Sttark's Ultimate Guide to Folding Carton Packaging

folding carton boxes header image

You’re researching product packaging solutions and came across the term “folding cartons” and want to know more about what they are and whether you need them for your products – we’re here to help. In this guide, we’ll explain what you need to know about folding carton boxes. Your packaging should protect your products from damage, attract the attention of your customers, and be an extension of your brand to tell your story. Paperboard folding carton boxes combine premium aesthetics, exceptional strength, and sustainable practices to deliver a powerful packaging experience for any retail brand.

What are Folding Cartons?

Folding carton boxes are a type of product packaging made from paperboard, a popular material choice in the packaging industry. These paperboard boxes typically have tuck flaps on either end of the box, making it easy to open the product. Folding cartons are used in many sectors, such as food and beverage, electronics, pharmaceuticals, and consumer goods. In addition to presenting your products nicely on store shelves, folding carton boxes play an important role in branding and protecting your products from damage.

Folding Cartons vs Corrugated Boxes

folding cartons vs corrugated boxes

It’s a common misconception that folding cartons are the same as corrugated boxes. The main difference is that folding carton boxes are made from a thinner paperboard material. Paperboard is a lightweight yet sturdy material that is thicker than standard printer paper. On the other hand, corrugated boxes are composed of three sheets of thicker paperboard, called containerboard. There are two thinner outer layers and a ticker, fluted inner layer that looks wavy. Because they provide stronger protection against the elements, business owners will often ship products in them.

What are the benefits of using folding carton packaging?

A cost-effective packaging option

Compared to other forms of packaging, like glass or plastic, printed folding cartons are generally more cost-effective. They are lightweight, which reduces shipping and handling costs. You can also print folding cartons in large quantities at a relatively low cost.

Printed folding cartons can be fully customized

One of the most significant advantages of printed folding cartons is their high degree of customization. Folding cartons can be fully customized in terms of size, shape, design, and printing to meet specific product needs and branding requirements. This flexibility allows businesses to create unique folding carton packaging for their brand.

A great solution for tamper-evident packaging

You can design folding carton boxes to have tamper-evident features like perforations. Perforated packaging has a small hole or row of holes punched into the material, allowing you to tear it open. This is crucial for products that require a high level of security, so consumers know when a package has already been opened. It is important to use tamper-evident packaging in industries like food and pharmaceuticals. The safety of your customers is of paramount importance for the integrity of your brand.

pharmaceutical packaging box on shelf

Folding carton boxes are an eco-friendly packaging solution

Many folding carton manufacturers use recyclable paper materials for their packaging. Eco-friendly packaging aligns with increasing consumer and business interest in sustainable packaging solutions, and folding cartons are a great option for this. Because folding cartons are printed, creased, and cut on one sheet, there is minimal waste, and any waste is recyclable. Additionally, finished folding carton boxes are easy to stack, improving transportation efficiency. This eco-friendliness can be a compelling selling point for environmentally-conscious customers and business owners alike.

Folding Carton Materials & Laminates

There are a variety of paperboard material options to choose from for your folding carton boxes. To give your product box another level of visual appeal, you can opt to use laminate on top of the material as well. We’ve put together a quick reference guide with a few visuals to help you.

We offer the following types of carton materials:

White Paper Carton Materials

Of all the carton materials we offer, our white paper carton materials are the most popular choice among brands. All of our white paper cartons are 100% Blue Bin recyclable and FSC certified. Let’s take a look at their features.

white paper folding carton boxes

Image of white paper folding cartons

White Paper Cartons

Being that they are perfect for dry consumer goods, our white paper cartons are sturdy 18 pt thickness paperboard that provides strength and design flexibility. This White Paper carton material has an 89 paper brightness and does not have optical brighteners. This means exposure to direct sunlight or fluorescent lighting won’t affect your carton’s appearance.

Bright White Paper Cartons

On the other hand, our Bright White Paper cartons contain optical brighteners to achieve 92 paper brightness. This carton material is the most popular choice for most brands as it offers design flexibility to customers.

White Vellum Paper Cartons

This carton material differs from the other two white paper options. The White Vellum Paper cartons are the brightest at 97 brightness and have a smooth vellum finish. Not only do these folding carton boxes have a premium look, but they do not need lamination to protect your design’s appearance.

white vellum paper carton pink sands by sea & grass

Metallic Paper Cartons

Custom Metallic Paper cartons are popular among specialty foods, vitamins and supplements, and premium candle brands. Using our spotwhite techniques, you can create an eye-catching packaging design using this metallic paper material. Our metallic paper carton material is also recyclable, making it an affordable and sustainable option for brands.

metallic paper folding carton food and beverage packaging

Rainbow Holographic Cartons

Another attention-grabbing carton material are our Rainbow Holographic cartons. Similar to metallic paper, you should use this carton material for indoor applications. Opt for rainbow holographic carton material if you want to give your product packaging a shimmering look, as this paper presents like traditional foil.

holographic folding carton box for cosmetics or beauty products

Black Vellum Cartons

Just like our Black Vellum labels, these cartons are an eco-friendly option for your brand packaging. Made with ultra-black specialty paper, Black Vellum cartons are sure to make your product box designs pop. You should consider using this carton material for a unique sophisticated look for your product packaging.

black vellum folding carton packaging

Laminates for Folding Carton Boxes

Adding a laminate to your folding carton boxes is optional, but it can add a layer of protection and enhance your packaging design. Laminates, or finishes, help protect your product packaging from moisture, sunlight, oils, fingerprints, scuffing, and friction. At Sttark, we offer five folding carton laminates for you to choose from.

Gloss: A high-quality gloss laminate for cartons will intensify the colors in your packaging design, making them more vibrant. It also captures and reflects light, which is sure to catch the attention of your customers.

Matte: Using matte laminate on your folding carton boxes adds a layer of protection without greatly affecting the colors of your design. It provides a tactile experience and is perfect for cosmetics, gourmet foods, and artisanal products.

Tactile Laminates for Folding Cartons

product box using metallic paper and leather laminate from gentleman's nod

Image from Gentleman’s Nod

Soft Touch Matte: The soft-touch matte carton laminate provides a soft, velvety feel to your product packaging. The colors on your packaging will look softer and more muted when using a soft touch laminate as it reduces glare. Adding this to your products can help them stand out amongst the competition as customers pick up items off of store shelves.

Linen: Make your folding carton boxes look timeless with a fabric-textured linen laminate. The linen-inspired texture reduces glare while providing a unique, premium feel for your packaging. When paired with metallic paper, a linen laminate can elevate your folding carton packaging.

Leather: Perfect for men’s products, premium liquors, or luxury fashion accessories, using a leather laminate on your printed cartons can make your products look high-end. Adding a leather texture to your product packaging will certainly leave an impression on your customers.

Embrace the Power of Paperboard Packaging with Folding Cartons

Paperboard folding carton boxes are more than just packaging; they’re an investment in your brand’s image and success. By choosing high-quality custom folding cartons, you choose premium aesthetics, exceptional strength, and a sustainable packaging solution.

Use our online quote tool to customize and buy your custom folding carton packaging today. If you have any questions, reach out to our Customer Care Team, who will be happy to assist you.

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