So You Want to Make a Zine (Part 2)

As our world becomes more dominated by digital media, it's easy to forget that there are still things books can offer that computers can't. And one of the greatest things about books is that they are physically engaging, so zinesters, don't be afraid to play with the shape and presentation of your projects. Allow your creativity to take over and treat each page with love. Why make a boring old zine when you can make an exciting new zine? With enough imagination, you can bring that same excitement that exists on your zine's cover into its inner pages. And the whole piece can become one cohesive, creative experience, from start to finish.

Here are some items and strategies that will be helpful for both the creative process and production:


1)..   An Exacto-Knife: With an exacto-knife, you have more control over the types of cuts you make, so it comes in handy whenever you’re trying to cut tight corners or odd angles.

2)..   A Cutting Mat: You’ll run the risk of damaging a lot of furniture, carpets, and floors if you don't have a cutting mat.

3)..   Scrapbooking Tape: It’s clean and flexible. It’s double-sided and removable. Scapbooking tape allows you to make mistakes and play with composition.

4)..   Glue Stick: A good alternative to liquid glue, because liquid glue tends to wrinkle paper.

5)..   Black Sharpie: Usually, when you erase pencil marks, the ink will lift, leaving behind a grainy trail of black. Though “grainy” can be a good look, sometimes you really just want a bold black and sharpies are good for creating the darkest, boldest marks that will translate well into photocopies.

6)..   Metal Ruler: Flimsy rulers break easily. A metal ruler is stronger, sturdier, and it keeps your papers in place, while you mark them.

7)..   A Bone Folder: A bone folder is a thin but firm tool that resembles an envelope opener. This is useful for making quick, clean creases into your paper or cardstock. You can also use it to fold your pages without leaving any oily residue on your paper, and to flatten or eliminate any unwanted imperfections.

8)..   12.5” Long-Reach Stapler: In order to staple your zine in the middle of the folded page, you’re going to need a long-reach stapler. Once you have this essential item, you can also play with different formats and sizes. You can create anything from small ashcans to larger, full-length magazines.

STRATEGIES: Create a mock-up (or a dummy). Play with form and structure.

With a mock-up you can write notes to yourself, see what you want to layout on each page, figure out the flow of your mini-magazine, and decide on the following:

1)..   Size and shape.
2)..   How many pages do you want to to be?
3)..   How many copies are you going to make?
4)..   Are you going to print in black and white or in color?

Never lose sight of how you're going to print things. If you make your dummy the exact size you want your zine to be, you can predict what it will look like after you print it, and you can have a better sense of your audience's experience.

There is no ONE way to create a zine; everyone has their own approach. Zines become the finger prints to individual personalities and each zine expresses a unique voice, so once you've found your source of inspiration and once you know what you want to say, the next question to consider is, "How do you want to say it?"