Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Construction of a Zine: Paper

 The other day I did an experiment with paper.  To be more exact, different weight paper.  I've been experimenting with using 24lb and 28lb paper instead of the standard 20lb.  The reason?  Heavy paper increases the look and feel of the zine.  The main reason why I considered a heavier weight this time around, all the artwork in the issue.  Art mean lots of black space.  Lots of black space means more bleed through to the back of the page.  Both the 24lb and 28lb reduce that problem.  But with the added thickness of the paper, increases the overall weight of the zine.  We are playing a game here were every tenth of an ounce counts.

Another factor is the amount of pages.  Since I'm going to be unable to fit what I want into 24 pages I am going to increase it to 28 or more likely 32 pages. 

Weight experiment time.

I'm figuring how much it would weight if I increased my zine from 24 to 28 to 32 pages.  I'll throw in the 28 page count also.  Weird math to follow.  All of the calculations are figured with a 65lb card stock cover.  I'm using Ivy's kitchen scale (shhh, don't tell her)  which is very accurate and seems to jive with the scale at the post office.

20lb Paper
  • At 24 pages it weights in at 1.7 ounces.  
  • At 28 pages it weights in at 1.8 ounces.  
  • At 32 pages it weights in at 1.94 ounces.  
So if I needed to I could squeeze in 8 more pages without more cost in postage.  Really pushing it, but it can be done.  Once that scale reads over 2oz the postage goes up and not by a little.

 24lb Paper
  • At 24 pages it weights in at 1.76 ounces.  
  • At 28 pages it weights in at 1.89 ounces.
  • At 32 pages it weights in at 2.15 ounces.
At 32 pages the weight kicks it into the higher postal bracket.  See postage increase below.

28lb Paper
  • At 24 pages it weights in at 1.91 ounces.
  • At 28 pages it weights in at 2.12 ounces.
  • At 32 pages it weights in at 2.33 ounces. 
I think the 28lb paper gives the zine the best look and quality.  But again, it costs more.  Let's take a look at those additional postage costs for breaking the 2oz barrier.

Postage Increase
  • US shipping increases from .66 to .86.
  • Canadian shipping increases from $1.10 to $1.55.
  • International increases from $2.05 to $3.
As you can see the cost increase is not small.  More pages, better paper, more weight and more ink.  I do plan on using 32-pages minimum this issue.  I may see what 36 pages looks like on the scale.  If I'm going to pay for the next postage level I might as well fill it.  I can use the space.

And here is another sample of the cool artwork in the next issue brought to you by the deft hand of Jason Sholtis.


  1. Interesting calculations. I find this sort of "inside baseball" stuff illuminating.

    Also, nice work from Jason!

  2. go with the heavier stock and add some extra value to your excellent zine


  3. I'm thinking of combining these articles and eventually make a PDF or maybe a zine with this information.

  4. Welcome to my world!

    I also have to consider the weight of a card stock cover as well.

    What kind of mailer are you planning on using?

  5. My zines are no where as complicated as your box sets John. The logistics of those things would be brain numbing. I just use 1st class USPS.

  6. Wow. I hate story problems.

    And what a great image from Jason. My skin is crawling off my bones. I'm getting more and more excited for this next issue.

  7. I love that you are weighing the paper in your hands as you contemplate the best delivery of your product.

    May I please by a collection of all issues in print to date. Mailing address is 88 Aspen VLG, Aspen, CO 81611. Rooooooooooooock!!!

  8. Hi Jay, you can go to the GM store and get them all there. The link is to the right.