Screen Print for Custom Box: Essential Techniques and Tips

Screen printing is a popular technique for customizing paper boxes, which can add a personal touch and elevate your packaging. As a versatile and cost-effective method, it allows you to create unique designs on various materials, including paper boxes, making it an ideal choice for businesses and individuals alike. With screen printing, you can achieve detailed, colorful, and durable designs that will make your custom paper box stand out from the rest.

To get started with screen printing, you'll first need to create a design or choose an existing one. The design can range from simple logos and text to intricate patterns. Remember that your choice of colors and design elements can greatly impact the overall look and feel of your custom paper box. Once your design is finalized, it's time to prepare the screen for printing.

Preparation is key when it comes to achieving the best results in screen printing. This process consists of coating the screen with emulsion, exposing your design onto the screen, and washing out the areas that will transfer ink onto your paper box. Proper understanding and execution of these steps will ultimately contribute to the quality of print on your custom paper box. With a bit of practice and patience, you'll soon master the art of screen printing and create stunning designs to showcase on your paper boxes.

Glossy Spot UV Screen Printing Paper Box

Glossy Spot UV Screen Printing Paper Box

Understanding Screen Printing

Basic Process

Screen printing is a versatile printing method that you can use to create custom paper boxes with unique designs. First, a stencil of your desired design is created by blocking out areas of a mesh screen. Ink is then pushed through the unblocked areas of the mesh onto the paper box, transferring the design.

  1. Prepare the screen: Stretch the mesh material over a frame, and coat it with a light-sensitive emulsion.
  2. Expose the screen: Place your design on the screen and expose it to ultraviolet light. The emulsion hardens where light hits it, creating the stencil.
  3. Wash out the screen: Rinse the screen with water, washing away the soft, unexposed emulsion to reveal the design.
  4. Apply ink: Spread ink evenly across the screen using a squeegee, pressing the ink through the open mesh areas.
  5. Transfer the design: Lift the screen, revealing the ink transfer to the paper box. Allow it to dry before stacking or folding the boxes.

Types of Inks

For screen printing on custom paper boxes, you can choose from several types of inks:

  1. Water-based inks: These inks are eco-friendly and produce a soft feel on the paper box. They are ideal for intricate designs and light-colored backgrounds, but may require longer drying times.
  2. Plastisol inks: These inks are PVC-based and provide a vibrant, durable print. They work well with a variety of box colors and are easier to work with due to their fast drying capabilities.
  3. Discharge inks: These inks deactivate the paper box's original color, allowing you to print lighter colors on dark backgrounds. They produce a softer feel than plastisol inks but may be limited in color options.

When choosing ink, consider factors like durability, color vibrancy, environmental impact, and box material. This will help you make an informed decision about the best ink for your custom paper box screen printing project.

Screen Print Corrugated Box

Screen Print Corrugated Box

Materials for Custom Paper Box

When creating custom paper boxes using screen printing, it's important to select the right materials and ensure proper sizing and dimensions. This section will guide you through these crucial steps.

Choosing the Right Cardboard

To create a sturdy and high-quality custom packaging paper box, be sure to choose suitable cardboard. Here are some popular options:

  1. Corrugated cardboard: This material provides excellent strength and durability, making it ideal for shipping and packaging needs.
  2. Pulp cardboard: For a more eco-friendly option, this type of cardboard offers strength and durability while being produced using post-consumer waste.
Consider the purpose of your custom paper box when making your cardboard selection. Evaluate factors such as:
  1. The weight and fragility of the items to be contained
  2. Budget constraints
  3. Environmental impact
  4. The desired aesthetics of the final product

Sizing and Dimensions

It's essential to accurately measure your custom paper box to ensure a proper fit for its intended purpose. Follow these steps:

  1. Determine the interior dimensions: Measure the length, width, and height of the item(s) you plan to store in the box. Add additional allowances for padding or other protective materials as needed.
  2. Decide on the box style: Some common styles include tuck top, roll end tuck front, and reverse tuck. Each style has its unique characteristics and assembly requirements, so choose the one that best suits your needs.

By carefully selecting the appropriate materials and accurately determining the sizing and dimensions, you'll create a custom paper box that serves its purpose effectively while showcasing your screen printing design.

Screen Print Kraft Paper Box

Screen Print Kraft Paper Box

Screen Printing Techniques

Creating Unique Designs

When starting with screen printing for custom paper boxes, the first thing to focus on is creating unique designs. Consider what your client wants and brainstorm ideas that will make their boxes stand out.
Sketch out your ideas before transferring them to a digital format. Use design software like Adobe Illustrator or similar programs to create clean, high-resolution images. This will ensure a crisp, professional appearance on the final product. Remember to keep your designs simple, as intricate details may not be easily reproduced during the screen printing process.

Ensuring Color Accuracy

Achieving accurate colors in screen printing can be challenging, but it's essential for custom paper box design. To ensure color accuracy, follow these steps:

  1. Calibrate your monitor: This means adjusting the brightness, contrast, and color settings to display accurate colors. Use a color calibration tool or follow online guides to help you achieve the best results.
  2. Choose the right color model: Most screen printing uses the Pantone Matching System (PMS) for color consistency. When designing your custom paper box, be sure to select the correct Pantone colors to match your client's branding.
  3. Prepare your artwork: Convert your digital design to the appropriate color model for screen printing. Double-check that all colors are set to Pantone values, and make sure there are no transparencies or overlapping colors in the artwork.
  4. Test print: Before proceeding with the final print run, have a test print made on the same material as your custom paper boxes. This will give you a chance to assess color and design accuracy, and make any necessary adjustments.

By following these guidelines, you can produce high-quality, visually appealing custom paper boxes with accurate screen-printed designs for your clients. Remember to always strive for unique designs and color accuracy to ensure the best results in every project.

embossed logo paper box

Embossed Logo Paper Box

Finishing Options

When it comes to customizing your paper box with screen printing, there are various finishing options to choose from. This section highlights three popular methods: Lamination, Embossing, and Debossing.


Lamination involves applying a thin film on the surface of your paper box, providing both protection and a polished appearance. There are two main types of lamination:
  1. Gloss Lamination: This type gives your paper box a shiny, reflective finish that catches the eye and enhances colorful designs.
  2. Matte Lamination: This option offers a more subdued, elegant look with a smooth texture that is fingerprint-resistant.
By choosing the appropriate lamination type, you can add durability to your custom paper box while projecting your desired aesthetic.


Embossing is a technique that raises the desired design or text from the surface of the paper, creating a tactile, three-dimensional effect. To achieve this effect on your custom paper box, follow these steps:

  1. Select the area of your design you want to emboss
  2. Create a die that matches the chosen design element
  3. Use the die to press against the paper surface, resulting in a raised effect
By adding an embossed element, you can enhance the appeal and perceived value of your custom paper box.


Debossing is similar to embossing but reverses the effect by creating an indentation or recess in the paper surface. This finishing option adds depth and a sophisticated touch to your custom paper box. To achieve a debossed effect:

  1. Choose the design element or text you want to deboss
  2. Create a die that matches the chosen element
  3. Apply the die to the paper surface, pressing the design inwards

Both embossing and debossing convey a sense of craftsmanship and attention to detail that can dramatically elevate the appearance of your custom paper box.

screen printing plate

Screen Printing Plate

Cost Considerations

Pricing Factors

When considering screen printing for custom paper boxes, keep in mind that several factors can affect the overall cost. Here are some key elements to consider:

  1. Printing method: The type of printing, such as screen printing or digital printing, can impact the price.
  2. Order quantity: Typically, the larger the order, the lower the per-unit cost.
  3. Ink colors: The number of ink colors used in the design can influence the price.
  4. Box size: The dimensions of the paper box itself may affect the printing cost.
  5. Material type: The choice of paper material, such as kraft or cardstock, can also impact the overall cost.

Budgeting Tips

As you plan for your custom paper box project, consider these budgeting tips to help you save money:

  1. Opt for fewer ink colors: Limiting the number of colors used in your design can help you save overall.
  2. Choose a simple design: Complex designs can require more print time and materials, so keep your design simple and straightforward.
  3. Order in bulk: Placing a larger order can often lead to lower per-unit costs.
  4. Explore different printing methods: If cost is a concern, compare quotes for different printing methods and consider which may be best suited to your project.
By understanding pricing factors and applying budgeting tips, you can successfully plan for your screen printing project on custom paper boxes.

Pantone Ink Screen Printing Packaging Box

Pantone Ink Screen Printing Packaging Box

UNICO Printing is a company in China to make custom packaging paper boxes with screen print method. If you need any packaging with screen print, welcome to contact us, and our sales team will reply you within 24 hours.


Contact: Lisa Lee, Andy Chou

Phone: 0086-13811205110

Tel: 0574-83026853


Add: Liangzhu Village, Gaoqiao Town, Haishu District, Ningbo 315016, Zhejiang, China