How to make custom cardboard boxes

Top 10 Hacks - How to Make Custom Size Cardboard Box: Expert Guide


In today’s world, where e-commerce and small businesses thrive, having the ability to craft custom-size cardboard boxes can be a game-changer. Whether you’re sending out handmade crafts, shipping products, or simply looking for eco-friendly packaging options, knowing how to make your cardboard boxes in custom sizes is invaluable.

In this article, we’ll explore the top 10 hacks for creating custom-size cardboard boxes that perfectly fit your needs.

1. Choose the Right Cardboard Material

Choosing the right cardboard material is the foundational step in crafting custom-size cardboard boxes. It’s a decision that significantly impacts the durability, sturdiness, and overall quality of your boxes. Cardboard comes in various types, each designed for specific purposes, and understanding these options is crucial.

Firstly, you’ll encounter single-wall and double-wall cardboard. Single-wall cardboard is lighter and suitable for less heavy items, while double-wall offers added strength and protection, making it ideal for heavier contents. The choice between these two depends on what you intend to pack in your custom boxes.

Another critical consideration is the corrugation of the cardboard. Corrugated cardboard consists of a fluted inner layer sandwiched between two flat outer layers. The size and shape of the flutes can vary, affecting the cardboard’s strength and cushioning properties. Smaller flutes offer more protection for delicate items, while larger flutes provide extra strength for heavier loads.

Lastly, think about the board grade. Cardboard boards come in various grades, often denoted by letters like A, B, C, or E. Grade A is the highest quality, offering exceptional strength and durability, while Grade E is the lightest and more suitable for temporary packaging. The choice of board grade should align with the intended use of your custom boxes, whether it’s for long-term storage, shipping, or a one-time project.

Grade A Cardboard Board

2. Measure Accurately

Precision is Key

Accurate measurements are the foundation of successful custom-size cardboard box crafting. Whether you’re creating a box for shipping, storage, or a specific item, precision is non-negotiable. Even a slight error in measurement can lead to ill-fitting boxes that may not serve their purpose effectively. To ensure precision, use a reliable measuring tool such as a ruler or a measuring tape, and always double-check your measurements before making any cuts or folds.

Avoid Common Measurement Mistakes

Inaccuracies often stem from common measurement mistakes that can easily be avoided. Some of these include measuring from the wrong starting point, not factoring in the thickness of the cardboard material, and neglecting to account for any required overlap in your box design. Be aware of these potential pitfalls and take your time to measure correctly. Remember, it’s better to spend a few extra minutes ensuring accuracy than to redo your work due to measurement errors.

Consistency is the Goal

Consistency in your measurements is vital, especially if you’re creating multiple custom-size cardboard boxes for a specific project. To achieve this, develop a system that ensures all measurements are taken consistently throughout your crafting process. This will result in boxes that not only fit together seamlessly but also give your project a polished and professional appearance.

3. Master the Art of Scoring

Scoring is a fundamental technique in making custom-size cardboard boxes, and it involves creating precise, controlled folds in the cardboard material. Properly scored cardboard ensures that your boxes have clean, sharp edges, making them not only look professional but also function effectively.

Here’s how to master the art of scoring:

  • Choose the Right Scoring Tool: Start by selecting the appropriate scoring tool for your cardboard. You can use a bone folder, a scoring stylus, or even the dull edge of a butter knife. The goal is to create an indentation without cutting through the cardboard.
  • Measure and Mark: Before scoring, accurately measure and mark the cardboard where you intend to make the folds. Use a ruler or a straight edge to ensure your lines are straight and aligned with your design.
  • Apply Even Pressure: When scoring, apply even pressure along the marked lines. Use a straight edge or a ruler to guide your scoring tool for perfectly straight folds. Be careful not to press too hard, as this could inadvertently cut through the cardboard.
  • Score on the Inside: For clean and professional results, score on the side of the cardboard that will be on the inside of the box. This conceals any imperfections and creates a neater appearance on the outer surface.
  • Test Your Folds: After scoring, gently test the folds to ensure they bend easily and cleanly along the marked lines. If necessary, go over the scored lines again to deepen the creases.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Scoring can take some practice to master, so don’t be discouraged if your first attempts are not perfect. With time and practice, you’ll develop the skill to score cardboard accurately and consistently.
  • Score on the Right Side: If you want the scored lines to be visible on the outside of the box for decorative purposes, score on the side of the cardboard that will be on the outside. This can create an attractive textured effect on your boxes.
  • Use Scoring for Complex Shapes: Scoring is especially useful when creating custom-size cardboard boxes with complex shapes or multiple folds. It allows you to control the angles and dimensions of your folds precisely.
Cardboard Boxes

4. Cutting Techniques

Mastering various cutting techniques is essential when crafting custom-size cardboard boxes. Precise cutting ensures that your boxes are accurately shaped, neatly assembled, and visually appealing. Here’s an explanation of cutting techniques for crafting cardboard boxes:

  • Straight Cuts: Straight cuts are the most basic cutting technique. Use a sharp utility knife or scissors along with a straightedge or ruler to make clean, straight cuts. These cuts are typically used for creating the basic shape of the box, such as its sides and flaps. Ensure that you apply steady pressure and follow the guidelines you’ve measured and marked.
  • Angled Cuts: Angled cuts are necessary when you need to create flaps or corners that fit together seamlessly. For instance, when making a box with a hinged lid, you’ll need to cut the corners of the lid at an angle to ensure a snug fit when closed. Use a protractor or a template to achieve precise angles, and make sure the angles on opposite sides match for symmetry.
  • Curved Cuts: Curved cuts add a touch of creativity to your custom cardboard boxes. These cuts are often used for decorative purposes or to create unique box shapes. To make curved cuts, use scissors or a craft knife with a curved blade. Go slowly and follow the curvature you’ve marked on the cardboard, adjusting your cutting angle as needed.
  • Perforations: Sometimes, you may want to create perforations in your cardboard box, allowing for easy tearing or folding along a specific line. Perforations are useful for creating tear-off sections, tabs, or access points in your boxes. To create perforations, use a rotary cutter with a perforation wheel or a craft knife, and score the cardboard lightly along the desired line, ensuring it’s easy to tear or fold when needed.
  • Dotted Lines: Dotted lines can be used to guide folding or cutting. To create them, use a ruler and a sharp object, like a stylus or the back of a utility knife, to make evenly spaced dots along the cardboard. These dots serve as visual guides for folding or cutting along straight lines.
  • Complex Shapes: When working with complex shapes for your custom cardboard boxes, break down the shape into smaller, manageable sections. Cut along straight lines, angles, and curves step by step, ensuring each section aligns correctly as you assemble the box. This approach helps maintain precision in your final product.

5. Adhesive Selection

The choice of adhesive plays a significant role in crafting custom-size cardboard boxes. It determines how well the box holds together, its durability, and even its appearance.

Here’s an explanation of adhesive selection for your cardboard boxes:

  1. Consider the Application: The first step in adhesive selection is to consider the intended application of your custom cardboard box. If you’re crafting boxes for shipping, you’ll need a sturdy and reliable adhesive that can withstand the rigors of transportation. In such cases, heavy-duty options like industrial-grade adhesive tapes or specialized packaging glues are suitable. On the other hand, if you’re making decorative or lightweight boxes for gifts or display, you can opt for more aesthetically pleasing adhesives like double-sided tape or glue sticks.
  2. Durability and Longevity: Another crucial factor to weigh is the durability and longevity of the adhesive. For boxes that are meant to be used multiple times or stored for an extended period, choose adhesives that offer long-term adhesion without drying out or losing their strength. Additionally, consider the environmental conditions the boxes will encounter. If they’ll be exposed to moisture or extreme temperatures, select adhesives with the appropriate resistance to ensure your boxes stay intact.
  3. Ease of Application: The ease of applying the adhesive also matters, especially if you’re working on a large batch of custom cardboard boxes. Adhesives like double-sided tape or adhesive dots are convenient and quick to use. They eliminate the need for drying time and provide a clean finish. However, when using liquid adhesives, such as glue, ensure you have the necessary tools, like brushes or applicators, to apply them evenly without creating messes or uneven surfaces.
  4. Eco-Friendliness: If you’re environmentally conscious, consider eco-friendly adhesive options. Water-based adhesives and tapes made from recyclable materials are sustainable choices that minimize the environmental impact of your cardboard box crafting.
Brand Adhesive for Cardboard Boxes
Use Branded Adhesive

6. Decorate and Customize

Creating custom-size cardboard boxes doesn’t stop at functionality; it’s also an opportunity to infuse your personal style and creativity into the packaging. Decorating and customizing your cardboard boxes not only adds visual appeal but also makes them unique and memorable. Here’s how to go about decorating and customizing your boxes:

  1. Color and Design: Start by selecting the color and design scheme that aligns with your brand, occasion, or personal preference. You can use acrylic paints, markers, or adhesive-backed decorative paper to cover the exterior of the box. Ensure the colors and patterns you choose resonate with the purpose of the box. For example, pastel colors might work well for gift boxes, while bold, vibrant designs could be suitable for product packaging.
  2. Stickers and Labels: Utilize stickers and labels to add flair and information to your custom boxes. These can include your brand logo, product details, or even personalized messages for recipients. Labels can be printed at home or professionally to maintain a polished look.
  3. Stamping and Stenciling: Stamping and stenciling allow you to create intricate and repeatable patterns or images on your cardboard boxes. Craft stores offer a wide variety of stamps and stencils, or you can create custom ones to suit your needs. Experiment with different inks or paints to achieve the desired effect.
  4. Ribbons and Bows: For an elegant and festive touch, consider adding ribbons and bows to your boxes. These can be secured around the box or used as decorative accents. Silk or satin ribbons work well for a sophisticated look, while twine or raffia can create a more rustic feel.
  5. Personalized Tags: Attach personalized tags to your boxes to convey special messages or instructions. These tags can be handwritten or printed, and they add a thoughtful and personalized touch to your packaging.
  6. Embellishments: Explore various embellishments like rhinestones, buttons, or decorative tape to enhance the visual appeal of your custom cardboard boxes. Keep in mind that less can often be more when it comes to embellishments, so use them sparingly for a balanced look.
  7. Window Cutouts: If you want to showcase the contents of your custom boxes, consider adding window cutouts. These can be covered with clear plastic or cellophane to protect the contents while giving recipients a sneak peek of what’s inside.
  8. Theme-Based Decorating: Tailor your decorations to match specific themes or occasions. Whether it’s a holiday, birthday, wedding, or seasonal event, thematic decorations can make your custom boxes feel festive and relevant.
  9. Branding: If you’re using custom boxes for your business, ensure consistent branding. Incorporate your logo, company colors, and contact information to create a professional and recognizable image.

Customizing your cardboard boxes not only adds a personal touch but also serves as an effective branding tool. Whether you’re using them for gifts, product packaging, or organizational purposes, the right decorations and customization can make your boxes stand out and leave a lasting impression. Experiment with different techniques and materials to create the perfect custom look for your boxes.

7. Consider Reinforcements

When crafting custom-size cardboard boxes, it’s essential to consider reinforcements to ensure the structural integrity and durability of your boxes. Reinforcements are additional materials or techniques applied to specific areas of the box to make it sturdier and capable of withstanding various stresses. Here’s how and when to consider reinforcements:

1. Box Corners and Edges: One of the primary areas to reinforce is the corners and edges of the cardboard box. These are vulnerable points that can become weak over time, especially if the box is used for heavy items or experiences frequent handling. You can reinforce corners and edges by applying strips of extra cardboard or using corner protectors. This additional material helps distribute weight evenly and prevents damage or deformation.

2. Heavy Contents: If your custom boxes are intended to carry heavy contents, such as books, electronic equipment, or ceramics, it’s crucial to reinforce the bottom of the box. Reinforce the bottom flaps with additional layers of cardboard or use reinforced packing tape along the seam. This extra support prevents the bottom from sagging or giving way under the weight of the contents.

3. Taping and Gluing: Properly sealing the seams and edges of the box with high-quality packing tape or strong adhesive is a form of reinforcement. Ensure that the tape or glue adheres firmly to prevent the box from coming apart during transit or use. Pay attention to the quality and strength of the adhesive, especially for boxes that will be subject to rough handling or prolonged storage.

4. Inner Support Structures: For delicate or fragile items, consider adding inner support structures. These can include dividers, inserts, or partitions made from cardboard or foam board. These structures help keep items in place and provide cushioning to prevent damage during transit.

5. Strapping or Banding: If your custom cardboard boxes are intended for heavy-duty industrial use or need to withstand extreme conditions, consider strapping or banding techniques. Strapping involves applying strong bands or straps around the box to reinforce it further. This method is common in shipping and storage industries to secure large or heavy items.

6. Palletization: For large quantities of custom boxes, consider palletization as a reinforcement technique. Placing boxes on pallets and securing them with straps or shrink wrap not only reinforces individual boxes but also makes handling and transportation more manageable and secure.

8. Efficient Storage Solutions

Efficiently storing custom-size cardboard boxes is essential for maximizing space and maintaining organization. When not in use, these boxes can take up valuable storage space. To address this, consider flattening the boxes by carefully disassembling them and storing them flat. This not only saves space but also makes it easier to locate and reuse the boxes when needed.

Alternatively, you can nest smaller boxes inside larger ones to minimize the storage footprint. Labeling each box with its contents and dimensions is a smart practice, allowing you to quickly identify the right box for your specific needs without having to open multiple boxes.

Additionally, storing custom boxes in a dry, cool area away from direct sunlight and extreme temperatures helps preserve their quality for future use. Efficient storage solutions not only save space but also contribute to an organized and hassle-free experience when utilizing your custom cardboard boxes.

Custom Cardboard Boxes

9. Eco-Friendly Practices

In today’s environmentally conscious world, adopting eco-friendly practices when crafting custom-size cardboard boxes is not only responsible but also aligns with sustainability goals. Here are some eco-friendly practices to consider:

  • Recycled Materials: Opt for recycled cardboard materials when creating your custom boxes. Using recycled cardboard reduces the demand for new raw materials and minimizes waste. Check for recycled content labels when sourcing your cardboard.
  • Sustainable Sourcing: Choose cardboard from suppliers committed to sustainable forestry practices. Look for certifications like FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) that ensure responsible sourcing and promote forest conservation.
  • Minimal Waste: Plan your box designs carefully to minimize waste during the cutting and shaping process. Efficient use of materials reduces the overall environmental impact.
  • Eco-Friendly Adhesives: Select eco-friendly adhesives that have low or no VOC (volatile organic compounds) emissions. Water-based adhesives are a greener alternative to solvent-based ones.
  • Reuse and Upcycling: Encourage the reuse of custom cardboard boxes whenever possible. They can serve multiple purposes, from storage to packaging. Additionally, consider upcycling boxes by decorating them with creative designs, extending their lifespan.
  • Biodegradable Packaging: If your custom boxes are intended for products with a short shelf life, consider using biodegradable packaging materials. These materials break down naturally and have a lower environmental impact.
  • Eco-Friendly Inks and Dyes: If you decorate or print on your cardboard boxes, use eco-friendly inks and dyes that are non-toxic and safe for the environment.

10. Testing and Quality Control

Testing and quality control are vital steps in ensuring that your custom-size cardboard boxes meet the desired standards of durability and functionality. Before using the boxes for storage, shipping, or any other purpose, it’s crucial to subject them to rigorous testing.

This involves verifying that the boxes can withstand the intended weight, handling, and environmental conditions they will encounter. For example, if the boxes are meant for shipping, simulate the rigors of the shipping process by stacking them, subjecting them to vibrations, and ensuring they can protect their contents effectively.

Quality control measures also encompass inspecting each box for any manufacturing defects, such as weak seams, inadequate adhesion, or uneven cuts. These defects can compromise the box’s structural integrity and must be rectified before the boxes are put into use.


Making custom-size cardboard boxes is a valuable skill that can save you money and provide tailored packaging solutions for your needs. By following these top 10 hacks you’ll be well-equipped to embark on your cardboard box-making journey. Get creative, reduce waste, and ensure your packages stand out with the personalized touch of custom-sized cardboard boxes.

About Josh

I intricately weave stories that unfold across custom-crafted boxes, merging imagination with tangible artistry.

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