Best Tips to Find the Right Binding Types and Paper for Your Zine Printing     

Creating artistic zines involves technical challenges that are confusing to someone new. When curating a printed compilation of your original works, it is better to use zine printing services.

Although the budget is low for zines, your creativity can shine through, from the title to layout. Depending on your content, you can use the following tips to narrow down your options:


One crucial element making up a book or booklet is the paper. For zines, particularly, the paper you choose has to complement the content and be suitable for the target readers.

There are four primary types of papers for zine printing, each with its unique look:

Silk or Satin

This recommendation is the default paper choice for many printers. It offers a smooth finish and is apt for most content types. Considered the safest option among all papers, silk makes the most accurate representation of the subjects.


When you make a photography zine, especially an album, glossy paper is perfect. This shiny paper emphasizes aspects of a photo better and increases color saturation.


Uncoated papers are alternative styles that make the publication look rough, with dulled colors. It is appropriate if the creator wants to draw attention to the content or give the booklet a vintage vibe.


Recycled papers have a coarse texture, with a considerably nude and matted color palette. They give you the sense of authentic, handmade materials.

Paper Thickness

Too thin papers make the ink bleed through, and the photos and other content appear dark. Based on the background and your reader demographic, you can pick the right paper thickness and weight. In the U.S, paper weight is measured in lb(pounds).

So, the standard thickness will be:

  • Interior pages: Text paper – 70-90 lb. or 130 gsm (Grams per square meter)
  • Cover pages: Cover paper – 80-130lb. or 170-300 gsm

Cover Pages

A text paper and a cover paper are not the same. Typically, cover page thickness is 1.8 times that of an interior page. A zine cover is usually laminated, with 4 pages in front and back of the booklet.

However, not all zine creators use a cover but include a “self-cover” with a design on extra inner pages. Since there is no lamination, there is a chance that these thinner pages can scuff and tear over time. But if you aim for a vintage look, the markings may suit the aesthetic.


A matt laminated satin cover with a protective finish improves the presentation and prevents scratches, sweat marks, etc. On the other hand, the gloss-laminated gloss paper cover makes it shiny and more vibrant.

You can also mix uncoated interior pages with a gloss cover. But remember that uncoated and recycled cover paper options don’t work with lamination. Spot UV, Gold Foil, and other exotic finishes may expand your budget and suit higher volumes.

Binding Type

Two common binding types used for zines are:

  1. Staple Bound
  2. Perfect bound

Staple Binding

Staple binding, also called saddle-stitched binding, uses staples to hold the pages together. Staples go into the spine of folded printing materials like booklets, brochures, and zines.

Perfect Binding

You see perfect binding in soft back books like magazines and paperbacks. It uses Polyurethane Reactive (PUR) adhesive for gluing pages to a square spine.

Staple bounds are preferable because of the cost-effectiveness, while perfect bound zines achieve a premium look. Staple binding cannot hold too many pages, and so your printing professional may recommend perfect binding.

Besides, paper thickness will also impact your choice of binding.

Suppose you want to get perfect bound zine printing, and you have 15 pages. The total paper thickness will not be sufficient to create a square spine. Since the default thickness recommendation is 130 gsm, you need at least 36 sides.

Furthermore, the binding type will affect the page design and layout. So, plan for white space and additional bleed accordingly.

Print File Setup

First, decide the size of your zine and how you want it bound. Second, choose the orientation – portrait or landscape.

Depending on that, you can figure out how much print area is available. Finally, set up the quiet areas and the bleed. Now the artwork file in the PDF format is ready to print with pages in multiples of 4.

As you can see, zine printing is not an easy job; there is a lot to consider. Contact experienced zine printing services for the technical part, and you can focus on the creative aspects.

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