Introduction: Custom Packaging

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Silkscreen and cardboard packaging.

Step 1: Create the Package Form

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Research and draw. Take a look online at boxes and decide on the right one for your product. I chose a front flap box. Once I was happy with the shape, I sketched several versions of dimensions for the template to make the box using plain pen and paper. I then digitized the drawing using CAD. I used Rhino to sketch the box template to scale.The box I'm making is custom-fit for my product (view the product here) and measures 19" x 20" x 3.75" deep. View the template below.

Step 2: Rough Prototype

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I printed the digital plan of the box to scale using a standard printer. I tiled letter-size sheets of paper to create the large surface area for the template. I pasted the paper down using rubber cement and cut my first box rough prototype to test. The box fit, so the next step is to refine the package.

Step 3: Refined Prototype

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To create several more packages, I created a sturdy template using 1/8" MDF on the lasercutter. Whenever there was a scoreline in my drawing, I offset the lines by 1/16" on either side to allow for room for tracing around the template. I assembled the template and traced the outlines with pencil onto the cardboard sheet. Using a ruler, and blade, I cut out the box by hand. The lines for folding are scored with a bone folder. I added a layer for additional padding around the product.

Step 4: Create Package Graphics

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After designing the graphics in Illustrator (file below), I printed a small-scale model of my package graphics to view the effect. Seeing the physical object is helpful for tweaking minor edits to the placement of the graphics on the sides and top. Once I was happy with the result, I then outlined all the lines in Illustrator to prepare for cutting a vinyl template for screenprinting.

Step 5: Create SilkScreen

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Using a vinylcutter, I created a mirror-image stencil for applying on the silkscreen. I then peeled the negatives from the stencil and applied to a 20" x 30" pre-stretched silk screen.

Step 6: Finish

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Ink the screen in the desired color-I chose white screen printers ink. And press onto the surface. Silk screening may take a few tries to get the right consistency. This package certainly has a touch of the hand look..


JessicaD152 (author)2017-03-21

I think custom packaging is such a fun and cool idea! I would love to get something in the mail that fits their brand or product that I'm receiving. I think it also helps with advertising.

babele (author)2016-02-03

There is a online tool ( that generate a diecut template of custom packaging in real time. Just insert size. I save a lot of time and I don't need a CAD software

Raitis (author)2015-05-25

Do you need to bake it on after silkscreening? Or any good beginner resources you could link to?

cndjian (author)Raitis2015-05-25

No, I just let the vinyl do its thing, no baking there. I found this to be helpful for vinyl silk screening-

Raitis (author)cndjian2015-05-26

Thanks! Doesn't look so daunting any more. Especially with the vinyl.

Can you theoretically use the same screen with different vinyl cut outs and different images?

cndjian (author)Raitis2015-05-26

:) yes! exactly. Then once you are satisfied you simply switch out the vinyl and re-use the same screen. It's an alternative to burning the image.

Raitis (author)cndjian2015-05-30

Awesome, thank you! I have a cutter and a healthy amount of vinyl to use, now only finding a screen and ink. :)

artworker (author)2015-05-24

Good ible! Thanks for sharing

cndjian (author)artworker2015-05-25

thank you! I hope it's helpful!!

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