Shipping Boxes 101
For those who are new to custom shipping boxes, you have come to the right place. We have tried to cover the important areas with regard to custom corrugated boxes, but if you still have questions please contact Custom Boxes Now!
Here are the most common box styles used to ship and display products:
Regular Slotted Container (RSC)
This is the most common box style; a standard shipping box, where the flaps fold down and meet in the middle. Tape or glue must be used to seal carton.
Full Overlap Container (FOL)
A standard shipping carton where the top and bottom flaps overlap each other. Offers more strength for heavy objects, and provides more rigidity to minimize flex.
One Panel Folder (OPF)
One panel folders are often used as corrugated mailers for books, as they are handy for shipping relatively flat objects. Tape must be used to seal the carton.
This is a popular type of box that is self-locking. It requires tooling (a cutting die) which usually costs between $600 - $1,000. This is a one-time charge, so future orders will not need tooling as long as you don't change the box size.
Note: We do carry cutting dies in a few sizes, so please contact us to discuss your box size and if tooling will be required.
Tray & Cover
Commonly used for heavy items, and those that need more stacking strength, this box style ships flat. Flaps will need to be stapled or glued for assembly.
Half Slotted Container (HSC)
A standard box with no flaps (open) on top. Bottom flaps must be sealed with tape or glue.
Check out The Ultimate Guide to Corrugated Box Designs on our blog, or contact us to discuss additional box styles that are available.
Understanding box strength can get a little bit complicated. It is measured in two ways: by considering an Edge Crush Test (ECT) and a minimum burst strength.
For our online box configurator, we attempt to simplify box strength by offering the options below. If you have questions or need additional box strength options, please contact us.
"STANDARD" strength: Single-wall, 200 lb; we do not recommend exceeding 65 lbs and 75 total inches of measurement (length + width + depth).
"STRONG" strength: Single-wall, 275 lb; we do not recommend exceeding 95 lbs and 95 total inches of measurement.
"EXTRA STRONG" strength: Double-wall, 350 lb; we do not recommend exceeding 120 lbs and 105 total inches.
Single Wall (left) vs. Double Wall (right) Box Strengths
Our online box configurator offers the two most common box colors:
Kraft/Kraft is the standard color of corrugated (brown) - both inside and out.
White/Kraft is white on the outside and kraft inside. In some cases we can run the white to the inside as well. Call us to see if that could work for your project.
We can manufacture your boxes using dyed satin black outside/kraft inside corrugated material. There are some restrictions/minimums with this material - please call us for pricing on this option.
We can also flood print your boxes (on white substrate) in the PMS (Pantone) color of your choice. Contact us for details and pricing.
Promote your brand and differentiate your product by adding printed graphics to your custom boxes. The cost is often less than our clients expect, and the impact on end-users is very valuable.
Printing can be added to boxes in two ways. The corrugated board can be printed directly, or a printed label can be laminated to the corrugated board for a higher-end graphic appearance.
Check out our Box Printing 101 area to find out more about adding printing to your boxes, or you can see examples of printed boxes we have produced on our Box Examples page.
Most corrugated box manufacturers have a minimum order quantity to offset machine setup costs and other fixed expenses.
Custom Boxes Now has no minimum order. As with all manufacturers, quantity does have a significant impact on price. You can see this by testing different quantities of the same box on our box configurator. Increasing your order quantity dramatically reduces your per box price.
Eco-Friendly / Recycling
Corrugated boxes are the most sustainable, eco-friendly packaging material available. The average corrugated box is made from 43% recycled fiber, and 85% of corrugated board produced is recycled and used again.
At Custom Boxes Now, we take it a step further:
Our brown (kraft) corrugated boxes are 60% to 95% post-consumer waste, while white corrugated boxes are 30% to 70% post-consumer waste.
SFI® Certification - Custom Boxes Now has earned SFI certification to the independent Sustainable Forestry Initiative chain-of-custody standard.
FSC Chain-of-Custody Certification - Custom Boxes Now has been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) as meeting its stringent chain-of-custody criteria.
See our Environmental Advantages of Corrugated Cardboard Boxes section to learn more.
Production Speed / Turn Around Time
Many box manufacturers take weeks to quote, design, print, manufacture, and deliver shipping boxes. Complex machines often require significant setup times, and die-cut boxes require tooling to be created.
This is another area in which Custom Boxes Now excels! Our online box builder shows you pricing in real-time, so you don't have to wait for a quote. If you order non-printed boxes before noon (12:00 PM CST), Monday through Friday, and select overnight delivery, you can receive your boxes the following day. Orders received online after 12:00 PM CST are not available for next-day delivery. Exceptions to this may be possible by contacting a Custom Boxes Now specialist.
Printed boxes have a longer lead time because of tooling that is required-usually 3-5 business days after artwork approval. Rush orders may be available for printed boxes, depending on capacity. Contact us for more information.
Still have questions about boxes? Contact Custom Boxes Now or use our real-time shipping box configurator to start now.