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Corrugated Box Printing

If you’re wondering how to print on corrugated boxes, you’re likely in need of either printing for packaging or shipping. This will shape which process is going to be best. Your budget, needs and even the type of boxes you use will also determine which method of printing is right for you.

Fortunately, there have been terrific innovations over the past few years in corrugated box printing. These allow for brighter colors, new effects and even printing on plastic and cardboard boxes. 

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Printing on Corrugated Boxes: What You Need to Know

There are two basic types of corrugated box printing process options: pre-printing and direct printing. With direct printing, you’re using methods such as digital printing to print directly on the surface of the box. With pre-printing, you’re printing onto a paper or other material and then attaching the printed material to your box.

Now, let’s take a closer look at all your options for how to print on corrugated boxes so that you can create the packaging or shipping boxes you need. There are two main types of pre-printing: 

  • Printing on linerboard: In this cost-effective method, you print on linerboard and then glue it to the box. You get a high-quality look, but linerboard comes in large rolls, so this is best for high-volume needs.
  • Lith-labeling: With this method, you use a lithographic printing press to print photo graphics and then attach the label to a combined board. This is often used on consumer products, like packaging for printers. It is ideal for high-quality images with crisp lines.

There are also three main types of direct printing: 

  • Flexography: Also known as flexo, this method prints basic colors on smooth and rough boxes directly. Polymer print plates are developed with different colors and attached to big cylinders, which then pass over your box, printing your images in layers. With more modern machines, this method can even create photo-quality images, though it’s best for simpler designs. It’s also cost effective and fast. 
  • Offset lithography: Also known as litho, this method can produce exterior embellishments, including labels, embossing, spot glass, foil stamping and more. 
  • Digital printing: With no setup required, you can print directly from a digital file to your box or label. Digital printing can handle high-volume and low-volume printing needs. While most methods rely on plates, digital printing does not, which can make this option more cost-effective and gives you more choices for colors. This printing method is even flexible enough to create different boxes for different customers, making it ideal for customized packaging. 

How Does the Corrugated Box Printing Process Work?

If you’re printing on corrugated boxes, you will need to follow this process: 

  1. Select the right ink and artwork for your box.
  2. Access a printer that can handle corrugated material or the label of your choice and set your printer to the right setting for your material. 
  3. Using the printer’s instructions, load your box or label into the printer.
  4. Print your image and either unfold your box or cut and paste the label as needed. 


What Corrugated Box Printing Process Is Right for You?

There are times when different types of printing processes may be right for you. When trying to decide, you might want to consider the following: 

  • Your turnaround times: If you don’t have time to wait, digital printing can be your solution because there’s no need to create plates. 
  • Your volume: If you have just a few boxes you need to have printed, digital printing can be the most economical. For high-volume jobs, flexographic printing can help you print thousands or even tens of thousands of boxes fast.
  • Quality needs: If you need a simple shipping box with a few colors and a logo, flexographic printing will work. If you need photo-quality packaging, lithography or digital may be the right choice. 

Whether you have plastic or cardboard boxes and even their size can also play a role in which printing method might be best for you. Fortunately, you don’t have to guess. Magnum Inks & Coatings offers inks and coatings for everything from simple shipping boxes to eye-catching packaging. 

Magnum Inks & Coatings also offers SimMottled Opaque White Coating. If you’re using flexo for printing, this material will create a brighter, cleaner look for your most demanding images.

Count on Magnum Inks & Coatings

If your company needs to print on corrugated cardboard or plastic boxes, learn more about corrugated printing inks and coatings from Magnum Inks & Coatings. Our expert team can help you choose the right solutions for your next packaging project, keeping your unique needs in mind. You can reach our team by calling us at 877-460-8406, or you can contact us online today.

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