Mixin’ It Up with Pink Things: How to Make Your Own Mixtape

Illustration by Malaika Astorga

Illustration by Malaika Astorga

With a December chill on the back of our necks, we at Pink Things know that the holiday season is fast approaching. If you’re like us, and in a pinch to find the perfect gift; don’t sweat it. We’ve got you covered with our guide on how to make a mixtape in three easy steps!  

Since pretty much the dawn of time, the mixtape has been considered as the ultimate cool-kid gift. It’s become the go-to for any occasion because of its sentimental and inexpensive nature. It’s safe to say that the mixtape’s value is actually increasing nowadays. Can you think of the last time you physically shared music with someone? Our point exactly. 

So, let’s get started. 

Step 1: Brainstorming 

First thing’s first, who is this mix for? Your mom? That person you call your coworker but who is really more than that because you’re making them a mixtape? At this stage, you’re getting crafty and thinking of what ~vibe~ you want this collection of songs to carry. Something we like to do is think of a theme and expand on that. Do you and this person share a love of 90s dad rock? Well then put together a special blend of 90s dad rock bands they've never heard before. Unsure of what kind of music this person likes? Put together a cute medley of songs that remind you of them. 

You will have to consider the length of your mix as well. Depending how much time you to curate your song list, putting together something over half an hour long can be a daunting task. A general recommendation from us is that 10-15 songs is just the right amount for a first time mix. 

Step 2: Redefining the “tape” in mixtape 

While a key feature of mixtapes is their physical embodiment of music, they don’t necessarily have to come in a tape form! If the traditional tape deck set-up is not your thing, the CD is your best friend. Conveniently, CDs can be purchased anywhere from dollar stores to grocers. Pop that bad boy in your computer’s disk drive and you’re good to go. With iTunes or equivalent Windows programs there are functions built into the software designed specifically for burning CDs. Yes, it really is that easy. Of course, you will have to find a way to download all the songs on your computer in the first place. (If anyone asks how you found out about the websites that convert Youtube links to MP3 files, it wasn’t us okay!) If you don’t have a disk drive in your computer, then a USB stick in a well-decorated box will do just fine.

Step 3: The finishing touches 

This is probably the most exciting part of the mixtape process because everything starts to come together f’real. At this step, you can get creative and turn your plain tape/cd/USB case into a personalized album. The sky is the limit for ways you can design your mix’s cover. If visual art is up your alley, hand draw something; make a collage; paint a beautiful image that the receiver will love! If art isn’t your strong suit, never fear! Whip something up on the computer; put a photo of you and the receiver on the mix’s front with like a 1000 dog stickers. Have fun and show the receiver that you care! 

Now! Put this lesson to the test and get mixing readers! Who knows, maybe you’ll be our next monthly mix curator! 

Keep an eye out for a mixtape swap coming up in the future. If you’re interested in contributing your mixtape, send it to us at pinkthingsmag@gmail.com.

Zoë Argiropulos-Hunter is a show promoter with First Crush, writer, communications student at the University of Ottawa, musician, and host of her own radio show at CKCU.

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