There is something liberating about creating something that has no purpose whatsoever. It was with this thought in mind that I made my own little zine a couple of weeks ago.
So what is a zine? To put it very simply, a zine is a unique or small circulation book/magazine. It is usually self published and therefore has no rules about the content, you can fill it according to your heart’s choice. I strongly suspect that ‘zine’ is a short form of ‘magazine’ but this is not proved as far as I know.
I don’t really think there are rules to creating a zine (the entire point is complete freedom), but there are certainly some noticeable trends. In comparison with those, my little zine is completely different, I guess I should call it a miniature scrapbook rather than a zine, but then, we know it since Shakespeare, that names are not necessarily essential (after all, a rose would smell just as sweet even if it weren’t called a rose, right? ;)).
So, to get to the point, I put together a little book of myself. I worked with the technique of collage: I cut, glued, tore the raw material. The original idea came from a video by Jordan Clark, in which she shows how to make a little book by folding a simple A4 size paper. I wouldn’t be a notebook-nerd if I hadn’t known immediately that I need one like that.
This zine – with its front, back and 6 inside pages – is so tiny that it is useless to muse about lengthy notes, so I turned my attention to decorating instead. I’d been fantasizing about working with different textures anyway, plus I’d been itching to try my washi tape collection on a project.
I tried to use all sorts of materials for the collage, so as to work with as many textures as possible. I guess it’s very special that I cut up some Ikea magazine to add pictures, but it sounds a bit more exciting that I added torn pieces of previously spoiled paintings as well as some left-over organdy fabric. I checked what cardboard looks like on the inside, and of course I added a pressed leaf to my zine. The little silver stars have appeared on some of my photos alreay, but it was only now that I actually glued them on something (resulting in several fingerprints on them). The little wooden arrow I also cut out myself with a box cutter (it was rather tricky, you have to pay attention to the wood’s grainline).
Tearing paper is another technique, which is good if you are a control-freak, as you can never control the resulting shape 100%.
Obviously you can create a more beautiful zine if you look for images online, then print and cut them up, but for me it was part of the challenge that I only used material that I could find at home. I made this decision both for environmental reasons and because it requires a lot more creativity to work with a limited set of supplies.
It took me some 3 hours to complete this mini-journal, which was super-therapeutic – that is also the reason why I decided to fill it with things related to me. I am a champion of writing lists, so I made a collection of my favourite things (just in general), a music playlist, my fav books, my ideas and a list of my most adventurous holidays of the past few years. Obviously, these lists are not exhaustive, as an A7 size book is hardly suitable for my novel-writing.
Make your own!
If you are like me and get enthusiastic by these pretty journals, you can just create your own. For a start, you can look at Jordan’s video to learn how to fold the paper into a zine. After this, you want to look around in the household for materials to ‘destroy’. You can think out of the box and use (apart from paper) textile, threads, buttons, beer mats, only to mention a handful of the unlimited possibilities. (This is one reason I like collage technique: suddenly the entire world becomes a collection of useable materials). You will also need a pair of scissors and some glue, plus I used a pair of small nail scissors for the finer details.
Pro tip: if you find the resulting A7 size too small, you can fold an A3 size paper instead of A4, and then you’ll get an A6 size zine (and you can just increase paper sizes if necessary).
Or print it – it’s ready to be filled!
If you haven’t got spare 3 hours to create something like this but you still like the result, here is your solution: I edited my zine digitally, removing the text, and made it available for download. All you need to do is fold it, and then fill it with whatever you like: what are your favourite food and coffee shops? You can write in your fav quotes or wisecracks of your kids, that could even make a good present for family members.
If you want to download this blank zine, all you need to do is sign up to my newsletter, so you have access to my content library – which includes some other cool printables too. If you’ve already signed up, look for the password at the end of the latest newsletter.
If you are planning to create your own zine, you don’t have to stick to the collage techniqe of course. Zines have great culture, so just browse around to get inspired, or create something completely unique: for example, you can make a zine of the completed works from the repeat pattern challenge. :)
Have you ever made a zine? If so, share the photos with me via Instagram!