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Design Tutorials

How to Create a Pillow Box

Pillow boxes are a great way to package wedding favors, products, customer thank you gifts, special treats or any number of other small items. Our digital die cutting capabilities make Smartpress.com the go-to provider for pillow boxes.

How to Create a Pillow BoxYou may be wondering how pillow boxes are created. A pillow box has curved scores and cutting, so it isn’t your run-of-the-mill square box.

Pillow boxes are unique in that they require some round lines, die cutting and scoring. Here are a few pointers to ensure your file setup is correct.

Step One: Determine Sizing

Whether you use an existing dieline or create your own, it’s important to follow these instructions:

First, determine the size of the pillow box. Keep in mind there are two “sides” so it will be at least double the size of the finished product.

For this tutorial, I’m using a 4″ x 6″ design, so I’ve set up a 9″ x 13″ document to account for the die cutting and folded edges. It’s good practice to have an outer area for easier cutting when the pillow box is in production. There’s no need to put a bleed in the document. If needed, the bleed can go around your artwork.

How to Create a Pillow BoxStep Two: Die Cutting Setup Considerations

This is the fun part — well one of them — choosing the paper.  Now’s a good time to check out the paper stocks available. For durability purposes, it’s good to choose a thicker stock.

Step Three: Designing for the Pillow Box

It can be helpful to think through what is going to be cut out and what will be perforated before designing any artwork. You’ll need to establish what the template will look like. This is the foundation of the design, so it’s a significant consideration.

Here’s an example of the pillow box template:

The outline color is Cyan. It’s essential to indicate what will be die cut and what will be perforated. Perforation will make the pillow box easy to assemble.

Notice the rounded shapes, these are the top and bottom. They’ll be folded in so they close. It’s important to be aware of where the pillow box will fold. If any information in the design needs to stay together, make sure it all fits on one side.

There are special instructions to follow when indicating the areas for die cutting. Following these instructions will ensure your box turns out just as you’d expect. Adobe InDesign was used for this project setup, so there are special instructions to follow when indicating the areas for die cutting.

Here are some instructions that are easy to follow:

  • How to Create a Pillow BoxCreate a new layer for the laser cutting in your design. A descriptive name like “Laser Cut” is helpful.
  • Once this layer is in place, select the lines that represent where the laser cutting will be. These lines should be a set color, so create a new color swatch. Go to Window > Color > Swatches. The Swatch Palette will appear.
  • Select “New Swatch.”
  • Change the Swatch Name to match the desired line type. For die cutting, it should be “Dieline.”
  • Use the Color Type drop-down menu to select “Spot.”
  • Make sure the color mode for this layer is “RGB” and adjust the values to match the desired line type (see Digital Laser Cutting RGB Guide below). For a dieline, the values are R:0, G:255, B:255.

How to Create a Pillow BoxAs you can see from the chart, the blue outlines are where the cutting will take place.

Now, we want to indicate where the perforation is. Repeat the same steps that you did for the dieline and use the 0:0:255 values.

This packaging solution is as unique as it is functional. Combining die cutting and perforation, it’s easy to create a pillow box.


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