Photo by Jason Jaworski

Ok so while I do write a bunch of stuff here on this site I am thinking it is maybe time to start writing about more helpful topics. I get a lot of questions about making zines, therefore this will be the first of many posts about zines, magazines, books, and self-publishing in general.

Anyways, there are 3 basic ways to make a zine. For some of you this may seem like very basic info, but you should know that there are people who didn’t know that self publishing is an option. I guess maybe I should start with “Why Make a Zine” because the intention will serve the final format. But let’s go out of order because first rule is no rules. Also obviously I could’ve made “How to Make a Zine” but let’s start here just to have the extended intro to the topic.

Disclaimer : When I refer to zines, magazines, and books I am mostly (99%) talking about photography zines, magazines, and books. This stuff should apply to any genre but we are coming from a photography side of things. FYI.

3 Ways to Make a Zine

As I am writing this more pre-post ideas keep popping up like, “What is a Zine?” should be the first post. I’ll write that later. For today’s purposes we shall say a zine is decorated pieces of paper, folded in half, stapled and reproduced in quantity for the purpose of distribution. And by decorated I mean decorated with photos. And by reproduced I mean xerox copies, photo copies, laser copies, digital copies.. whatever you want to call them. Also this is just 3 ways to make a zine, there might be a lot more.

Option A – Rubber Cement

This is the traditional way. My favorite way. You take your content (photos) and edit them with scissors. Then glue them to paper. Then make copies of that “master copy” and then collate, fold, and staple. I like to use rubber cement because it holds good but you can also still peel it off and re-position things if need be. Regular glue is messy and too permanent. Tape is just annoying. But again, no rules. Rubber cement is just my preference.

Option B – Rubber Cement and Photoshop.

Edit your pages on Photoshop and print it out on a printer. Turn those prints into a “master copy” with rubber cement and paper. I made zines this way for years. Instead of chopping up my 4×6 photos with scissors, I could scan them, resize in Photoshop, print them out and use them that way.

Option C – Photoshop and Indesign.

This is the modern way. It is so fast and easy. Edit photos in Photoshop, lay them out in Indesign. Export to pdf. This pdf is your “master copy”. Nowadays you can take your usb thumb drive to Kinko’s, plug it into a copier or any printer, and print out 1000s of copies of your zine. Or you can upload your pdf to a bunch of different services online and they will mail you your zines. Or, the way I do it, is go buy a laser printer that does double sided printing. I output my pdfs and then just fold and staple and boom I’m done.

I will go into more detail on this in the next one, “How to Make a Zine”. I just thought it might be cool to do shorter more frequent posts. I think I will title this series of posts “Zine Masters”, get it? Making master copies to make copies off of.