Sunday, June 23, 2013

Mini zine swap - mail by July 29th

For this swap we are creating mini zines out of a single sheet of paper.

But first, what's a zine?
According to our good friends at wikipedia:

A zine (/ˈzn/ ZEEN; an abbreviation of fanzine, or magazine) is most commonly a small circulation self-published work of original and/or appropriated texts and images usually reproduced via photocopier.

For this swap, we are creating a particular style of zine:  one created from a single sheet of standard 8 1/2 x 11 copy paper, with no binding or stapling required.
A few folds and a single cut transforms the paper into a small booklet.
You will create an original master zine and then make 5 color copies to send for the swap.

I will outline the steps in photos, but if you learn better by watching and listening, I filmed an incredibly goofy video showing you the basic technique and offering a few tips.

To get started, choose your topic.
Ideas include:
  • A tutorial (I wrote one about how to make gelatin prints) 
  • A memoir (I wrote one about a road trip I took in 1989)
  • A fictional story
  • An illustrated poem
  • A tribute to your favorite .... (movie, hobby, artist, place, etc)
  • A mini art journal - you could scan pages from your art journal and shrink them down to fit on the small pages or create original pages just for this swap
 Don't feel limited by that list.  The content and style is complete up to you.  You can get more inspiration here and here.  

Next, you need to plan your layout.
I find it much easier to create the zine when the paper is still flat, rather than after I've folded it, but you need to know how to sequence your pages so they line up properly.

Here's a template:

and here's the master sheet of my road trip zine:

I used a piece of painted card stock as my base, and I cut appropriately sized rectangles out of more card stock to create the art for each page.  I glued the pages down according to the template and photocopied this master sheet onto standard copy paper.  It was a little tricky making sure my 8 rectangles were glued with perfect alignment to where the folds would be once I copied it.

For my gelatin print tutorial, I took one of my actual gelatin prints to use as the background for the zine:

I folded it so I could define the rectangles, then unfolded it, smoothed it out, and wrote directly onto that sheet (turning the paper according to the template so that my writing wouldn't be upside down once I folded it.)  I printed a few of my photos in tiny sizes and glued them onto the sheet.  The downside is that I kept making mistakes in my writing which would ruin the whole sheet and make me start over.  The upside is I knew my text and pictures would line up perfectly within the folds.

So now you've made your master, and made your photocopies.
It's time to fold and cut.
I suggest practicing this technique several times on plain paper before you try it with your color copies.
Fold it in half one way (I usually fold it back and forth and really crease it well on both sides)

Unfold it, then fold it in half the other way:

Now fold the edge toward the center and repeat on the other side.

Now you should have 8 rectangles and it's time to make the cut.
Unfold it, then fold it in half again this way:

Make a cut from the folded edge to the next fold line:

Unfold it and refold it this way:

 Now push the ends toward each other to make the pages pop out:

Fold it so the front cover is on top and the fold for the book spine is on the left:

Need to see it in action?


Swap details:
  • create an original mini zine out of one sheet of paper, using the technique shown.
  • make five color copies of that zine.  Keep your original for yourself, and send the five copies to me (cut, folded and ready to swap.)
  • Make sure your name and email address and/or website is on the back of your zine.
  • Put your zines in an envelope along with a mailing label with your name and address, and enough postage to cover the cost of mailing the envelope back to you.  You don't need to include an empty envelope, or postage for five envelopes.  You're going to get back five different zines in one envelope.  (so it would be nice if they envelope you use to send them to me is somewhat sturdy so it will be easy for me to reuse.)
  • You can also send me the cost of postage via paypal if you'd prefer -
  • Let's stick to five copies on this swap just in case we don't get a lot of participants.  The beauty of keeping your master sheet is that you can make more copies and swap them privately with others at any time.
  • Drop it in the mail no later than July 29th:
Karen Isaacson
PO Box 532
Shrewsbury, MA 01545
United States

Questions? Suggestions? Links to good resources?
Leave me a comment!


Angie said...

Karen, That is a great video!! You are SO beautiful.

Brava, brava, brava!


Terrie said...

Woohoo - this sounds totally fun! Hmmm, what should my topic be?

Kelsey Chen said...

I already made and copied my zine, but I must have missed the part where it says colored copies. I would re copy them, but I don't have a color copier. Is it okay if I just use my black and white ones?

big mamabird said...

Mmmm ,we haven't done these in a while here, but I still remember how! Yay...they are fun...

Jo Murray said...

That's neat....thanks for all the info.

Karen Isaacson said...

Hi Kelsey, I'd really like to stick to color so that everyone is receiving similar quality. Copy centers usually have self-serve color copiers. I go to Staples and it costs about $.50 per copy.

Karen Isaacson said...

thanks Angie. (blush) I was going through my zine collection and found two mini-zines from you that I don't even remember getting. They were part of a swap-bot swap from June of 2011. I didn't even "know" you then. They are awesome and it was fun reading them again.

GinaVisione said...

You have finally forced me to do this.... OK! OK! Stop twisting my arm...! :D I'm finally ready, even though I read the TO DO book two years ago :D
And I know my topic, Yay!
I'm like the snail... slow, but steady to win the [self-imposed finally making a zine] race :D
Thanks again Gal...!

Robin said...

OMG YES im in, what a cool swap.
Off I go to play in my studio.... again.....

Anonymous said...

YES YES YES! Count me in! I LOVE Zines!

Joyfulploys said...

Yay! Sounds like a lot of fun...I've made these little books before. I'll have to see if I can find a color copy machine in our area.

Joyfulploys said...

Here's another resource....yours is better!

Lorinda.C.F said...

You have such a wonderful way of making these projects look easy. You dispel great wisdom in such an accessible way. Can't wait to see what delights you get for this swap.

karenm said...

Karen, you and your zines are gorgeous! Great swap idea. I've never made a zine but have collected them, including a where-to-go guide, history of bicycles, a collection of poems, an ode to a musician, and some cute monster comics, all sorts of pocket-sized fun!

Pie Poster said...

okay, so you said stick to 5 copies this time... are we allowed to make 2 different zines and send in a total of 10 copies?

Thanks! I'm so excited about this swap!

Karen Isaacson said...

while you know how much I love your enthusiasm, I want to stick to one zine, 5 copies. If it's a smashing success we can do it again.

Kelsey Chen said...

Awwwww. I wish I had a Staples near by ! I live in the middle of nowhere. Hmm, would it be okay if I colored in the zines?

Karen Isaacson said...

that's a good idea! (and sorry, I forgot not everybody lives in suburban strip-mall hell like I do. I take a lot of things for granted). Add some color and mail them in!

Anonymous said...

Your visual description was enough to help me successfully make a trial-run!! Yippy!! Thanks, Karen. This will be my very first, absolutely-never-thought-I'd-make-one, zine. MMSA has helped me get back in the groove of making art and I am a happy camper over it!! ~ Peggy Lynn

Anonymous said...

Going to try and do all of July's swaps this week now that round one of the Vintage is over.....need a mental health play break. Great tutorial, I am origamily challenged, this one is actually simple. xox said...

Yeah Gina -- I think you should make one!!!! said...

Hummmmmm back from my road trip and catching up on reading my favorite blogs and this looks quite enticing....let me think for a day but I just might do it!

Parabolic Muse said...

I'm not even going to comment, here. For one thing, I'm crying with delight and I can't see what I'm doing. For another thing, you already know what I'm going to say because we are THAT sympatico.

Okay, I'll just say it, since you need it spelled out for you:

Where did you get those scissors? They hit the end of that slit exactly right every time!

Linda Gibbons said...

I can't believe I already finished this! It will be in the mail in a day or two.

What fun thid was! said...

I just finished mine -- off to the color copy shop now.......Happy Zine Month!

GinaVisione said...

You too Pamela! Let's do it! I'm halfway through my design :D

Zena Darling said...

I finished my zine today, but won't be able to go to the copy shop until Monday! I will make sure it's in the mail that afternoon. You will be receiving a last minute contribution from a first-timer :)

Karen Isaacson said...

no problem - I'm so glad you're joining the swap!

RuthArt said...

this was an excellent tutorial, I love it!!! thank you so much for the video too, it really helped me.

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful tutorial, and thanks so much for making the video. I can't wait to make a ton of these!

Unknown said...

Hey Karen, I just found this site per Steph Dodson. I made your "zine" book sample. Any chance I could get a copy of your gelatin print paper. I can fold it ( or whatever is easiest way to mail). I can send you the postage. I wasn't sure you're address is the same since its dated 2013. Please let me know. Thx. Mary. Mary.grn@

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