Folding Carton FAQs and Tips2023-04-21T17:17:24-08:00

Folding Carton Packaging – Frequently Asked Questions

Are folding cartons sustainable?2023-04-14T18:19:01-08:00

Yes, there are numerous sustainable substrates available including coated and uncoated recycled boards, sugarcane board, and hemp.

We also use soy and vegetable-based inks whenever possible for even more sustainability. They are just as effective and less expensive than petroleum based inks.

If you’re not sure about what sustainable material to use, or don’t know what’s available, get in touch with us at 818.709.1220 to discuss your project and ensure you’re using the right material for the job.

Are there special design file requirements for paperboard folding cartons?2024-02-12T09:37:19-08:00

Yes, there are special design file requirements for paperboard folding cartons to ensure that the final product meets the desired specifications and quality. When designing folding cartons, it is essential to follow these guidelines:

File format: The preferred file formats for folding carton designs are vector-based files such as Adobe Illustrator (AI), Encapsulated PostScript (EPS), or Portable Document Format (PDF). These formats maintain the quality and scalability of the design elements without losing resolution.

Die line/template: If you don’t have a template, get the correct die line or template from Clear Print, as this will ensure that your design fits the carton’s specific dimensions and folding requirements. The die line should be placed on a separate layer within the design file and should not be modified.

Bleed and safety margins: Include a bleed area (typically a minimum of 1/8 inch or 3mm) that extends beyond the die line to account for minor cutting variations during production. Also, maintain a safety margin (usually 1/8 inch or 3mm) inside the die line, keeping critical design elements and text away from the edges to avoid trimming issues.

Resolution: For raster images (e.g., photographs) in a design, use a high resolution of at least 300 dpi at the final print size (100%) to ensure sharp and clear printing.

Color mode: Use the CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Key/Black) color mode for your design, as this is the standard color model used in the printing industry. Avoid using RGB colors, as they probably won’t reproduce accurately when printed.

Fonts and text: Convert all text to outlines or embed fonts in the design file to prevent font substitution issues during printing. Also, avoid using very small font sizes or intricate fonts, as they may not print clearly on the carton material.

Spot colors, coatings, and special finishes: If your design requires spot colors (Pantone colors) or special finishes (e.g., foil stamping, embossing, coatings, or varnishes), be sure to clearly indicate these in your design file and discuss them with us to ensure proper execution.

File submission: Before submitting your design file to Clear Print, double-check for accuracy and completeness, ensuring that all necessary elements are included. It’s also a good idea to provide a low-resolution PDF or JPG proof for reference.

By following these guidelines, you can be sure your paperboard folding carton design will be accurately produced and meet your desired quality standards.

For other design questions, review our File Preparation FAQs.

Or call us at 818.709.1220 to discuss your project and ensure it’s set up correctly.

Are there stock size cartons available that save money on die preparation?2023-04-17T17:10:00-08:00

Yes, there are many standard sizes that don’t require purchase of a brand new custom die.

Also, our digital printing  capability means that you can get short-run quantities for a lot less than you might think.

To find out what’s available, call us at 818-709-1220.

If you have your carton specifications available, you can send them to us here.

Or you can send us your physical product and we’ll work with that to see what’s available.

Can folding cartons be used for food products?2023-04-14T17:54:26-08:00

Yes, you can use folding cartons for food as long as there is a layer of FDA-approved food contact material between the paper box and the food.

If you’re not sure, get in touch with us at 818.709.1220 to discuss your project and ensure you’re using the right material for the job.

Can I do press approvals in person?2023-04-17T16:59:28-08:00

Yes, you can arrange to do press approvals in person. Once we get your job in production, we’ll work with you to schedule a convenient time.

Call 818-709-1220 so we can discuss the nature of your product and any special requirements.

Or submit your folding carton specifications here to start the conversation.

Can I get blank prototypes for a box design?2023-04-17T16:55:08-08:00

Yes, we create prototypes (also called mock-ups or dummies) for all new folding carton designs. If you’re in the design phase, the best way to get a prototype is to send us your product and we’ll design a custom carton to fit the product. If needed, we’ll also design a display to hold your packaged products.

If you already have a design file, you can send that to us and we’ll produce your prototype.

Call 818-709-1220 so we can discuss the nature of your product and any special requirements. Or use our Contact Us form to start the conversation.

Can I mail or ship folding cartons without packing them in another box?2023-10-04T16:30:04-08:00

It depends. Typically, a folding carton with a product inside should be packaged inside a suitable shipping container such as a corrugated box. However, if the folding carton with product is small and lightweight, and meets USPS requirements, it will survive mailing.

Can I use paper board packaging for any products?2023-04-14T18:18:55-08:00

Several factors affect the selection of material for a container.

  • Product weight and durability
  • Box filling method, manual or automated
  • End use and shelf life
  • Retail requirements
  • Paper board thickness
  • Grain direction. The strongest scores on a box go against the grain.
  • Paper board stiffness. Recycled papers have shorter grains and broken grains which make the board weaker.
  • FDA, FTC, and EPA each have regulations and guidelines for consumer products.

These factors are why it’s important to discuss a project during the design and planning phase.

If you’re not sure, get in touch with us at 818.709.1220 to discuss your project and ensure you’re using the right material for the job.

Or submit your job specs here and we’ll review them with you.

Do you offer design services for packaging?2023-04-17T16:57:02-08:00

Yes, we offer complete design services for all our folding carton packaging and product displays.

Call 818-709-1220 so we can discuss the nature of your product and any special requirements.

Or submit your folding carton specifications here to start the conversation.

Do you offer warehousing or fulfillment services for folding carton inventory?2023-04-17T17:02:49-08:00

Yes, Clear Print can handle warehousing and fulfillment for folding carton inventory.  We can ship your folding cartons or any other packaging as needed to any location. Our fulfillment services are speedy, reliable and more affordable than you might think.

Call 818-709-1220 so we can discuss how we can take some of the load off your plate and give you some peace of mind with our fulfillment services.

Do you print corrugated boxes?2023-04-17T17:06:50-08:00

Yes, we print corrugated boxes along with a wide range of corrugated packaging and corrugated displays.

To get started, call 818-709-1220 so we can review your product. We can either work from your existing design files, or we can start from scratch.

If you’re designing new packaging, the best way to start is by sending us a sample of your product. We’ll design packaging to fit, using the most suitable fluted material for the product. Then we send you a physical prototype, including any inserts. We can also design your display if needed.

How are folding cartons measured?2023-04-17T16:50:29-08:00

To correctly measure a box, place the box so the opening is facing up, as if you were going to fill the box. The front should face you.

1 – Measure left to right on the front = Length

2 – Measure front to back on side panels = Width

3 – Measure top to bottom inside the box = Depth

how to measure length width depth of a box (folding carton)

Confirm your measurements with Clear Print to be sure you’re using the correct dimensions.

How do I get a die line to use to create my box?2023-04-14T18:19:08-08:00

Get in touch with us at 818.709.1220 and we’ll supply you with the proper die line to help you lay out your folding carton design.

And if you prefer, we can handle the design work from beginning to end, including the proper die line.

How many types of folding cartons are there?2024-05-07T03:42:46-08:00

There are hundreds of types of folding cartons available, with more custom designs produced every day. Here is a list of some of the more widely-used folding cartons.

Straight Tuck-End Cartons: These cartons have tuck flaps on both the top and bottom, with the flaps folding in the same direction.

Reverse Tuck-End Cartons: Similar to straight tuck-end cartons, but the flaps fold in opposite directions, with the top flap tucking towards the back and the bottom flap tucking towards the front.

Tuck-Top Auto-Bottom Cartons (Crash-Lock Bottom Cartons): These cartons have a pre-glued auto-bottom that automatically locks into place during assembly, making them quick and easy to set up. The top features tuck-end flaps.

Tuck-Top Snap-Lock Bottom Cartons (1-2-3 Bottom Cartons): These cartons have bottom flaps that interlock to form a secure base, while the top flaps are designed as tuck-end closures.

Seal-End Cartons: These cartons are sealed using glue or adhesive on both the top and bottom, providing a more secure closure than tuck-end cartons.

Full Overlap Cartons: These cartons have flaps on the top and bottom that fully overlap, providing extra strength and protection.

Gable-Top Cartons: These cartons feature a pitched roof-like closure at the top that interlocks, commonly used for liquid packaging, such as milk or juice.

Pillow Boxes: These cartons have a curved design and are formed by folding and tucking the ends into themselves, often used for small items or gift packaging.

Sleeve Cartons: These cartons are open on both ends and slide over a product or an inner tray, offering additional branding or protection without completely enclosing the product.

Two-Piece Telescoping Cartons: These cartons consist of a separate base and lid that fit together snugly to form a complete carton.

Four-Corner Beers Tray (Four Corner Tray): This carton has a flat bottom with four corner flaps that lock into place, forming a tray that can hold lightweight items.

Six-Corner Beers Tray (Six Corner Tray): Similar to the four-corner tray, but with additional flaps on the long sides for added support and stability.

Roll-End Tuck-Top (RETT) Cartons: These cartons have a roll-end construction on the bottom and tuck flaps on the top, providing a secure and sturdy packaging option.

This list is far from exhaustive, as there are many variations and custom designs for folding cartons. The choice of carton style depends on factors such as the product’s size, weight, shape, and required protection, as well as branding and aesthetic considerations.

Reach out to us with your questions on how to pick the right folding carton for your product or product display.

Call 818-709-1220 for fastest response or use our Contact Us form.

What is the minimum order for folding cartons?2023-04-17T17:21:06-08:00

Minimum quantities for folding cartons depend on many factors such as type of product you intend to package, paper or other substrate desired, inks, turnaround time desired, and print finishes.

Rest assured that our digital printing capability means we can produce very small quantities on many types of folding carton and other packaging jobs. And we can do them in surprisingly small quantities that make it affordable to every small business.

For the best answer, send us your folding carton specifications here or call us at 818-709-1220.

What paper stocks are available for folding cartons?2024-02-12T09:37:19-08:00

There is a wide range of paper and other substrates available for folding cartons. Some substrates have unique requirements and/or limitations. So be sure to collaborate with your designer and printing company from the outset of a folding carton project.

SBS – Solid Bleached Sulfate, coated on one-side (C1S) or coated on two sides (C2S)

CUK – Coated Unbleached Kraft. No less than 80% virgin fiber.

CNK – Coated Natural Kraft, coated on one-side with a kraft back

Kraft Paper – Kraft paper is made from unbleached wood pulp, which gives it a natural brown color. It is strong, durable, and eco-friendly, making it a popular choice for folding cartons, especially in the food industry.

SUS – Solid Unbleached Sulfate, coated on one-side with a kraft back

CRB – Coated Recycled Board, coated on one-side (C1S) with a kraft back

CCNB – Clay Coated News Back will appear either tan or gray back (depending on the fiber used), clay coated front (C1S)

URB – Uncoated Recycled Board, uncoated on two sides

TMP – Thermal Mechanical Pulp, coated on one-side (C1S)

Specialty Papers – These materials include options such as metallic, pearlescent, textured, or embossed papers. They can add a unique touch to folding cartons and are often used for luxury packaging or special edition products.

Biodegradable and Compostable Materials – With increasing focus on sustainability, many manufacturers are now offering biodegradable and compostable materials for folding cartons. These materials are designed to break down more quickly in the environment, reducing waste and lessening the overall environmental impact.

Go here to get a quote on your current packagaing project and to discuss your paper options.

Geoffrey Pick


Please call now to discuss your project.