Zine tutorial - how to make a story booklet

In a recent blog post I outlined how I support play-based learning and want SBKM creations to be a part of that. Each of the SBKM characters I design has a background story. Last year I decided to start writing out the stories into little booklets and including them with the purchase of the related plushie. I'm slowly catching up and creating booklets for them all. So, why do I want you to make your own story booklets? Well, for a few reasons:

  • If you bought an SBKM plushie for a child in your life then hopefully you're also reading the story that goes with it to them. This article does a terrific job outlining the proven benefits of reading out loud to kids and some tips on how to make it happen.
  • In addition to sharing together the stories I've written, hopefully this sparks an interest in making up other stories about the same characters. So, make your own story booklets!
  • Storytelling, telling stories out loud using voice and gesture, is an important activity for kids to participate in and learn, and research shows it has a profoundly positive impact on literacy development. So read stories aloud, make up stories together and then write out those little tales together!

Where to start - paper

The method I follow is roughly the one outlined by Jordan Clark in her video How to make a zine. Start with a regular old 8.5"x11" plain piece of paper and fold and create your booklet as shown in the video.

You can go ahead and make your story out of this booklet as Jordan does, or you can use it as a template and make your story booklet out of something else. Here's a video outlining how I use scrapbook paper as a background for a story booklet:

 I've also used scrapbook parchment paper painted to resemble old leather. You can cover your regular paper with other papers - scraps of paintings you would otherwise throw away, wrapping paper that can't be recycled, tissue paper, old pages of books that have fallen apart - use your imagination!

Your kids don't have to be able to use scissors, draw, or paint in order to create a colourful background for your stories. Tearing paper is an terrific activity to help kids build fine motor skills and I also think it looks pretty neat.

Adhesive options

If you're going to add items to your story booklet - either papers or embellishments - which glue should you use?

For affixing paper use either glue sticks or regular old school glue. If you're adding embellishments like glitter or sequins then tacky glue is good as it dries clear. If you want to get fancier and go for a decoupage look then mod podge will work but this can sometimes result in bubbles, wrinkles and a sticky surface so if I'm going fancy then I use matte medium.


Again, the only boundary here is your imagination. Making story books is a terrific way to use up stickers, glitter and sequins. You can also use ink stamps, washi tape and draw little illustrations. Bear in mind that if an embellishment is 3D like a puffy sticker then it may make your story booklet hard to scan and copy if you want to make additional copies to share.

Other uses

In addition to making your own stories these booklets can be used to make zines, greeting cards (I made Valentine's Day cards for my sons' classmates using this method), vacation journals, a memento of camp, thank you notes, social stories, comic strips... Comment below if there's other uses you can think of.

Share your stories!

If you decide to make your own story booklet (or ten!) with the kids in your life I would LOVE to see them! Please feel free to post pictures of them on my Facebook pageor if you post on Instagram then tag me and use the hashtag #sbkmstories

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