Stages in the Manufacture of a Folding Carton
  • Dieline Design
  • Prepressing
  • Die Making
  • Printing
  • Cutting & Creasing
  • Waste Stripping & Recycling
  • Other Processes
  • Gluing
What is SBS?
Solid Bleached Board (SBS) is a premium paperboard grade produced from bleached virgin fiber. It features a lower stiffness ratio to allow more flexibility in carton design and a consistent, bright appearance for excellent printability.
Why do I need a dieline?

CMYK color is cyan, magenta, yellow and black ink. Each color prints from a separate plate as dots and screens in layers to create colors. CMYK is also known as process color or four color printing.

PMS stands for Pantone Matching System. This system was developed in the early 1960s and is internationally recognized and used in print, graphic, fashion and interior design. PMS colors are assigned numbers and formulas for ink mixing. A palette of 14 basic colors are used to mix inks according to the formulas. The color PMS 285 printed in two parts of the world on the same paper will match due to the consistency of the formulas. Printers can order the colors by numbers or use the formula to mix the ink color themselves.

CMYK will always be the standard in most color printing, however PMS offers an expanded horizon of choices.

What is prepress?

After designing a document comes prepress. It is the process of preparing digital files for the printing press  making them ready for printing (pre > before and press > printing on a printing press). Prepress or make-ready tasks will vary depending on file complexity and printing method but some may include:

  • double-checking fonts
  • making sure graphics are in the right format
  • preparing camera ready artwork
  • creating color separations,
  • adding crop marks
  • trapping (done to prevent color gaps when colors touch in a layout)
  • imposition (putting pages in the right order for printing)
  • producing prepress proofs
  • obtaining film for creating printing plates
What is a die, how is a die made?
The structure of the box and layout is used by the die maker to create a steel rule die. Die boards are cut by laser, insuring a much higher degree of accuracy and consistency between dies. Steel rule knives are then bent and cut to the required shape and fit into the slots burned by the laser. Where the design calls for a crease, the steel rule has a rounded edge that creates a score around which the carton will fold.
What is Embossing?
Embossing is the process of creating either raised relief images and designs in box panel. An embossed pattern is raised against the background.
What is window patching?
Window patching provides a see-through plastic viewing panel of one box panel
What is Print Coatings?

Print Coatings: Understanding UV Coating, Spot Varnish, and Aqueous Coating 
Before ordering any type of custom packaging, it helps to be aware of the various print coatings to choose from. Just like the rest of your packaging, you can completely customize the print coating to meet your specific needs. 
The various types of print coatings that you choose from include:

  1. Aqueous Coating
  2. Aqueous coating refers to a fast-drying and water-based coating that is clear in color and designed to protect various printed pieces. This particular coating will give you a matte or high-gloss surface, which is able to deter both fingerprints and dirt. The coating will also improve the durability of mailed pieces, such as postcards, during their trip through the mail system as well as protect business cards that go in a wallet. In addition, it adds a nice finishing touch to presentation folders, catalog covers, and brochures. An aqueous coating is better at resisting scuffs compared with varnish, and it is usually the last step on the printing press and applied over the entire piece. The water base also makes for a greener coating compared with UV coatings or varnishes.

  3. Varnish
  4. Varnish is a type of clear ink and may appear in matte, satin, or gloss. One type, a flood varnish, will cover the whole printed page, adding sheen and protection. Another option, spot varnish, lets you highlight particular areas within a printed piece, adding depth and shine to specific elements, such as the image or logo. Varnishes are applied on-press, but may be applied (via inks) to only certain parts (such as spot varnish) and are heavier-bodied. Artwork is needed for spot varnishes, so a plate needs to be created first.

  5. UV Coating
  6. A UV coating is cured via ultraviolet light exposure, letting it dry quickly while hardening the coating. This coating provides the highest amount of gloss, but it might crack if it is scored or folded, depending on the hardness and thickness of the coating. Some people see UV coatings as too shiny. These can be applied as floods (over the entire sheet) or spot coatings, as well as either on or off the press. UV compatible inks need to be used with a sheet that will use UV coating, and these sheets can’t be foil stamped. You must emboss after the coating process is done if you would like to do any embossing on the printed product.

  7. Soft Touch Coating
  8. Soft touch coating will make the paper develop a texture that is “soft” and velvety when touched as well as increases its tactile appeal. This particular coating will also give a softer feel and look to printed materials compared with UV or aqueous coatings. At the same time, it still manages to create a barrier that is resistant to fingerprints. Soft touch coating also dries quickly, making the printing process shorter, and as a bonus, it is also ecofriendly and does not yellow over time. Many people associate the soft touch coating method with the words “sophisticated” and “luxurious” due to the results and ecofriendly process.

What is not folding carton?
When you think of folding cartons, you are not generally thinking of shoe boxes or jewelry boxes. For the most part, this type of packaging, called a rigid, or setup box, is one of the oldest forms of packaging. The panels of these boxes are made from thick, unbending chipboard which are taped or otherwise attached to each other to form the container. They cannot be folded flat, but are constructed in their final, three-dimensional shape. These boxes usually have a top and a bottom, and may be wrapped with printed or foiled paper Folding cartons are also if rarely used as shipping containers that would be corrugated boxes.
Do you sell corrugated boxes?
We do not sell corrugated boxes.
What is the lead time from art approval to production completion?
A typical job could take between 3 weeks to complete depending on the size of the order. There are many steps involved; from the ordering of paperboard, creating the die, sheeting the material, printing the cartons, die-cutting, and gluing. Once we have your information we will be able to better approximate the turn around time.
How are the folding cartons shipped?
You dictate your preference as to how you want the cartons shipped. It is dependent on the size of the order as if you will need a truck. Quotes typically do not include the cost of a delivery, but the shipping cost may be requested to be added to the cost of the cartons. Smaller orders can ship UPS. The cartons are placed in a corrugated case. Each carton is flat when packed. The number of cartons in a case can vary depending on size of the carton when folding. A request can be made as to how you would like the carton packed.
How many colors can you print?
We currently can print up to 7-colors or 6-colors plus a coating. With 4-color process you can print the entire spectrum of colors with crisp quality images and fine text. In the event you need more colors we can run cartons through the printing press multiple times.
Can you print on the inside of the carton?
Yes! We run the carton through the press twice. The first pass prints on the inside and then again to print on the outside.
Can you print text?
Text and pictures of all sizes are crisp and clear. We can send you a printed example of a carton to show the full range of abilities.
What's turn around time?
Standard Orders: 15 business days from receipt of the final dieline and artwork.(Order turnaround day will be confirmed by sales or customer service rep)
Rush Orders: 5 or 10 business days from receipt of the CONFIRM and APPROVE dieline and artwork.(Not available)
Turn Around Times for rush orders require prompt approval of dieline and artwork / proofs. Failure to approve dieline and artwork due to changes or lack of response to email or phone calls will delay your order.
Can I order the same carton with multiple versions of artwork?
This is normal during the printing process. We refer to the different artwork as copy changes. A change in the printing requires new printing plates to be created.
However the price wouldn't be version qty times per version total, more close to one version total with additional charge over it, for orders in such cases please contact our sales representative through toll free number 1-855-766-7225 or email to for accurate quotation.
What concerns are most important for ordering custom boxes?
A custom box may refer to any box that has not been mass produced so that it is made to fit the standard industry sizes. When you are making a custom box order, consider which shape and size will perfectly fit your product. You can also add finishing touches in the form of designs, and these include unique materials, colors, flaps, and curves. No matter your product, don't forget to consider every possibility for your box. Remember that the right box will make your product stand out, boosting sales.
The best way to meet your particular specifications for unique packaging is to work closely with a printing company and its design team. During the process, you will submit various drafts to help turn the vision into reality through the work of your team. If you want to find out more about custom options that you will find on box orders, visit
How do you know if a company is good for creating custom gift boxes?
Custom gift boxes can work for any company but do best with those that sell fine candy, clothing, or toys. These become an important piece of packaging to have on hand during business events, holidays, and birthdays when clients are looking for wrapping options for gifts.
You have multiple designs to select from for gift boxes. You can customize the box with a logo, a creative shape, or by adding a handle. Your goal should be to ensure that the gifts stand out, enticing people so they want to learn more about what is within. Stopping by can show you the highest-quality gift boxes for your special events.
What does "dieline" mean in the packaging and printing industry?
Die lines are the package templates that ensure a printed product is properly laid out. This diagram is a flattened representation of each of the folds and cut lines for a piece of packaging and can be found on boxes, pocket folders, and envelopes. Creating accurate die lines involves several steps.
In some cases, a client may send an example of the packaging to the print company. The company would then take apart the sent package to locate graphics and tucks and take measurements. When there is a product, but no packaging, the measurements are instead taken for the actual product with wrapped paper added to estimate size.
After the measurements, Adobe Illustrator is used to create the die lines, following specific design standards. You would ideally test a hard copy of your created die line to ensure it works with the product. After that, it is time to make hard copy prototypes using such materials as heavyweight paper. After the prototype is checked for such factors as sturdiness, the packaging can be prepared for the shelves.
What does the term "SBS paper board" refer to in the packaging and printing industry?
SBS stands for Solid Bleached Sulfate, and this is the most expensive and highest quality of the paper board substrates. It is made using virgin wood pulp that has been bleached. SBS is frequently used in high-end packaging to ensure printed image quality as well as in food and liquid packaging (including frozen foods), where it serves as a moisture barrier. SBS is also commonly found with pharmaceutical, beauty, and health packaging.
What does the term "recycled paper board" refer to in packaging and printing?
Recycled paper board is a type of paper board produced using recovered waste from paper, thereby converting consumer sources as well as plants to meet production requirements. This recycled paper board includes a small quantity of virgin fibers, which are added during recycling to increase strength. The final product is considered a multiply substrate and has between six and nine plies. When compared to virgin substrates, the recycled paper boards are not as stiff, based on interior printing surfaces and per-unit weight. Opting for recycled paper board is more affordable, making it an economic alternative for standard paper board within the packaging industry.
What does the term "CCNB paper board" refer to?
Clay Coated News Back, or CCNB, is a type of paper board that is gray or brown in color, and this is based on the clay that is coated on a side as well as the specific fiber type.
What does the term "CCLB paper board" refer to?
Clay Coated Light Back, or CCLB, is light gray in color and is clay coated on only one side.
What types of recycled paper board exist in packaging and printing?
These include Bending Chip, Clay Coated White Back, Clay Coated Kraft Back, Clay Coated Light Back, and Clay Coated News Back.
What does the term "template" refer to in the packaging and printing industry?
Templates are vector files used to visually show a package's layout, and this includes both countertop display boxes and folding cartons. Templates will include lines indicating the folding locations and thereby demonstrating the package's proper layout. After the template is downloaded, it can be rotated or edited (including changing the dimensions) to improve the estimate of a product's finished appearance.
You can find templates in almost any shape and size, and these include everything from door hangers to pyramid-shaped boxes. Templates are sometimes listed based on the quantity of panels they contain, as this varies based on needs. Accordion templates are popular, as they can hold information within a large number of panels. Tray card templates, on the other hand, are more popular with compact disc packaging.
Printing templates help customers easily customize their packaging. You can usually find them for free, and they are easy to open with Adobe Illustrator, which is where you would make any edits. Templates may also be customized within Adobe InDesign, Adobe PDF, Microsoft Word, or QuarkXPress.
After you download the template, you can add your content to it via your favorite program. This template will be crucial for determining the content and layout of your page as the consumer will view it. The fact that the process is easy and fast means you do not always need to hire a professional graphic designer and will be able to create a final product within mere minutes.
What are the differences between process color and PMS color?
PMS color, or Pantone Matching System color, is frequently used for printing spot colors, as these are printed with unique ink. The color is specified based on its pantone number or name within a color chart. It allows the colors to appear exactly as intended once printed instead of how they appear on a computer screen.
Process color, or CMYK color, uses four colors, which give the name its initials: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. These four colors work together to form all other colors that are used in printing by using various color saturations. Process color is the most commonly used type in the packaging and printing industry.
What are the differences between process color and PMS color?
PMS color, or Pantone Matching System color, is frequently used for printing spot colors, as these are printed with unique ink. The color is specified based on its pantone number or name within a color chart. It allows the colors to appear exactly as intended once printed instead of how they appear on a computer screen.
Process color, or CMYK color, uses four colors, which give the name its initials: cyan, magenta, yellow, and black. These four colors work together to form all other colors that are used in printing by using various color saturations. Process color is the most commonly used type in the packaging and printing industry.
What advantages do you get with eco-friendly packaging?
The most obvious advantages of eco-friendly packaging are the ability to reduce the impact on the environment and help the reputation of any business that uses it. We have blister packs and these, as well as other eco-friendly packaging, help to reduce the quantities of plastic necessary to create packages, in turn reducing environmental impact. The packaging is becoming more popular and can help both printing businesses and those selling packaged products.
Another benefit of eco-friendly packaging is that it uses soy ink, which is better for the planet. This type of ink also offers brighter colors, which are not possible to get with petroleum-based inks. The largest benefit to the planet, however, is that soy ink has very low levels of volatile organic compounds (or VOCs), which are harmful to the environment.
What does the term "countertop display box" refer to in packaging and printing?
Countertop display boxes are designed to sit on top of any counter, although they do especially well near the point of sale. They are usually constructed with corrugated cardboard and include various sections or rows that were designed so they can hold different items, such as toys, DVDs, CDs, or books.
You can customize a countertop display box to serve as a ballot box and find options that include pegs, letting them display individual items, such as key chains. Some boxes may contain single sections to hold smaller or thinner items, such as brochures. Countertop displays are a powerful method of drawing customers in when they make their purchase, which is the critical point.
What products can you package in hexagon-style boxes?
With creativity, you can package most products in hexagon box styles. The most popular options, however, are party favors and jewelry. These boxes are also great for gift giving, decorations, and storage. The unique shape of the box helps catch the eyes of passersby, making them curious about what is within. The boxes will also frequently include a lid to secure items during handling and/or storage.
How should you choose retail packaging?
Retail packaging is a crucial tool to help you sell your products or services. As such, it has to be visually relevant as well as creative, as this helps attract consumers, focusing their attention onto your product.
You should opt for a retail packaging box design and style that instantly engages your consumer. This will give you the desired end result of them leaving with your product.
We can help you reach those goals. Our production team is knowledgeable and experienced with packaging and printing, allowing them to guide you every step of the way so you can produce a polished final package.
What does a "white cardboard box" refer to?
White cardboard boxes are sometimes referred to as ivory boards. These are made using strong white cardboard that is produced using quality pure wood pulp that is relatively thick. It is processed with embossing or calendaring and frequently used for packing and packaging decoration, trademarks, certificates, invitations, and business cards. It is quantitative within 210 to 400 gsm.
What does "folding carton packaging" refer to?
Folding carton packaging is designed to catch the attention of consumers. As such, it helps provoke emotions in addition to providing information. Effective product packaging will have an attractive appearance and impress consumers with its creativity. We work to help you produce packaging that is creative and communicates your product.
How can printing promote my business?
Printing is designed to help promote your company. Any type of high-quality color printing will expose more people to your product or information, and this is true whether it is a catalog, small brochure, booklet, or something else. High-impact color photos and graphics can help promote your business and sell products. Our prices are competitive, so they fit your bottom line as well as your marketing needs. for orders in such cases please contact our sales representative through toll free number 1-855-766-7225 or email to for accurate quotation.
1. Choose product , get a quotation
  • provide 3 main categories that customers could choose their ideal packaging solution from. 
    By Box Style:  lists all standard box structure that soopak produces, if you want to make your choice on style of the box to meet your packaging needs, this is where you should go 
    * Products under this category come with Custom dieline design.
  • By Industries is a selection of best practice packaging solution provided by SoOPak structure designer, technical sales specialist and analysis of soopak client’s choice, which ensures you a hassle free purchasing experience. 
    * Products under this category come with FREE dieline design.
  • Custom Style is a complete tailored packaging solution for your packaging, our experienced structure designer will work with you till your brilliant ideas convert to a real folding carton, as we believe your ideas deserves it.
  • Get a quotation in By Box Style & ByIndustries: once you chose a product page under this category, input product options like dimension; color; coating¦ the price will be changing while you are featuring them, till you input the last one qty, you've finished the quotation process and should be able to see the lot price with per unit price as well.
  • There is one thing special while you are getting quatation from Custom Style, the dimension input option only shows LengthWidth (unlike all other categories shows Length Width & Height), this is because custom style box may not erect into a cube but special shape, thus on this very product page custom style the length and width represents the only 2 dimension of the flat dieline design of this custom style box.

If you like the quotation, please added it into your shopping cart to reserve this quotation, which makes placing order easier in soon furfure. (please make sure you are logged in)

2. Dieline Design & Prototyping

You like the quotation, let's get the ball rolling, to have a folding carton made, normally there are 2 elements before production: dieline & artwork (unless your packaging is plain carton, that case dieline is the only thing we need.)
First thing would be dieline design, the structure of the box.

  1. To get a dieline design please go to Design, there are 2 options you could choose from, standard dieline design & custom dieline design,
    • Standard dieline design Free: In Step 1, if you found your ideal box style in By Box Style or By Industries product page, please input that product ID in this page, along with dimension, paper stock and if you need prototype box, then add to cart and proceed to check out. A dieline design file will be sent to you through Email and 2 prototype boxes (if applicable) will be shipped to you within 24 hrs. If you confirm the dieline design, then we can move to artwork design
    • Custom dieline design: If you didn't find your ideal box in By Box Style or By Industries, then we could design the box from scratch custom dieline design, to ensure our structure designer acquires enough details of your idea, we'll need detailed dieline description & images in:
      • Box style: if the main structure is similar to any of our standard box style, please list the it's product ID; if not please provide an image or drawing of how the box looks.
      • Detailed feature: tear open; cut out; lock; insert ¦
      • Dimensional figure: L; W; H; radius angle; diameter; cut out position¦
    • You’ve had the dieine for your box as you have ordered the same structure box before, then we can move to artwork design.
  2. You've had the dieine for your box as you have ordered the same structure box before, then we can move to artwork design.
3. Place Order

Now both dieline and artwork is ready, you are one step away from realizing your packaging design into real box Place Order

  • If you have reserved your quotation, you could tune to shopping cart, find the quotation and click edit to get back to product page with all prefix settings and upload your artwork there, then proceed to check out.
  • If you didn't reserve quotation, tune to the product page according to product ID, fill out all the same setting and upload artwork there then proceed to check out.

Now your order is in soopak production list, our prepress department will process your artwork to press ready file rand send it to you to confirm, after it's confirmed, we guarantee your order to be ready for shipping in 10 business days.

4. Track Order
Now you order is being processed in SoOPak production line, you could find up to dated order status in My Account / My Order block.
Accepted File Formats
Adobe Illustrator AI
Press Quality or Hight Quality Print PDF
Layout Guidelines
  • Verify the dimensions and orientation of dieline for which you are creating your artwork.
  • Check to see if there are any “safe viewable areas”, cut-outs, glue area, crease (folding line) that must be considered in creating your layouts.
  • Include “1/8” bleed.
  • Create files in CMYK mode.
  • Provide all fonts or all fonts outlined.
  • Provide all linked artwork DO NOT embed images.
layout guideline
  • Resolution should be a minimum of 150 DPI to a maximum of 300 DPI at the final (100%) size.
  • Never use low-resolution images (i.e. screenshots, low-resolution web images, etc.)
resolution request
Colour Proofing
  • If a Hard Copy Colour Proof has not been requested (additional charge), we would send press digital proof file through email.
  • If Hard Copy Colour proof is required, we would need PMS Colors to be specified or physical proofs or previously printed boxes are provided to match.
    1. Hard Copy Colour Proof: Press ready file printed over proof paper plus Color Drawdown
    2. Colour Drawdown: PMS Colour ink applied over ordered stock paper, coated and uncoated
color proof
Does SoOPAK accept any file format?

SoOPAK accepts print-ready files in any of the following formats: 

ai, pdf 
In other words, SoOPAK accepts print-ready files saved from the following design software programs: Adobe Photoshop® CS, Adobe Illustrator® CS, Adobe InDesign® CS

Adobe Illustrator AI
Press Quality or Hight Quality Print PDF
Image Resolution request?
In the ai or pdf file all the images need to high-quality, uncompressed 300 dpi resolution, 8 bit, CMYK color mode.
Do I need to use CMYK color mode?
Yes. If your files are submitted using any other color standard, such as RGB or Pantone, they will be converted to CMYK during preflighting. Conversion from one color standard to another may cause colors to shift. Before submitting your digital artwork files, you may want to review our file preparation guidelines. cymk
Does my artwork have 0.125" bleeds?
SoOPAK requires a 0.125" bleed around the perimeter of your artwork to ensure accurate cutting (e.g., artwork for a 4"x6" postcard should extend to 4.25" x 6.25"). If your image has a white border on all four sides, bleeds are recommended but not required. If your image is not white on all four sides, you must include bleeds in print-ready files. Before submitting your artwork files, you may want to review our file preparation guidelines. bleeds
Why is resolution important?

Resolution also known as DPI (Dots Per Inch) can be described as the number of dots that fit horizontally and vertically into a one-inch space. Generally, the more dots per inch, the more detail captured and the sharper the resulting image.
For an image to print properly, the image must be at least 300 dots per inch (dpi) at the final output size. If your file is not 300 dpi, you cannot simply increase the dpi from a low resolution to a higher one by increasing the DPI in your imaging program.

What resolution is needed for my job?
For most printing jobs, 300 dots per inch (DPI) is the minimum resolution to guarantee acceptable printing results. For larger products such as large format posters and banners, we recommend sharper resolution which can range from 300 to 1200 dpi, depending on the intended use of the printed piece. resolution request
What if my file is missing fonts?

It is important that you supply all fonts used in your layout. If you do not supply fonts in your artwork file, we will request that you resubmit your files with fonts included.
If you have vector artwork and your file is missing fonts, you can open your file in Illustrator, select "Create Outlines", save your fonts, re-save your artwork file, and then upload it.
If you have artwork that is rasterized, you can open your file in Photoshop and select "Flatten the Layers", re-save your artwork file, and then upload it.
Please do not submit your fonts seperately from your file because it is critical that we receive your print-ready file with fonts included to avoid any printing issues.

Image Resolution request?
In the ai or pdf file all the images need to high-quality, uncompressed 300 dpi resolution, 8 bit, CMYK color mode.
How do I convert text to outlines?
All text within your files must be converted to outlines with the outline set to zero to eliminate the need for fonts. Before submitting your artwork files, you may want to review our file preparation guidelines. outline
What if my file is missing images?

Please EMBED all the image in your file. 
If your file is missing the images you desire, you should re-save your file properly so that the images will not drop out during printing.
We do not normally accept images by themselves. The only exception is if you engage one of our graphic designers to help you with your project. Otherwise, you must place all images in your artwork and make sure to save your files properly. Please refer to your software program manual for more information on how to save your files properly.
Vector-based software programs such as Illustrator or InDesign have a tendency of image dropping out when transparency effects are being used.
If you are using Photoshop, you should flatten all layers before saving to keep all images and text in place.

missing links
What if my artwork contains gradients?
Gradients are commonly used in printing and in most instances produce good results. Gradients can be represented in a file as a mathematical equation (Vector) or rendered by the application into a series of pixels (Raster). Before submitting your artwork files, you may want to review our file preparation guidelines.
Does SoOPAK offer design services?
Yes! We has partnered with some third party to offer professional services to help convert your packaging idea into reality. You get to work with designers and guide the process from start to finish, for results that satisfy your needs and stay aligned with your budget. This service is intended to help you save time. You will receive professional advice, an on-brand, beautiful design and print-ready files that are customized to our printing specifications.
How can I find a designer?
We recommend you work with the packaging design professionals at 99designs.