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Design Tutorials

Custom Packaging with Digital Die Cut Boxes

In the era of digital printing, it is great to be able to add your own custom design to packaging. Customization with graphics and sizing make this a great outer layer for unique products.

As an example, we’ll create a die-cut box for a bar of soap, using our laser die-cutting service.

Size and File Information

First, we must determine the size of the soap. The bar of soap for this example is 2.5″ x 3.5″ x 1″. That means that the packaging should be slightly larger so that it is guaranteed to fit the box. The final size of the box will be 2.75″ x 3.75″ x 1.25″. I used Adobe Illustrator to create the dieline. Here is some more valuable information that covers die cutting printing services.

Material Information

The material needs to be durable to account for the fact that these boxes will be shipped and handled by retail associates. A Semigloss Card 14pt works well because it is durable and will hold up if boxes are stacked on top of one another.

Step One: Determining the Style and Size

This is one of the most important steps. I want this to be a 2.75″ x 3.75″ x 1.25″ box that opens from the side to ensure the product arrives safely to its destination. These will be stacked on shelves so this format will work well. To accomplish this design, we have to plan accordingly.Let’s put our 3D design to work (it may take a little trial and error). I find making a mockup out of paper first can be extremely helpful. For this project, we have to account for the top, bottom, sides and flap.

Mockups are valuable because they allow you to interact with the concept and make improvements before Custom Packaging with Digital Laser Die Cuttingthe final product is created.


Step Two: Creating the Template

This was traced in Adobe from a rough concept that I had created. The pen tool was a huge help and it took a few times of making sure that sizing was correct, and flaps were in the correct place.

I also put arrows on what direction was up. This way it was a lot easier to know which direction the artwork should go.

Packaging Sides for Laser Die Cutting

Step Three: Determining What is Cut and What is Folded

Different colors help the customer service/prepress professionals at Smartpress determine what types of finishing options are intended on the dielines. The example is a combination of diecutting and scoring. These will be folded, so the scoring makes this task easier. Plus, having predetermined scoring lines in the exact place for a perfect fold is extremely beneficial.

Packaging Concept











Here are the colors that should be used:

As you can see, the outside is the blue color which is the normal dieline. There is a red color that maps out where the crease will be, this is the scoring. It helps with the folding of the packaging on both the sides and flaps. One thing to keep in mind is that crease lines are not recommended to go over printed areas, as they will remove ink.

Now that we covered the soap box and what steps it takes to create a file, remember to create a PDF before submitting your file. There are program-base instructions in the file prep section of Smartpress.


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