Yesterday, a lovely young woman asked me on Facebook where I get The Paperbook Collective printed, as she thought it looked really good.
This was very exciting and flattering, because as most of you know, it is a completely D.I.Y. affair.
So I thought, for interest’s sake, I would demonstrate the process for you, from start to finish. This is as grass-roots as it gets in terms of printing and publishing, so perhaps I might inspire someone to have a go for themselves! I think all too often we are guilty of thinking that things are best left to the professionals, somewhere along the line society has encouraged us to pay others to do what we could do ourselves. This is why I decided to get back to basics with The Paperbook Collective, get out the glue stick and scissors and give it a go.
Compile the magazine. This means physically cutting out each individual item of work and gluing it into place, so it all fits together as a physical magazine. This was probably one of the most difficult and time-consuming parts of the process, as I had to make sure each page was in the correct place, and each article fit in well with the surrounding work. Turning the magazine from an A4 format into an A5 format meant I had to re-structure a lot of the pieces, compressing them and editing them so they fit the smaller space.
Photocopy the pages at Office Works. There are probably more boring things in life than standing by an old photocopier while it painstakingly spits out twenty copies of each page, but I can’t think of any right now. I am very well acquainted with the photocopier pictured, as well as every single poster that surrounds it. I’ve read them all at least fifty times.
Make the covers. I print the covers off on my home printer, then glue each one by hand to a piece of black cardboard.
Hand fold each cover. They need to be pre-folded before they are laminated otherwise catastrophe strikes, as I found out through trial and error.
Laminate each cover using clear contact paper. I feel like I am back in Primary School, covering my school books. Luckily I had plenty of practice at it as a child, because it is fiddly, painstaking work. Each piece of contact has to be cut exactly to size, and then each cover has to be placed in the exact position so the contact isn’t crooked or bubbled. A lot of swearing occurs during this step.
Hand fold each page and ensure it is in the correct order. Again, time-consuming and painstaking. But necessary to ensure the magazine sits correctly after it is stapled.
Staple the magazine together. I had to purchase a long-handled stapler to do this. I now own a long-handled stapler. As you do.
Celebrate the fact that you have finished a magazine. Yay! Now look across the table and realise you still have nineteen more to make. Go get a drink. Something alcoholic. Start again at Step 1.
Sure, it does take a long time to make each copy of the magazine this way; it would be far quicker and more practical to have it printed somewhere. But part of the concept behind The Paperbook Collective is to go back to the traditional methods of doing things, and you can’t get much more traditional than this. And there is something so satisfying about holding something in your hand that you have made entirely from scratch.
The Paperbook Collective has finally got to where I envisioned it from the start: a fusion of old and new methods of creativity and design, something that is sourced from around the world and compiled into one creative magazine. This way, you can take it with you, show your friends, read it at your leisure in the back garden with the sun shining directly onto it as you sip an ice cold gin and tonic. No glare from the e-reader screen here.
If you would like your own copy of The Paperbook Collective Issue’s One and Two, head up to the page The Paperbook Collective Zine and fill out an order form. Your support will mean the world to me, and will help me to continue to produce this original, creative hand-made magazine.
Imagination is the beginning of creation.
You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine,
and at last, you create what you will.
– George Bernard Shaw