Folding Cartons

What are Printed Folding Cartons?

Printed folding cartons are a way for vendors to package products in a shelf-ready, attractive one-piece box. The carton is folded and glued on one corner, and possibly on the bottom as well, depending on its style.

What are Custom Product Boxes Used For?

Printed folding cartons are one of our favorite ways to create eye-catching custom printed boxes for our clients.

Common Use Cases
Candle Folding Boxes

One of our most popular products, they’re the best way to convey to customers the mood of a particular candle.

Health & Body Product Folding Cartons

Our custom product boxes are used to package tinctures, CBD products, face masks, creams, sprays, serums, spa products, shampoo, conditioner, fragrances, perfume, cologne, and more — the list grows every month!

Cosmetics Folding Cartons

Create a beautiful, cohesive branding experience with custom boxing for any type of beauty product: blush, mascara, eye shadow, bronzer, highlighter, concealer, lipstick, lip gloss, foundation, powder, primer, eyeliner… you name it.

Soap Folding Cartons

Many of our clients use the boxes for their custom-formulated printed soaps and bath bombs.

Types of Folding Cartons

We’re happy to help you select the type of die cut folding carton best for your product.

Lock Bottom

The bottom of the carton simply folds up into the box. 

Auto Bottom

Similar to the lock bottom, except two small parts of the bottom tabs are glued so that it snaps into place. 

Tuck End

Can either be straight (the top and bottom tuck ends are on the same end of the box) or reverse (the top and bottom tuck ends are on opposite ends on the box).

The Advantages of Custom Printed Folding Cartons

Norman’s Printery can make almost any type of box you want, due to our in-house die-cutting capabilities. Though we do have house dies available for the most popular shapes, some custom printed products require a die (base cost $350). This is a one-time cost; we will save your die for future use.

Eye-Catching Branding

Printing on the outside and inside of boxes is possible, allowing you to create a memorable unboxing experience for customers. Please note that printing on the inside of your folding carton will add to the cost.

High Quality and Durable

Folding cartons provide stability while being lighter compared to other types of stacking and display-ready boxes.

Custom Printed Boxes

Eco-Friendly Options

We always carry several eco-friendly paper options made from recycled materials.

Folding Carton Materials

Norman’s offers 2 main types of carton materials; the first two are the most common.

UV Coating Soft-Touch

Coated Board Stock

Called SBS (for solid bleached sulfate), this material can be UV coated with High Gloss, Matte, or Soft Touch. The color options are limited to shades of white, which vary depending on the selected brand.

Hudson Candle Carton

Uncoated Board Stock

This material offers a very flat, matte finish, resembling vellum. Most brands are available in basic colors such as black, white, gray, kraft, and off-white. Our most-selected brands offered include Neenah and Mohawk.

Our Folding Carton Recommendations for Products

Folding cartons require thicker paper as their base material, in order to uphold their structural integrity. The thickness of the paper depends on the size of the carton and the weight of the item(s) going into it. While it’s difficult to describe paper thickness -- you really need to have it in your hands in order to feel the difference -- here is a list of common boxed items and their typical carton paper weights:

14 pt. to 18 pt.

Cosmetics, CBD, small bottles

18 pt. to 20 pt.

Fragrance bottles, hand creams

20 pt. to 24 pt.

Candles, heavier items

Ink Options for Custom Printed Product Boxes

Norman’s uses digital and offset printing presses. Our digital printing presses use toner, while our offset presses utilize ink.Both types of printing are very cost-effective, capable of a full spectrum of colors, and result in excellent quality printed products. Digital printing only operates as a CMYK process, while offset printing may be CMYK but is also often used for single spot PMS colors.

Our Color Matching Capabilities

Our printing presses operate on the “CMYK” system, meaning they blend a combination of cyan, magenta, yellow, and black toners to create your desired colors. While CMYK can create a broad spectrum of color, it’s not capable of the breadth of “spot coloring” used in PMS spot colors on an offset press, such as neon colors. We achieve the best possible match to your indicated color choices with the help of the Pantone system, the most common spot color system in use globally today. We use both the coated and uncoated Pantone swatch books, depending on the type of paper being used. When you specify a Pantone color, you can be sure that we are matching as close as possible to that exact color. It doesn't matter what the CMYK value is -- we take care of that translation on our end.

Important Notes on Color Matching
  • Digital presses have limits on which Pantone colors can be accurately printed; we will notify you before printing if we are concerned the color specified is not reproducible digitally.
  • We can’t match RGB or HEX colors, because they are based on a red, green, blue, backlit, additive colorspace that our machines do not operate within.
  • Here’s why we ask that you create your artwork on the Pantone system, even though our printers operate on CMYK:
    Think about your computer monitor versus a coworker’s: the colors of any particular image will vary slightly, because your monitors have different settings (think brightness, pixel size, contrast, calibration, etc.). This means that similarly, the color you see on your monitor is not an exact representation of a given CMYK value. We can’t verify if what we see on our equipment monitor is an exact match to what you see on your computer screen. Plus, the brand of toner, type of press, and type of paper -- which we can better account for via Pantone -- all affect final color outcome.
Finishes for Folding Cartons

Norman’s offers several options for adding a unique finish to your custom product packaging.
The greater the quantity of your order, the better pricing rate we can offer.

Embossing & Debossing

An embossed image or logo is raised above the paper, while a debossed one is indented into the paper. Both processes use a die and/or plate. 

Foil Stamping

Foil stamping is a process in which a thin layer of foil is stamped onto paper by a heated raised metal die. We offer many colors and finishes of foil to choose from.

UV Coating Matte

UV Coating

Available on SBS, this coating provides scuff protection and a variety of different finishes, such as Soft Touch, Matte, and High Gloss.

Insert Pieces for Additional Protection

Inserts are often included for heavier products such as larger candles, where you need additional protection to guard against breakage. They’re also used in some cases for smaller items, such as when more than one item is placed in the folding carton, or the carton is larger than the size of the product being packaged.


How to Decide Which Type of Custom Folding Carton is Right for Your Product

Norman’s will work with you to figure out which type of custom folding carton is right for your product. We’ll consider factors such as product weight, product size, where the product will be sold, and the art requirements of your branding elements.

Custom Carton Printing Requirements

Generally, we recommend a minimum order of 500 cartons. The requirements for the art used to print on your carton are described here. For more information on size and weight restrictions, contact us.

Screen Printed Boxes, Candle Box, Boxes, Die Cut, Die-Cut

How Does Folded Carton Printing Work?

At Norman’s Printery, we print flat sheets which are then die cut for the folding carton shape and design. Then they are folded and glued.

1. Fill Out Estimate Form

Start here -- it doesn’t take long.

2. Create Your Design

Make sure to read the explanation of our color matching process before you begin. The best way to ensure you’re receiving the colors you desire is to use a Pantone swatch book. Relying on Pantone color wheels via computer screen is not recommended, because the printed version may not match what you saw on your monitor. Here's an analogy: You want to repaint your living room, so you select a paint color from Home Depot’s website and order it online. But when it arrives, and it’s under the light in your living room, it looks lighter than what you thought you were selecting. Because of this, we recommend using a Pantone swatch book. Although we have some color chips available, Pantone adds colors so frequently that we don’t have all the colors in the system.

3. Prepare & Submit Your Art File

The most important thing to remember here is that you are welcome (and encouraged!) to contact us if you have any questions about art file requirements. Some important notes that address common issues:

  • CMYK works best for digital print designs that use Illustrator or InDesign, or JPEGS or PNGs that are imported from Photoshop into InDesign. 
  • For digital printing with Pantone colors, make sure to note whether you are working off the Coated or Uncoated version, which depends on your selected paper.
  • Please convert any RGB colors to CMYK before sending us your art. If we need to convert on our end, the resulting colors may not be exactly what you intended.
  • Save your file as a print-ready PDF which includes having it at the correct size for the finished piece, bleed images of at least 1/8" and trim marks are included and fonts are embedded or outlined. Layers should be included as well.

4. Proofing

Before we begin production, we’ll submit a PDF proof for your approval. 

5. Shipping

Cartons ship flat in larger shipping boxes and are assembled into the final shape when placing the contents into the carton.


Get Inspired By Our Customer Examples of Custom Folded Cartons
Frequently Asked Questions About Custom Printed Folding Cartons
What is your minimum order quantity (MOQ) for printed folding cartons?

We recommend a minimum order quantity of 500 boxes. While we have done less, the unit cost is more expensive for smaller quantities. Most orders are for 1,000+ units.

How do I make sure my product will fit in the custom folding carton?

The easiest answer to this question is: get in touch with us, because we can get creative. Maximum size is difficult to determine without finding out more about the product you intend to package. We have created boxes that are 12” x 2.75” x 2.75”, but have also done candle boxes that are shorter but wider.

How do I measure my product box?

Read our advice for getting the most accurate measurements possible of your product here

What finishes are available for my printed folding carton?

Various finishes are available for custom folding cartons, under the two general categories of matte or glossy. See here for more detailed descriptions.

How are the boxes assembled?

We pre-fold and glue the cartons, but they ship flat. To assemble most cartons, simply open up the carton and tuck the bottom and top in.

What format should I send my artwork in?

Make sure to read the explanation of our color matching process before you begin. The best way to ensure you’re receiving the colors you desire is to use a Pantone swatch book.

Can you print inside the boxes?

Yes! This creates a particularly special unboxing experience for the consumer.

What factors impact pricing?

The main factor that impacts pricing (aside from quantity) is the number of variations in your order. Variations within the same size folding carton are defined by any change in the image or text from one item (or SKU) to the next. Variations could include color changes, different designs, and changes in text.