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Glossary of Terms

This glossary explains common terms used in the world of folding cartons. Understanding these terms will help you communicate effectively with packaging specialists and ensure you get the perfect box for your product.

Box Construction

  • Automatic Bottom Carton (Auto-Bottom): A pre-glued box with a self-forming bottom that pops into place when opened.
  • Double Glued Side Wall: A carton with extra-thick walls formed by gluing two panels together.
  • Full Seal End: A box with flaps that completely overlap and seal both ends.
  • Reverse Tuck End (RTE): A box with tucks on both ends that fold inwards from opposite panels.
  • Roll Side Tray with Lid: A tray-style box with a lid that folds over and tucks into the tray.
  • Seal End Carton: A box with flaps on at least one end that fold inwards and are glued together to seal the opening.
  • Snap Lock Carton: A box with flaps designed to lock into place, sealing the opening securely.
  • Straight Tuck End (STE): A box with tucks on both ends that fold inwards from the same panel.
  • Straight Tuck End with Fold Over Header: A box with STE closures and a header for hanging on displays.
  • Tray Style Carton: A box with a solid bottom and panels that fold up to form the walls.
  • Tuck End Carton: A general term for any box with tucks on one or both ends.

Design & Printing

  • Adhesives: Glues used to bond box components.
  • Aqueous Coating: A water-based finish for a less reflective appearance.
  • Bleed: Printed area that extends beyond the cut line to avoid white edges.
  • CAD Cut: Cutting boxes with a continuous knife or water jet, often used for prototypes.
  • Caliper: The thickness of the paperboard material.
  • CMYK: A four-color printing process using Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black inks to create a vast color range.
  • Color Gamut: The range of colors achievable with a specific printing method (e.g., CMYK).
  • Die: A metal tool used to cut, crease, and shape the paperboard into the desired box form.
  • Die Cut: The process of cutting and creasing the paperboard using a die.
  • Die Lines: Outlines on the design that indicate where the box will be cut and folded.
  • Dimensions: The length, width, depth, and height of the box.
  • Dots Per Inch (DPI): A measure of printing resolution, referring to the number of dots printed in a linear inch. Higher DPI means sharper images.
  • Folding Carton: A box made from a single sheet of paperboard that is cut and folded.
  • Fold Over Header: A printed card folded in half to seal the top of a bag or container.
  • Ganging: Printing multiple designs on one sheet to reduce costs.
  • Ghosting: Unwanted images appearing on printed sheets due to ink residue.
  • Glue Flap: A flap designed to stay connected during die cutting for later gluing to another panel.
  • Glued Sleeve: A carton glued on two opposing ends, leaving the top and bottom open.
  • Offset Printing: A printing method using plates to transfer ink to the paperboard.
  • PMS Colors: A standardized color system used in printing (Pantone Matching System).
  • Printing Plates: The tools used in offset printing to transfer the design onto the paperboard.
  • QR Code: A type of barcode that can store a large amount of information.
  • Scoring: Creases applied to the paperboard during die cutting to facilitate folding.
  • Stripping: Removing excess paperboard scraps left after die cutting.
  • UV Coating: A high-gloss coating applied and cured using ultraviolet light.


  • Recyclable: Materials that can be reprocessed into new products.
  • Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI): An organization promoting responsible forest management for paperboard production.
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