All corrugated cardboard has a layer of corrugated fluting and at least one liner. Fluting and liners can be combined in different layers to create different types.

Board Styles

  • Single face – Uses: Interior packaging
  • Single wall – Uses: Shipping cartons
  • Double wall – Uses: Industrial cartons
  • Triple wall – Uses: Shipping crates, Chemical containers

Flute Types

  • A – Flute Height: 1/4”
  • B – Flute Height: 1/8”
  • C – Flute Height: 1/4”
  • E – Flute Height: 1/16”
  • F – Flute Height: 1/32”

In order to measure the bursting strength of a corrugated box – or how many pounds of pressure it would take to rupture the material – we use the Mullen Test. Corrugated boxes will be labeled with 200 #, 275 #, 350 #, etc. The higher the number, the more durable the box will be. 200 # indicates that the box can withstand pressure of up to 200 lbs per square inch before bursting.

Folding Carton

Folding Carton Features:

  • Good for lightweight products
  • Typically has to go inside another bigger shipping box
  • Not too bulky, No sharp edges
  • Looks more retail (not industrial)
  • 100% recyclable

Most Common Types of Folding Carton:

  • SBS (Solid Bleached Sulfate): A coated solid white board which provides a clean look and an attractive appearance. This is a virgin board.
    • Maximum 24pts thick
    • Off-set printed up to 8 colors in addition to varnish for a polished appearance
    • Common Uses: cosmetic packaging, food packaging, pharmaceutical packaging
  • CCNB (Clay Coated Newsback): The clay coating creates a smooth surface for a crisp print on the top of the board, and the back is a lighter grey color made from recycled newsprint.
    • Maximum 28pts thick
    • Cheaper than SBS
    • Common Uses: food packaging (indirect food contact; e.g. in cereal boxes and cracker boxes), POP (Point of Purchase) counter displays

Rigid Carton

Rigid boxes consist of basically two parts – a lid and base. The shapes and sizes of rigid boxes vary greatly – square, rectangular, circular, etc. But in the packaging industry rigid box styles are usually categorized and described by the type of lid used.

Full Telescope Lid: lid covers the entire base of the box, e.g. chocolate and candy boxes

  • Tray with Sleeve (or Slipcase or Shell or Slide): full telescope style box with tray that slides into a “sleeve” or “shell”

Partial Telescope Lid: lid covers part of the base of the box

  • Neck Box (or Shouldered Box or Shoulder Box): partial telescope style box with a tray glued inside the base and protruding up past the top of the base. This protrusion creates a “neck” and the top edge of the base becomes the “shoulder”.  Sometimes the tray is glued to the inside of the lid instead of the base.

Classic Shoebox Lid: lid has a lip that is traditionally 1 inch deep

Hinged Lid: lid is attached permanently and stays closed using gravitational forces or with a magnetic strip or a ribbon binding – these boxes are great for frequent-use products that are meant to be stored in their packaging in-between uses

  • Flip Top (or Cigar Box): classic hinged lid style box – traditionally used for cigars
  • Book Style: hinged lid style box that when closed, resembles a hard cover book – commonly used to package luxury food items, beauty products and consumer electronics
  • Clamshell Style: hinged lid style box comprised of two joined pieces of packaging material, which completely surround the item or product


Types of Plastic:

  1. PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate) – transparent, glossy, very tough
    • clear die cut boxes, clamshell food boxes, multilayer pouches
  2. HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene) – hard and tough with a waxy exterior
    • suitcase boxes with handle (50% bioplastic)
  3. PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) – can be soft or hard depending on additives
    • blister pack
  4. LLDPE (Linear Low-Density Polyethylene) – waxy and slippery to the touch, tough
    • inner layer of multilayer pouches
  5. PP (Polypropylene) – high clarity, high gloss, and excellent tensile strength
    • single layer pouches
  6. PS (Polystyrene) – usually colored white, brittle but tough, good insulator
    • single-use food containers and cutlery
  7. Acrylic or Polymethyl Methacrylate (PMMA) – transparent thermoplastic used as a lightweight, shatter-resistant alternative to glass
    • cosmetic jars/bottles/tubes

Types of Foam Inserts:

  • Polyurethane Foam – highly versatile, provides immense durability and resilience
  • Polystyrene Foam – immensely moldable, highly resistant to water vapor and moisture, very high thermal resistance
  • Polyethylene Foam – lightweight and shatterproof, ideal for products that require high levels of shock absorption


Types of Wood Packaging Materials

  • Plywood: It comes in various thicknesses and has almost zero chance of splitting. Boxes and crates made of plywood will usually be strengthened by battens through the structures’ internal parts. It has the advantage of being resistant to termites, mold, heat, and moisture when appropriately treated. One of the most popular types of plywood is Baltic birch plywood, because it’s highly durable, tough, and reasonably-priced.
  • Oriented Strand Board (OSB): This material consists of strands of different types of wood pressed to form boards. It has similar properties to plywood, but the structure is more homogenous and devoid of a grain pattern. OSB’s advantage is that it becomes waterproof if treated with wax.
  • Douglas Fir: This is one of the stronger softwood types, with a hardness of 620 (Janka scale). It is commonly used for construction material, and it makes good packing crates, boxes, and even pallets as it bears loads rather well. It has a remarkable strength-to-weight ratio.
  • Spruce: This material has a great demand because it is a tonewood. It is almost as hard as Douglas fir with a Janka hardness rating of 510 and it is commonly used to make jewelry and trinket boxes. Boxes made out of spruce are very attractive because of the striking, uniformly-spaced grain pattern.
  • Pinewood: Pine is one of the softest softwoods and much softer than many types of hardwood. It has a Janka hardness rating of 380 to 420, depending on the type that you use. Pinewood has a high resistance to impact and is relatively stiff, which helps to make excellent boxes. It also comes in extremely dry condition, which helps to keep the contents dry and mildew-free. It takes in nails and screws easily, making it easy to seal the boxes.


Types of Metal Packaging Materials

  • Aluminum: Aluminum is commonly used to make cans and foil packaging. For example, Lifesavers and other candies are sold wrapped in aluminum foil. Beverage companies are using aluminum cans to package everything from soda to craft beer to wine. Some of the benefits of aluminum include its ability to resist rust and corrosion, its weight and its shelf life. Aluminum is also very easy to recycle. Most of the aluminum cans used today contain at least 70% recycled content.
  • Tin: Tin cans aren’t entirely made of tin. When tin is used in packaging, it’s actually applied as a thin layer on top of steel. One of the main benefits of tin-plating is that it helps to improve a package’s ability to resist corrosion.
  • Steel: Steel cans are often used for packaging canned foods. When steel is used for packaging foods, it is usually coated with a different metal, such as tin-plate, to enhance its ability to resist corrosion. Like aluminum, steel packaging is widely recycled and is easy to recycle. Steel without tin is one of the strongest packaging materials available. It’s often used to make large barrels or drums that hold items to be sold in bulk or for wholesale. Tin-free steel can also be used to make bottle caps.


Bioplastic (plant-based plastic)

  • Starch-Based Biomaterials: Cornstarch-based packaging, in particular, has become very popular over the last decade. It derives from corn, it’s versatile in its applications, and it is much eco-friendlier than plastic packaging although it has many properties similar to those of plastic.
  • Plant-Based Biomaterials: Polylactic Acid (PLA) is a popular biodegradable plastic made from lactic acid. It can be used in place of traditional petroleum-based plastic and typically comes from agricultural waste, including plant starch from corn, sugarcane or beet pulp.
  • Biodegradable Packing Peanuts: They come from natural substances such as starch and wheat. They are lightweight and inexpensive, and they won’t harm marine life if they end up in rivers, lakes or oceans.

Edible Cellophane Wrappers are largely made from starch, but can also be made from milk protein. They can be consumed with the food and they give you the opportunity to add vitamins, minerals, and even flavors by embedding them in the film.

Molded Pulp is recyclable, compostable and biodegradable. It is made by combining water and recycled paper, most often kraft off-cuts, recycled newspaper or a combination of both, which are then heated to give strength and rigidity.

Compostable Packaging is packaging which is manufactured from renewable plant-based materials and has been certified to compost within an industrial composting process to fertilize the soil, along with food and garden waste.