We Make Zines

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Hi Everybody,

I was just going through a pile of zines I have. Some as old as 4 years. I was looking for a few particular ones, but thought I would separate them as ones I know I want to keep and ones to look at/read later.

As I was going through them I found a number that had used rubber bands for "binding" and a few that were just folded with nothing holding them together. In my opinions these ways of holding a zine together suck.

For example I dropped the box. Zines everywhere. Zines that are not stapled together come apart and unless I really know that zine and care, I don't care enough to try and figure out how it goes together (unnumbered pages too) so that zine will get thrown away (which I think I have done to 2 zines in my life). Also, zines that are not bound in any way will fall apart in your bag and are more difficult to read (because you basically have to hold them together).

The rubber band method seems like a good idea at the time, but rubber bends loose their elasticity pretty quickly and will break and often stick to the zine, so you are left with jacked up zine covers and no binding, which will make it prone to falling apart easily.

Since there seem to be a lot of new zinesters on this forum I thought I would pass on this bit of info. Obviously, just my opinion, but I do have 14 years of zine collecting and writing to base it on. :-)

Feel free to add on your opinions and advice of what you would recommend not doing in zine making.

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Emma Stronach said:
Hehe yeah it was a bit of a rigmarole. Is there one type that is better than another? I had a look at OfficeWorks (like Kinkos I think) and they started at $40... but to save my poor fingers I'm definitely going to get my hands on one.

Mostly I worry because kids buy my "Creatures and Dreams" one. I've put a little warning in the next issue, arrows pointing to the staples saying "be careful". I think I may have to find another way to bind those particular ones though. They have a paper doll as the centrefold, so the staples would get opened when they take it out anyway...

Emma, this is the stapler that I use. I like it because it has a "book form" that you can fit your zine onto while stapling, so pages don't slip around. It works great for me because I usually do quarter or half size zines. If you're working in a larger format, it might not be as accommodating.

If you're worried about staples causing injury, sewing the binding is a good option, though it can be labor intensive. When I sew the binding of zines, I use a "three hole" method. There's a tutorial with pictures here.
That looks perfect actually, thankyou so much for the link. Can't wait to see how you make a notebook with a chopstick ;)

K. said:
Emma Stronach said:
Hehe yeah it was a bit of a rigmarole. Is there one type that is better than another? I had a look at OfficeWorks (like Kinkos I think) and they started at $40... but to save my poor fingers I'm definitely going to get my hands on one.

Mostly I worry because kids buy my "Creatures and Dreams" one. I've put a little warning in the next issue, arrows pointing to the staples saying "be careful". I think I may have to find another way to bind those particular ones though. They have a paper doll as the centrefold, so the staples would get opened when they take it out anyway...

Emma, this is the stapler that I use. I like it because it has a "book form" that you can fit your zine onto while stapling, so pages don't slip around. It works great for me because I usually do quarter or half size zines. If you're working in a larger format, it might not be as accommodating.

If you're worried about staples causing injury, sewing the binding is a good option, though it can be labor intensive. When I sew the binding of zines, I use a "three hole" method. There's a tutorial with pictures here.
I got my Swingline long-arm stapler for $25 or $30 @ Staples (though of course support a local biz if you have the option).

And yeah, I ripped my finger open once on a zine by a friend who assembles a stack of pages & staples through the edge instead of folding & stapling through the spine. NOT COOL.

Emma Stronach said:
Hehe yeah it was a bit of a rigmarole. Is there one type that is better than another? I had a look at OfficeWorks (like Kinkos I think) and they started at $40... but to save my poor fingers I'm definitely going to get my hands on one.

Mostly I worry because kids buy my "Creatures and Dreams" one. I've put a little warning in the next issue, arrows pointing to the staples saying "be careful". I think I may have to find another way to bind those particular ones though. They have a paper doll as the centrefold, so the staples would get opened when they take it out anyway...

Niku said:
a good long arm or pamphlet stapler will be soooo worth it! even just to not go through that hell!
As others have said, please number pages (makes it easier to refer to things when people write to you, among other things!), include contact info, and make it legible. Also, I really like to have the author's name (or pen name) clearly on the cover - it surprises me how many people don't do this. Date (or at least season & year) of 1st printing is good. And as mentioned above, DO NOT staple through the edge like you would a regular unfolded stack of paper. If you must, please tape over it with duct / electrical / bookbinding tape to prevent injury. But really, a long-arm stapler doesn't cost that much, especially if you plan to keep making zines - and you can always use the one at the copy shop if need be.
Staples
In regards to sewing, if the zine is relatively thin you could probably put it through a sewing machine. I have seen people do it for art based objects so I dont see why you couldnt do it with a zine.

x
I think it could be fairly thick, but you'd need to use a heavy needle (like for sewing jeans). However, one point here would be to make the stitches quite long. I have sewn little paper books on the sewing machine before. If you make the stitches too close together, it is like perforations and the paper will come apart where you meant to stick it together. :)


Katie D said:
In regards to sewing, if the zine is relatively thin you could probably put it through a sewing machine. I have seen people do it for art based objects so I dont see why you couldnt do it with a zine.

x
All good suggestions! I especially like the suggestion of including a date and contact info -- you never know when that stuff will benefit you.

Also, I want to repeat the suggestion that if you don't mind other people copying and distributing your work then make that clear. That's if you don't mind. I think if the subject is not broached within a zine then the safe assumption is that it's not okay to copy and distribute at will (contacting the zinester would be the next move).
Sexy ;)


sailor H said:
Thanks for the reminder on rubber bands- I've been using them for my Madagascar zine because with about 40 pages, it takes awhile to stitch bind the thing. But I forgot that they disintegrate! Guess I'll pull out the waxed thread, awl, and bookbinding thread again! And I've used an item similar to a chopstick when binding- I put a porcupine quill on the front cover by integrating it into the binding of the cover to the pages. Kinda like these buttons were incorporated into the binding of this book:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/lubsy1/2592334533/
Oooh that is so not cool. Staple impalment hurts so much more than a paper cut ;P

I'm on my way to buy a longarm cos I sold two paintings today, going to make myself a belt with a holster for it.

Colin Tedford said:
I got my Swingline long-arm stapler for $25 or $30 @ Staples (though of course support a local biz if you have the option).

And yeah, I ripped my finger open once on a zine by a friend who assembles a stack of pages & staples through the edge instead of folding & stapling through the spine. NOT COOL.

Emma Stronach said:
has legible font been mentioned? I love mini zines but sometimes the font is so small and crammed together (i.e. no spacing or layout of any kind), I just can't read it. Plenty of larger zines have way too small font too.
I understand saving money by getting as much material into a few pages as possible, but if no one can stand to read it, it doesn't matter. try at least 10 point, if you can't fit it into the fewer pages, reorganize it into an additional issue. In my opinion if you have to charge 50 cents more or something, that is totally fine and worth it. Also, ask Ciara - she has a lot of ideas for and experience with making zines both efficient as well as easy to read and good layout.
Please please!
I also second the margin thing, I find it challenging myself and will just say, add extra extra margin room just to be safe. not all copiers can really be trusted...
xoxo
Rick Bradford said: "Also, I want to repeat the suggestion that if you don't mind other people copying and distributing your work then make that clear. That's if you don't mind. I think if the subject is not broached within a zine then the safe assumption is that it's not okay to copy and distribute at will"

Rick, do you mean in any case? For example, I have an old rare mini comic from the 80s you would kill for. There's no way you are going to find a copy of it, anywhere. Do you think I could make a copy for you, or should your desire remain unfulfilled forever?

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