Zine occupies idle hands

Meghan WhiteColumnist Meghan White concludes her semester of crafting by creating a handmade zine.

I tried to summon up all of my wit, humor and craft skills for my last column ever for The Temple News. When that failed, I tried to come up with a craft that would at least be appropriate for the last week or so of the semester. I’m pretty sure I also failed at that. I’m blaming the lack of creativity on my high-stress levels from ensuring that I really do graduate on May 10.

In actuality, this craft is excellent for idle hands. All you really need to make it is a piece of paper and a pen. Scissors become an option if you’re not so neat when it comes to tearing paper. So anytime you’re stuck waiting for a study group or just avoiding studying for finals, whip out a piece of paper and fold up a zine. If you’re creative enough, you can probably work this craft into being a study tool for yourself.

A mini zine, also known as an instant zine, is one of the easiest and fastest ways to make your own zine. One piece of paper becomes six pages with a front and back cover.

You can fill the pages of your zine with virtually anything: fortune cookies, fruit stickers, losing lotto tickets, magazine clippings or anything that would be aesthetically pleasing. The written word is totally OK, too. So if you’re at a loss, just use a Sharpie to scribble down a story or some doodles.

My personal favorite zine to make is Bananagram zines. It’s like Scrabble, but more hip – I think. But I use game pieces to spell out words on the copier screen. A few copies later and some cutting and pasting later I have a completed zine. It also helps to hoard a few old catalogues or magazines. Any interesting, rectangular papers work well for folding into a zine, too. So if you aren’t above swiping an extra Scantron, feel free to show me what you’ve come up with.

To make a mini zine, I recommend making one with scrap paper first, so you can label each page with a page number. This will act as a reference for laying out all future mini zines.

Supplies:

– 8 ½ x 11-inch paper – normal printer paper works well, you’ll need as many sheets as copies of the zine you want to make. Have some extra sheets handy in case you screw up.

– Scissors

– Bone folder, cleaned off popscicle stick or paperclip – creasing with your fingernail can work too

– Photocopier

– Stuff to stuff your zine with or a permanent marker

– Glue, tape or whatever kind of adhesive that you’re into

Steps:

1. Fold the paper vertically – hot dog style. Burnish the crease with the bone folder or whatever tool you have handy. Be sure to burnish every crease from here on out. Open the paper.

2. Fold the paper horizontally – hamburger style.

3. Fold the two open ends toward the middle of the paper. One will be on the front and the other will be on that back. Open those two folds.

4. Cut along the center-fold, from the canter of the paper, to the next two folds, as shown.

5. Grasp both sides of the middle from the slit, pull apart and down. Don’t do this too roughly or you will tear the paper.

6. Fold into a book and shape.

Here’s where you can take the blank mini zine and label the book with page numbers. This will help you layout your final mini zine. Open up the book after you have everything labeled, and use this as a reference.

Labeling Steps:

1. Use a clean sheet of paper to lay out your own mini zine.

2. If you’re not writing or drawing in your zine, lay everything out before adhering it to the paper. If you are writing or drawing, do that and skip to step 11.

3. Using glue or tape, stick your stuff to the page.

4. Wait for the paper to dry if using a wet adhesive.

5. If you are making multiple copies of the zine, make a test photocopy to make sure the final zine will look okay. Fold this photocopy using steps one through six.

6. Once you’ve confirmed that everything looks OK make as many photocopies of your finished product as you want.

7. Follow steps one through six to make all the photocopies into zines.

Screen shot 2012-04-30 at 6.34.43 PMThe pages of your zine won’t line up exactly – that’s just how it goes. After all, paper does have some thickness going for it.

Embrace the imperfection. To burnish in this context means to make the crease smooth and sharp. It goes without saying, but if you want a one-of-a-kind zine, you don’t have to make more copies of it.

On a final note, thank you to anyone who read my column, particularly if you were reading it every other week. The attention made me all warm and fuzzy on the inside. It also sometimes drove me up the wall while trying to come up with new and exciting crafts.

Meghan White can be reached at meghan.white@temple.edu.

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