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I got the idea to make one of these zines from We Make Zine’s own Sophie Sherwood. I had known about the 8-page mini zine format for a while, but like most folks, I thought they worked best if you drew directly to the paper master and xeroxed from there.They are fast, easy and cheap. Just the thing if you want to make a zine that is political or topical that needs a quick turn around.
I had never considered the format for a photo zine. I assumed the photos would be too small and the space would be too limited. Sophie did two things to make the format more photo friendly.
First, she moved the title of the zine to a paper wrapper, sort of like a cigar band. This saved precious space in the zine itself.
Second, she used both sides of the sheet of paper for photos.
I liked both of her innovations and set out to make my own. Here are some of the production problems I ran across and how I fixed them.
The 8-page format works with one side of a piece of paper. The other side is not used -- and in my view, is wasted. That was one of my biggest problems with the format. I liked Sophie's idea of using both sides. The result is like two issues of a zine on one piece of paper -- a reversible booklet. You could look at one zine, then unfold it, and refold each seam the opposite way to get a totally different zine. The major problem here is getting the seams to line up. In my experience this is nearly impossible.
Neither inkjet printers, nor Xerox machines grab the blank paper the same way each time. This means the content may slide few millimeters one way or the other each page they print. I found that my home inkjet printer could be off by as much as a quarter of an inch (around 6mm) I did the same test at a print shop and the professional machines, while not as bad, were still off by as much as 3 or 4mms. I decided to take the coward's way out and print a large image on the backside of my zine. I made it’s borders 3mm larger than the 8-page zine on the other side. That way I have a very good chance of having it cover the whole back when I crop the other side. I printed “Free poster inside” on the paper band. Of course, when you unfold the zine, the poster will have a slit cut into its center.
All printers are different, so it is important to know how close to the edge of the paper your’s can print. That will help you determine the borders you need to leave, and where the quarter folds of your 8-page zine should fall.
I did find that the folded zine looked much better if when I printed on the thinnest paper available. There are so many folds in the finished zine that the outer page edges tend to be too short because they have the longest distance to travel around the folds. I found that thin photo paper and a bone folder kept this to a minimum.
I hope this is helpful. If you make an 8-page mini photo zine, please let me know. I would love to see what other folks do with the format.