How Do You Do ... A One-Page Zine? (This post comes with a one-page zine!)

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"What Was Your First Zine?" Click here to download, print, and fold

Zines are skinny publications, usually self-made and self-published, with a smallish circulation. The purpose of zines is not profit but the communication of an idea about music, art, philosophy, whatever — many are distributed for free at zine fests and shows, or sold for a buck or two at bookstores. They exist primarily in print, and they feel very immediate. Many are cut and pasted together, then reproduced on a copy machine (sometimes in the dead hours of a campus library, or while holding up the line at a Kinko's store, or, speaking from personal experience, as quickly as possible on your last day at a corporate job).

The best thing about zines is that they're not beholden to anything. You can run off a zine on any topic, and make as many (or as few) as you choose. Zines have always been connection-makers, ever since their inception, and all the zines we've loved best have felt like a cool friend who's talking directly to us.

An easy way to try your hand at zine-making is to print up a one-page zine. It's awfully simple: you just fold your page into eighths, make one neat scissor cut, and you're ready to go. Watch the video above to see how it's done. And if you ever need a layout refresher, just look here:

Better still? We asked a few of our zinemaker friends about their first experiences with the medium, and put their thoughts together in a little one-page zine made just for you. Here's a PDF — all you need to do is print it out and fold it up. If you like what you end up with, well, maybe you'll be pressing your own one-pager into a new friend's hand soon enough. 

Gina Abelkop, Michael Barnes, Elly Blue, Suzy Exposito, and Tommy Pico all contributed words and/or art to our zine.

    1. Arun Kumar V Waghchoure on

      The 1st time I had seen the zine was on they call it pocket mod.

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      Jim Baltaxe on

      This is neat and I plan to use it for the next flyer I need to produce. BUT it really grates against my nerdish OCD that it wastes half of the potential page space on the reverse side of the sheet. With duplex printers so ubiquitous (I own one so they have to be cheap) it seems silly not to work out a way to do so. I can see a very simple way which, unfortunately, requires a staple or other fastening method. In fact, what we are doing is reinventing the signature.

    3. Jens Alfke on

      Yeah, PocketMod is a cute solution for a mostly nonexistent problem. I've made a few but they feel clunky with all the folds, and they're twice as thick as they need to be. Much better to just print double-sided and staple.

    4. John Romero on

      I agree w Jim. There has to be a way to use ALL the space without much more effort, and maybe even without a staple.

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      Gregory Punshon on

      You can print on both sides and simply reverse the folds to "reveal" the second zine.

    6. Nitsuh Abebe

      Hi, Jim! We left this tip out to keep this all as simple as possible, but one fun thing is to use the back side of the paper as a kind of fold-out mini-poster — it's a great place to put the kind of larger image someone might want to, say, pin on the wall and look at for a while.

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      Rhodelt on

      This is a new concept for me, so ignorance abounds, the big question being how to get the individual "pages" printed on the page that you fold up? Is that necessarily done on pagemaker or something similar?

    8. Nitsuh Abebe

      Hi, RhodeIt! The very easiest method would be to make it by hand — grab a pen, write or draw whatever you like on a page, make copies to fold, and give them out. Another pretty simple way to do it is to use scissors and tape: print and cut out the things you want to include, then arrange them on a page to copy off. You can always use software to put together something nice-looking, but you certainly don't HAVE to — the hand-made personal touch is a lot of the appeal!

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      Betsy Parsons on

      Guys, we have been doing this for MANY years in elementary school! We call it a poof book because of the folding to get the final product. As you found out it can be used for tons of good stuff.
      Nice to know that ideas can move up the ladder and not just down from above.

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      Brian Kolm on

      I have made them in my cartooning classes and during art jam. I've heard them referred too as pocket-comics or pocket-zine.

      The first time I was introduced to them was a give away from Comic artist James Kochou at APE.

      They are great for Mini-Comic Day or a comic jam.

    11. D Hall Designs on

      Such great ideas...I'm gonna give this zine thing a zing.....thanks for sharing!

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