day in your life when you were 8
  9. All the masks in your house and why
  10. Haiku about your subway line, bike, car, skateboard, or feet
  11. When you knew you were _________
  12. If you could open a store, what would its wares be?
  13. The Kardashians: discuss
  14. a favorite book from when you were little
  15. a first or early crush. What might life look like if you were with them now. (or are you???)
  16. the contents of your backpack, purse, briefcase, satchel, whatever–where each item came from, what it signifies
  17. a zine of firsts–music you bought with your own money, thing you cooked, pair of glasses, day with braces, day at a new school, friend, period, tooth
  18. biography of an ancestor
  19. what does it feel like when you’re in charge? when someone is in charge of you? which do you prefer (or dislike less)?
  20. annotate a mix tape or playlist you made or received
  21. is there a story behind your name?
  22. your favorite butts
  23. Illustrate a week of dreams (I don’t care if you can draw or not)
  24. your history of best friends
  25. did you have Covid? What was it like?
  26. synchronized swimming fan fiction (that one’s yours @edrabinski)
  27. the first time you were arrested (if you haven’t been, make it up)
  28. did you go to your high school prom? Tell us about it, or why you didn’t go
  29. fanzine about a child star
  30. do you collect something?
  31. your relationship to the seven deadly sins
  32. your relationship to the ten plagues
  33. write in your journal for a year and then make a zine out of whatever you want to include (this is what I do)
  34. your friends and lovers, by sun sign, annotated
  35. a zine of fuck/marry/kills from works of literature
  36. your history and preferences with coffee, tea, and cocoa
  37. plan your funeral
  38. mind maps of yourself at each year of your life
  39. mind maps of your cat, dog, chicken, other animal(s)
  40. how dare @sweetgreen default to no bread
  41. find all of the images of butts in @InterferenceArc (or your local, radical archive or museum or whatever) materials. Explain.
  42. have you ever given birth or witnessed a baby (or litter of kittens or whatever animal) being born?
  43. exorcise the things in your life that make you cringe or keep you up at night by writing and drawing about them. don’t sign the zine.
  44. have you have had or been part of an abortion?
  45. invent the spring or fall Olympics
  46. dream presidential cabinet and supreme court
  47. what would adult kindergarten be for you?
  48. discuss the condiments in your refrigerator. be totally honest and open to your emotions
  49. your high school friend group–where are they now?
  50. an intense topic or thread from an email discussion list (respect privacy and copyright)
  51. If I had a hammer
  52. Write cover letters for different kinds of jobs
  53. Your favorite candy, but make it political
  54. 50 ways to spend the military budget of your country
  55. 10 memes, exactly 100 words on each
  56. your personal code of conduct
  57. a Black Lives Matter protest
  58. your take on Occupy Wall Street
  59. 1000 words on your favorite soup
  60. your relationship (or not) with god(s)
  61. ten things that make you cry
  62. five movies, 500 words on each
  63. why you love a person you love
  64. well-researched Dyke March fanzine
  65. what you’ve learned from the pandemic
  66. your thoughts on aging and the aged
  67. a time when you were hungry—literally or not
  68. why you are awesome
  69. your experiences with therapy and psych meds
  70. tell all about your cousins
  71. spend an hour in a dog park and tell us about it
  72. write your academy award speech
  73. did you ever have a conversation with a proselytizer?
  74. Mad Libs about a niche topic
  75. if you were suddenly in charge of the world, what are the first five things you would enact?
  76. how do you think you’d be different if you were born 25 years earlier or later than you were?
  77. impossible battles, e.g., pizza or tacos
  78. do you have a happy place? or can you sabotage any happy scenario?
  79. what are your weird phobias and why?
  80. what do you want to be when you grow up?
  81. a day in the life of your nemesis
  82. if you had an imaginary friend now, what would they be like?
  83. what have you gotten away with lately?
  84. your thoughts on the British monarchy?
  85. what should reparations look like?
  86. ten people you’ve lost track of and what they were like when you knew them? (from Kate Haas’s Hotel of Lost Companions feature in her zine Miranda)
  87. keep track of your stray thoughts for a month and flesh them out (also from Kate Haas’s zine Miranda) https://katehaas.com/miranda/
  88. if you could purr, would you? 1,000 words
  89. ways you have personally been impacted by global climate change
  90. DIY zine about overthrowing capitalism
  91. have you ever served jury duty?
  92. what is enough (money, time, stuff…)?
  93. your personal 10 commandments
  94. what is the best kind of apple and why? Draw it and write 1000 words wherever the prompt takes you
  95. describe your Barbie Dream House
  96. when your country is indescribably fucked up, do you leave or stay and fight? Theoretically
  97. If you were a Crowley, what servants would you have?
  98. at what sport could you have been a contender?
  99. what was your best birthday?
  100. what do you shave, if anything?
  101. what are you willing and unwilling to give up to make the world more equitable?
  102. describe your thirst traps
  103. your favorite and/or least favorite quotations
  104. underpants inventory, including origin stories, anecdotes, and regrets
  105. letters to people you miss
  106. why are animals so much blobdamn better than people?
  107. have you ever been to a strip club?
  108. what do you make of the fact that Lorelai and Rory Gilmore are objectively despicable?
  109. how would your favorite theorist analyze HGTV?
  110. HGTV but make it punk
  111. why do so many adults love young adult fiction?
  112. what would your job loving you back look like?
  113. which movie(s) scarred you for life?
  114. Solve a cold case
  115. your dream six Jeopardy categories and questions, per @syndprod‘s Six Categories zine (inspired by @DougCoupland‘s Microserfs) https://t.co/M545wQxLSw
  116. your gender but make it fashion, inspired by @kellywooten https://twitter.com/kellywooten/status/1532375607715147776
  117. fanzine or minicomic about historical abolitionists, inspired by @netabomani @LVikkiml @prisonculture
  118. make a Things My Mom Thinks Made Me Gay inspired zine with your friends, like Nathalie Levine’s   https://clio.columbia.edu/catalog/12362344
  119. BINGO boards
  120. all the things you love about libraries
  121. rubrics for evaluating things in your life
  122. is presenting different than teaching? Why/why not (can you tell I’m in a pedagogy workshop rn?)
  123. how do we avoid returning to an unjust “normal” if the pandemic ever subsides?
  124. compilation zine about your local food co-op (I’ve been meaning to make this zine about @foodcoop for like 15 years)
  125. what triggers you, what do you think about trigger warnings?
  126. lessons learned and who taught you
  127. what petty thing enrages you? Really unpack why it makes you so upset.
  128. what have you survived?
  129. spend a week avoiding using Google and share your results. If you’re already a Google avoider, make a zine where the pages are filled with gold stars
  130. write fake Yelp reviews for everything in your house
  131. interview your friends about their plants
  132. what are your personal cures, e.g., for hiccups, falling asleep, treating or preventing a cold, etc.
  133. be like @CabooseZine and make an intentionally terrible zine (that is actually excellent) https://t.co/7oYI9vfH35
  134. solicit questions and reply with advice through a particular lens, e.g., 1950s, PMS, Anna Madrigal, a toddler
  135. what would restorative justice look like for DeJoy and DeVos?
  136. tell a story about each restaurant in your menu drawer, order history, or within a certain radius of your dwelling
  137. redact & rewrite a creationist science textbook
  138. ever taken a long-distance Greyhound or Amtrak trip?
  139. interview a band or politician or actor or whoever. If they won’t respond to your interview request, make up their answers
  140. make a zine about something so vulnerable and raw you can’t put your name on it
  141. cataloger compilation zine about the items on your problem carts (credit to @bartonjp @violetbfox & Honor Moody for the idea)
  142. turn an academic paper into a zine–totally re-write it for a peer/zine readership
  143. chore chart for your municipal government
  144. for my theatrical electrician friends–lighting designer slam book
  145. what is the proper way to load a dishwasher
  146. is gender over?
  147. Kangaroos
  148. your favorite middle grades book author and why it’s @CeliaCPerez
  149. explain Pete Davidson’s popularity to me like I’m five
  150. push back on medical bullshit and lies
  151. do you have a political ideology? why/what/why not?
  152. what’s your Wordle strategy and what does it reveal about you deep in your soul?
  153. what are you elitist about?
  154. what would you kill or die for–for real?
  155. what are three big things you would wish for, e.g., freedom for Palestine, @judevacation not to have killed herself, and everything from Trump’s presidency to be annulled
  156. DIY zine about moving, which I nominate @LauraBallinger to write because she organized the best move ever (it involved throwing soft goods out the window and a pulley for lowering stuff to the ground)
  157. middle school/junior high do-over
  158. make paper dolls of yourself and your clothes & accessories
  159. birthday zine for a child in your life with photos of them and family members
  160. your TED talk
  161. pretend you’re live-tweeting an event, like a bris, turn the tweets into a zine
  162. what would your dream family or friend compound look like?
  163. who are your problematic favorites and how do you navigate admiration and critique
  164. what is your relationship with your body?
  165. do you have any emergency room stories?
  166. Brussels sprouts recipes
  167. A zine of lists (like Ramsey Beyer’s zine List https://clio.columbia.edu/catalog?q=list+zines&f%5B-format%5D%5B%5D=FOIA+Document&f%5Bauthor_facet%5D%5B%5D=Beyer%2C+Ramsey&search_field=all_fields&commit=Search)
  168. Handwritten mail order catalog of stuff you make or want to shed. For best results, include an order form and postage chart.
  169. About what are you right and everyone else is wrong? Why does it matter to you so much and how do you have confidence in your minority opinion?
  170. What did you learn in school that wasn’t taught in school or wasn’t meant to be?
  171. What are the best gifts you ever gave or received and what made them so special?

If you make any of these zines and want me to add them to the Barnard Zine Library, fill out this form.

Barnard’s zines reflect the Barnard College student population. We have zines by women, nonbinary people, and trans men, with a collection emphasis on zines by women of color and a newer effort to acquire more zines by trans women. We collect zines on feminism and femme identity by people of all genders. The zines are personal and political publications on activism, anarchism, body image, gender, parenting, queer community, riot grrrl, sexual assault, trans feminisms, and other topics. Our zines are at the lower end of the production level scale and typically cost $10 or less, with most of them in the $1-$5 range.

We welcome visitors from everyday zine lovers to international scholars. Come by yourself or bring a friend, or bring your class in for a workshop. Contact zines@barnard.edu.

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