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Understanding Wire Stitching: A Comprehensive Guide for Zine Binding | Ex Why Zed

Posted on 1 June 2023

When it comes to creating a zine, one of the most crucial decisions you’ll make is the binding method. This choice not only defines the aesthetic of your zine but also dictates the number of pages you can include. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the world of wire-stitched zines, providing you with all the information you need to make an informed decision for your next zine project.

Understanding Wire Stitching

Wire stitching, also known as saddle stitching or stapling, is a popular binding method for zines. This method involves folding the sheets in half and applying two staples down the left-hand side to bind the sheets together. Each sheet is printed on both sides, providing four pages of content. Therefore, your zine needs to have a multiple of four pages for this binding method to work effectively.

Page Count Considerations

When it comes to wire-stitched zines, the page count is a critical factor to consider. Generally, we recommend wire stitching for zines with up to 40 pages. This limit ensures that your zine sits as flat as possible, providing a neat and professional appearance. However, it’s possible to go up to 72 or 76 pages, but you’ll need to consider the issue of creep, where the inside pages are pushed out, resulting in a less neat finish.

Wire Stitched Zines Showcase

After you have read this page, then jump over to another one of our zine blogs or our zine printing video guide and learn about the Pros and Cons of various winning print specs. Our YouTube channel is also packed with 1 minute showcase snippet videos dissecting more examples: https://www.youtube.com/@exwhyzedprint/videos

For a visual guide to wire-stitched zines, check out our YouTube videos.

Here are three showcase snippets to get your started

A rock solid print spec on an A5 zine. A professional-looking solution for BBC Sport.

An overview of Egg Press zines, showcasing the neat finish and professional appearance of a wire-stitched zine.

In this double whammy showcase snippet video we compare a wire stitched / stapled photo annual with a perfect bound one from the same author.

Choosing the Right Paper Weight

Another important consideration when creating a wire-stitched zine is the paper weight. If you’re aiming for an old-school zine aesthetic, you might want to print all the pages, including the cover, onto the same paper weight. This approach, known as a ‘self cover’, creates a neat bind and a cohesive look throughout your zine. However, if you prefer a thicker cover, you can opt for a heavier paper weight for the cover and a lighter one for the inside pages.

Dealing with Paper Bounce

One of the charming yet challenging aspects of working with paper is its natural tendency to bounce back to its original flat state. This characteristic can cause the cover of your wire-stitched zine to bounce open slightly. While this adds a certain charm to your zine, it’s something to keep in mind when designing your project.

Wire Stitching in Action: Zine Examples

To help you visualise what wire-stitched zines look like, we’ve compiled a few examples from our portfolio. Each of these zines showcases the versatility and appeal of wire stitching, providing you with plenty of inspiration for your next project.

Hate Zine with wire stitching


‘Turves’ is a captivating photography zine about greyhounds and dog training. This 28-page self-cover zine is printed onto 170gsm uncoated paper, providing a neat and professional finish. The A5 size is perfect for showcasing the stunning photography, and the wire stitching allows the zine to sit neatly on a desk.


‘Swirl’ is a powerful zine that offers mental health advice and guidance. This A5 zine features a four-page cover printed onto 300gsm uncoated paper with a matt lamination, and the inside pages are printed onto 115gsm uncoated paper. Despite the cover’s slight bounce, ‘Swirl’ is a testament to the impact a well-designed, wire-stitched zine can have.


‘Hate’ is a zine that pushes the boundaries of wire stitching with its 76 pages. Despite being at the maximum limit for this binding method, ‘Hate’ manages to maintain a neat appearance, thanks to its thin 100gsm evolution uncoated paper. This zine is a great example of how you can push the limits of wire stitching while still creating an engaging and absorbing zine.

Swirl Zine with wire stitching

Wire Stitching Zines: A Recipe for Creativity

Wire stitching offers a world of possibilities for zine creators. This binding method allows for a wide range of page counts and paper weights, providing you with the freedom to create a zine that truly reflects your vision. Whether you’re creating a zine for the first time or you’re an experienced zine maker looking to try something new, wire stitching is a binding method worth considering.

What does the side profile of a wire stitched zine look like?


What is the page count for a zine?

The page count for a wire-stitched zine can range from 8 to 76 pages. However, for a neat and professional finish, we recommend a maximum of 40 pages.

What is the best binding for a zine?

Wire stitching is a popular binding method for zines due to its neat finish and versatility. However, the best binding for your zine will depend on your specific needs and preferences.

What makes a good zine?

A good zine is engaging, creative, and reflects the creator’s unique vision. It should also be well-designed, with a clear layout, high-quality images, and a compelling narrative.

How do you bind a zine?

One of the most common methods for binding a zine is wire stitching, which involves folding the pages in half and stapling them together. Other binding methods include perfect binding and spiral binding.

What is the margin for a zine?

The margin for a zine should be at least 5 to 10mm from the page edge to allow for trimming, especially in wire-stitched zines with a high page count.

Can zines be A4?

Yes, zines can be A4 size. The size of your zine will depend on your specific needs and the amount of content you wish to include.

For more information on wire stitching and other zine printing options, visit our Zine Printing page. You can also explore our Wire Stitching Setup Guide for detailed instructions on preparing your zine for wire stitching.

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