Zines: How to, tips and what not

Forums HEGFA Zines: How to, tips and what not

This topic contains 17 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by alan 10/30/18/16:42.

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  • #14764

    I think most of us in this forum, share our love and passion for zines, photobooks and all things involving bringing our photographs into the real world by pressing ink onto some surface.

    I thought of creating a little topic, to share some ‘tips’ and ‘how to’s’ print and publish our work, i.e. what printer(s) you use (brands, models), indesign tips (if you use that), binding methods, file preparation, photoshop settings for bw printing on digital printers, etc.

    Im not sure if there’s any interest in sharing your experiences/doubts/questions about this?

  • #14774

    I’m definitely interested in seeing everyone’s process for getting stuff from photo to print.

  • #14775

    Great topic. Can’t wait to see some of the responses. Just made my first zine a couple months and used Blurb. Helped a lot in the learning process but just feel like I scratched the surface.

  • #14778

    Cool topic, i usually use in design. I used to print at home on a brother printer but it shit the bed. Anyways this is probably my favorite video on laying out a zine. Straight and to the point.

  • #14780

    First ill make small work prints of about 50+ photos I’d like to use in the zine, lay them all out on the floor and do some sequencing by hand. I typically have 17 spreads per zine which is about 35 photos or so in each zine depending on the way I lay them out. After that I use photoshop with a pretty simple template I made with guidelines for placing photos and place them accordingly. I’ll print one with a print flow from photoshop thru apple preview and make sure its exactly what I want. Make some changes if needed then go on to print more copies. Each copy takes about 2 min to print, then I cut them to size via a guideline I print on one side of each page, fold and bind. Each copy probably takes about 15 – 20 min in total to make.

  • #14781

    Good stuff @stoopkid, I do the same when I’m choosing my photos. I never thought about using photoshop for the layout. Interested to see how others create.

  • #14783


    my first chapter was darkroom prints and costo prints, then copy machine. second chapter was layout pages in photoshop, print it out inkjet, then copy machine.

    now its indesign to double sided laser printer. i went through at least 10 different laser printers over the years, all brands. a printer repair guy referred me to the hp p3015 and i have been using it for maybe 5 years now. i am on my 4th one. replacing parts is one thing, but its easier to just get a new one because you can find them used for $100. ink is $30 on amazon. the high yield catridges run 12,500 pages.

    its not the nicest quality, but for zine purposes it is fine for me.

    for other things, indesign to pdf. then pdf to online printer. still experimenting here but its usually docucopies or smartpress or mgxcopy.

  • #14797

    Great to see some of your experiences guys… In my case, is also similar to some of yours, I usually define an idea/subject/theme, then after getting a general edit through lightroom I print them in 6×4 on a fuji kiosk, then edit them on the floor, before jumping on the computer into indesign for the final layout and design.

    However, and were things get bit tricky, and this might be a question to Ray? (please feel free if any of you guys have an answer to this), I usually send my zines to a printer to get them done after they are layout and designed. Not because I can’t do them myself, but, because to the printers I have access to, they have two problems I have not been able to solve:

    • Can’t get them to print full bleed. Not a major, but I’d love to know how. Sure you can trim the final print even further (instead of folding an A4 (letter size for you guys in the us) to an A5 (half letter size), the half LS would then have to be trimmed further getting an odd aspect for the photos or zine?

    • the second one, is double sided printing. They never match, and never even also. I can sort of figure it out that if I click the ‘scale to fit’ option when printing, I get more less anything in between 5 to 7mm margins on every side, however on the back side of the page, sometimes I would get a 5mm margin and sometimes I would get 2mm! so is very uneven and seems I can’t control it, as the spreads seem to move not regularly when being flipped inside the machine? you know what i mean? any advice?

    I have access to a very decent Fuji Xerox Apeosport IV C3373 office machine. Sure, I could do one side printing and then collate the zine, but I’m not so much into that kind of style of zines, I do like pairing some images and not always have single images per spread. But maybe I should consider doing one like that tho.

  • #14798


    yeah, i dont think any laser printer can print full bleed. you need a paper cutter. a guillotine style paper cutter that can go through at least 50 sheets at a time. and then you cut the white off after folding and stapling. you have to plan ahead for this in your layout. and hope the blade is sharp and straight.

    when i was doing full bleed zines, you’ll notice they were a weird size. standard zine size is 5.5″ x 8.5″. i made ours around 5″ x 7.5″ . First I wanted full bleed, secondly i purposely wanted to make a weird zine size that was unique. but then of course people copied the size so i had to stop. i then went back to traditional size and no full bleed. lol.

    the big commerical printers aren’t printing your full bleed job on standard paper. they are printing maybe 3 or 4 jobs on giant sheets of paper and then cut it down after printing according to your specs.

    as for self serve double sided copies, usually the bigger the machine, the bigger rollers. and the bigger the rollers the more precision. but youre right, it is an issue add is never consistent. what the machine does is makes a copy on one side, stores it in a “duplex tray”, and then makes copy on the second side. if you know your way around a machine, you can bypass this system. you can make the first side of copies, just one sided. then stick the paper back in to the machine properly and copy the second side. (on my old machine, this was the only way i could make 11×17 zines. the duplex was too small.)

    anyways, zine making is not perfect and i think that is why it is perfect. book making is perfect and that is why they can charge those prices which to me is not perfect.

    • #14845

      ahhh thanks for sharing the wisdom Ray! for some reason never thought of bypassing the system and simply just do it manually, I do have a side hand feeder, so can do it there! will report when I get some shit done!

      Also, you killed me with your last sentence… 👊

    • #14852


      haha i dont even know if it makes sense.

      and yes, report back to say if the manual feed side 2 works out!

  • #14916

    I pretty much do the same things y’all do. I make a folder of all the photos I’m feeling and pull from there. I just mess around with them until I find a groove or “story”. Layout on Indesign. Then I re-edit all the photos from the original scans, which takes for fucking ever, but I like it. Print locally in Phoenix.

    But I got a question for y’all. What’s the cheapest way or place to print you’ve found? I’m real strapped for cash right now, but trying to put out a zine I’m stoked on. I’m getting quotes from all over the place, but they’re running pretty high. I read things about Risograph printing being cheap and it seems to be for a run of rad posters and stuff, but for zines still seems pricey. I looked into printing on newspaper stock, but you gotta do runs of like 1000 before they’ll even look at you.

    I’m over being precious about all the details. I wanna get it done and out however it may be, print quality and all.

    • #14936

      Funny you mention Risographs, I am right now working on a riso zine, and just like yourself the whole promise of Riso as a ‘cheap’ option is certainly not, actually is way more expensive than a digitally/xeroxed printed zine. The feel though is different which is nice about Riso. I might suck up the price difference and give it a go to see whats all the fuzz about. I guess part of why Riso’s are expensive to make zines is the fact that usually riso printers are managed by a one or two person operation thing, so it’s very much a hand made process unlike digi/xerox printers where there’s hardly any human operation involved.

      Newspaper stock… yeah, been there done that, here in NZ unless you do 2 or 3000 they wont answer a quote email, and the only printer that would do that, is the one and only remaining national newspaper in the country. No other printer would do it. Unless your get some one in china to do so for you.

  • #14921


    the cheapest way is to do it yourself, i have found more than one free xerox machine on craigslist. if you have to buy, you can get one for $100. if not copy machine, than double sided laser printer.

    if you wanna send it off, these are the sites i have used.

    this one is cheap cheap paper zines – https://www.docucopies.com/

    this one i used for years, nice nice printing – http://smartpress.com

    and this one is a bit better than that last one, san diego – http://mgxcopy.com

  • #14925

    I know people who use printingcenterusa.com with good results. They give coupons too I know a kid getting his next zine printed for 50% off. If you’re doing BW look into some sort of laser printer. I use a Brother HL-L6200DW with great results. Deli Xerox was how I made my first zines but that might just be in NY. Maybe a pharmacy or something in phoenix has a Xerox.

  • #14933

    I’m gonna be kinda traveling for the next year or so. I won’t be able to print myself, but as soon as I’m settled you bet imma start hunting Craigslist for a Xerox machine. Thanks for the recs, friends!

    • #15203

      I just found out about Newspaper Club. Looks like they do one offs in tabloid size. Not really cheap but maybe a cool spot for low run newsprint stuff.

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