Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Join the zineage revolution

This is a post about zines! Aw, zines. Everybody loves zines! Pity no-one knows about them. Anyway...

There's a particular way of taking one sheet of paper, making a cut in the paper, and folding the paper so that all of a sudden you have a six-page zine. It's quite clever, and is an easy way to create a booklet with few resources, and I'd be a huge fan but for one fact - almost everyone who does this leaves on side of the paper entirely blank because of the way the paper is folded.

Now I'll grant you that this is a small thing, and it might be a concern shared solely between myself and me. (I note on that site I linked they do suggest adding "secret notes on the "hidden pages" that are different for every copy of your zine.") But being economical and efficient with resources pleases me when it comes to zine making.

Occasionally, I'll come across zines that are made out of sheets of paper with print on one side of them only; so half the zine consists of blank pages. That's foregoing a little trouble (working out how to print on two sides of a sheet of paper) and using a lot more paper than you need. Other zines, I notice, the makers will print only on one side, but stick the blank sides to each other somehow - with staples, usually - to make it seem as if their zine has less pages overall. The illusion is interesting - but again I get a funny feeling in my tummy, not the good sort, when I think about all the blank paper, unprinted on.

Somewhere along the way I've become a bit of a zine maker myself - printing out the odd thing here, accidentally putting another strange thing together - and browsing through the various zines I've made (almost twenty), I find that none of them are single-sided, not even the early ones. I didn't like that idea, even then; and there is something about the challenge of making double-sided little booklets that appealed to me.

In order to make a zine this way, you do have to work out, not only the intricacies of the photocopier, but how you arrange the pages on each sheet of paper - okay, I am actually a bit obsessive about this - so that when they are all photocopied, and stapled together, the pages fall in the right order. (For instance, if you take up a book, hold it up the right way, and open it up so you can see the back cover and the front cover, you'll see that the back cover appears on the left and the front cover on the right, though you'll be reading left to right.) And you also have to make sure that you've prepared the right amount of pages, something that fits into a multiple of four. (Again it's all to do with how the pages are folded and stapled together). So periodically, in my writing notebooks, you'll find big lists of numbers like this:

36 1
2 35

34 3
4 33

32 5
6 31

30 7
8 29

And - okay, okay, I am a lot obsessive about this - so on.  And once you arrange all the pages on your sheets of paper the right way, and get the photocopier sorted out, you've got these beautiful double-sided booklets, all efficiently and economically printed out. 

Then, of course, the next part of being economical and efficient is selling the damn things.

Now that part, I'm not so good at...


Shelley said...

Have you tried using a double sided printer?

TimT said...

I have thought about getting a good printer... we do have a scanner printer but it's not brilliant. The most convenient way is just using the photocopiers at Office Works, or even better, Sticky (half the price of OW). I would want to carefully check out printers re prices, lifetimes, guarantees etc before I decided on any.

I'm sure computers have a 'print out as booklet' function that allows you to avoid working out which page goes where but I probably wouldn't use that anyway... you get a better feel for the zine working it out for yourself; and you are better able to make last-minute decisions about page placement - and working it all out is part of the fun.

Carolyn Cordon said...

My brother's mother-in-law is pretty cool with zines - she makes beautiful ones from bit and pieces of pretty things, sticks it all together with some words and voila, a new zine. She loves going to the zine fair thingo when it's on in Adelaide. I guess you go to the equivalent thing in your town, Tim?

I'm a klutz at these things, even tho Jocelyn has tried to teach me stuff. I can write, but folding is not a skill of mine.

TimT said...

There's two big zine fairs in Melbourne I regularly go to, one is run by Sticky and the other is part of the Emerging Writers Festival.

I had a craze for origami as a kid so I think I learned some of my zine coordination from that.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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