Photo by Nick Jones

There are 100 ways to make a zine. This is the way I do it. 90% of this catalog was produced this way. And if you wanted to make a book, it just a matter of adding 1 or 2 more steps. I’ll write that up too in a future post.

Ok. This is how to make a black and white 40 page zine on 8.5″ x 11″ paper, folded in half, and stapled. You should know what you want the final outcome to look like. Look at other zines. In fact, grab some blank paper and fold it and play with page count and you can start to see it happening in your mind.

It is just a very simple 3 step process.

** If you don’t have a computer, then this way of making a zine will not work for you.

1. Photos.

I use Adobe Photoshop. You don’t have to though. Have all your photos at 300 dpi, at around 11″ on the long side. I like jpg better than tiff. It’s mainly because they preview quicker on my old ass computer. If you are doing 1 photo per page and you know you want 40 pages, I would actually get at least 50 photos ready so that I can have room to play with sequencing more.

2. Layout.

I use Adobe Indesign. I know people that use Word or any PDF editor as well. But for this we are going to use Adobe Indesign. If you need to, look up tutorials on the internet. I probably do this on almost every project because I forget things or am trying something different.

Open a new document and in the size area choose “8.5 x 11 – half”. This means you are making a stapled booklet on standard size paper which is what we are making. Enter “40” in the page count area. Your page count must be divisible by 4.

I only use 1 tool really when making a layout. I don’t even know what it is called. I think it is called the “frame tool”. Use that to draw boxes of where you want to drop your photos into. It helps to have some margins set up so the boxes will be easier to draw. I start with the cover and start drawing these boxes on every page. 1 by 1.

Now I wanna add photos to these boxes. I open Abode Bridge which is a separate program bundled with Adobe Indesign. I find the folder of where all my prepped photos are. From there I just drag and drop my photos, 1 by 1, into these boxes I just drew in my layout. Your photo might not look right in the box. There are different auto-resize tools in the control panel. In particular there is one for auto-horizontal fit and one for auto-vertical fit. Hit one of those depending what your doing.

** The reason I prepped all my photos at 11″ long is just in case I want to do a 2 page spread, then the resolution will be already all good to go.

3. Output.

After you have laid out all your pages, you are ready to print it. The easiest way from here is to output a PDF. You can just find “export” and then export a hi-res PDF. From that PDF, you can now upload to a website where they can print it and mail it to you. Or you can take it to any Kinkos or any local copy shop or print shop and have them make copies. It will be cheaper for you to staple it and fold it yourself, but it is convenient to have it all done and ready to go.

But for this we want to print it at home. Find a double sided laser printer. When shopping for one, look for a feature called “Duplex tray”. That means it can print on 2 sides of a piece of paper. It does this by printing on one side, then that print chills in the duplex while the machine prepares to print the second side. I use the HP P3015. It is a little older but you can find them for cheap. You can find ink for cheap on Amazon and Ebay.

So once you got your printer set up you can print from the PDF that you just made, or you can print it out directly from Adobe Indesign which is what I do. There is a print setting called “Print Booklet”. Hit that, chose landscape, chose double sided, hit print.

Once it is done printing, use a booklet stapler to reach the middle of the page. Put 2 in the middle, then fold the whole thing in half. Done.

That’s it!

You just made a zine. Print out a few more and give them away to friends and family. Maybe they will like it, maybe they won’t get it. Either way you are now a publisher.