This week I am doing it myself and creating a zine, a small, self‐published booklet of work. Anything can be included in a zine, and how many zines are published is up to the creator. Content ranges from personal essays to comics to artwork ‐ or a combination of all three. Zines are idiosyncratic. My favorite part: there are no rules. So, now that we have established there are no rules, here are some guidelines and how I made *my zine:
1. Collect the items needed to create a zine:
I am learning to screen print for the first time, and anyone who has practiced screen printing knows there are less‐than‐perfect prints that result sometimes, especially in the beginning. So I am using old prints for my zine pages! Hooray! These are being put to good use. Reuse and recycle. One could also use scrap paper, printed photocopies, handmade paper, or even old envelopes.
–dental floss (you heard me!)
–a large needle
–a pen (mark, printer, or whatever you are going to use to make marks, writing or artwork, on your zine pages)
–a paper clip
2. Mark, write and cover, your zine pages. Ideas and what has been done:
–text: essay, article, poetry
–artwork: drawings, comics, infographs
3. Fold each piece of paper and cut the folded edges
I folded both of my 5” x 7” screen prints in half and then stacked them folded on top of each other and then cut the folded edge of the paper
4. Now unfold your paper so that the cuts, or holes, of each sheet are aligned
5. If your paper is about 5” in height, cut about 3’ of floss and thread it through your large needle. If your paper is taller that 5”, cut a little more than 3’, and if your paper is shorter, cut a little less.
6. Start at the top of your sheet and penetrate the top cut with your needle.
7. Make a loop over the edges of the two sheets back through the top cut, and then zigzag through one side to another down the aligned holes.
8. Make a loop at the bottom and travel back up the aligned holes to reinforce the binding of your zine’s spine. When you only have about two inches of floss left, make a knot where you end up along the spine so that your floss is securely fashioned.
9. Fold your pages back, so that your zine is in booklet form with the spine on one edge and your zine opening on the other.
10. If needed, flatten your zine by setting something heavy on the cover until the zine is flat.
Viola! We have a zine!
Where does one find a zine?
Zines and other underground publications are hard to find or unavailable in stores, although you may be able to find zines in some libraries or at independent bookstores, especially in larger cities. The best way to find out about zines is through word of mouth and networking. For instance, I am taking a drawing class, and as my class watched a film, I quietly made my fourth zine. Some classmates saw me, and we began talking about zines. A friend said, “Kyle wants to start a zine club.” Then I knew: Kyle is also interest in or making zines too!
In addition, there are several publications that review zines, giving ordering information for the zine as part of their review. There are also several online communities where zine publishers network, give each other feedback, and promote their zines.
What to do with a zine after it is made?
Think about whom you want to read it and then decide where you want to put it.
Several things you could do:
–check in with the zine communities above.
–cherish it for yourself.
–send it to loved ones and friends.
–check in with your local bookstore to see if they would want to sell it for a couple dollars, the going rate.
–check in with your local library to see if you could set it on a table or display rack. Maybe they have a zine archive or collection!
–trade your zine for another publisher’s zine. You are both publishers – and proud self‐publishers at that!
Lots of zine publishers trade their zines! You want to trade?! Shoot me an email at email@example.com, tweet at us, or write on our wall. OR post a photo here! We would love to see *your zine!
P.S. Here is a great video of a guy giving a zine tutorial. His zine is different from mine, reinforcing that your zine can be and look however you want it. THERE ARE NO RULES.
Peace, love, and zine joy,