Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What information do I need to submit a quote?

A: No information or know-how is needed to request a quote. Just leave your name and a good way to reach you and someone from our team will be in touch to walk you through the process.
Q: What is the minimum quantity for a custom order?

A: Typically, National Carton targets customers who are looking to order over 25,000 cartons. It’s not that we don’t want your business if you want less! The expense involved in creating the cutting die and printing plates can make runs of smaller quantities cost prohibitive for the buyer. We do make exceptions on occasion and run smaller quantities if the carton is large or we are producing test samples for a larger run. Request a quote and we will tell you what we think.

Q: Do you sell corrugated boxes?

A: We do not sell corrugated boxes, but we do have the ability to create a fully printed folding carton out of a E and F Flute. E and F flute is a thinner corrugated material. National Carton prints the top sheet and that gets laminated, with flutes, to a back liner. The fluted sheets are then die-cut to produce the carton.

Q: What if I don’t have any idea how to design a carton?

A: No worries. We don’t expect you to be a graphic artist. National Carton employs its own art staff. As long as you have digital files of artwork, we are willing to help transfer the images to the folding carton die line. We won’t manufacture any cartons until a sample carton and artwork are approved.

Q: What is the lead time from art approval to production completion?

A: A typical job could take between 4-8 weeks to complete depending on the size of the order. There are many steps involved; from the ordering of paperboard, creating the die, sheeting the material, printing the cartons, die-cutting, and gluing. Once we have your information we will be able to better approximate the turn around time.

Q: How are the folding cartons shipped?

A: You dictate your preference as to how you want the cartons shipped. It is dependent on the size of the order as if you will need a truck. Quotes typically do not include the cost of a delivery, but the shipping cost may be requested to be added to the cost of the cartons. Smaller orders can ship UPS. The cartons are placed in a corrugated case. Each carton is flat when packed. The number of cartons in a case can vary depending on size of the carton when folding. A request can be made as to how you would like the carton packed. For larger orders those cases are then stacked onto a 48” x 40” pallets.

Q: How do you measure a folding carton?

A: Please visit our How to Measure a Folding Carton for a quick overview on the proper technique and order of each dimension.

Q: Can I request a sample to make sure the carton is right?

A: National Carton has the ability to create non-printed samples to your specifications to ensure that the carton is the correct size and style before an order is made.  We will also send the artwork on a die-line for your approval.

Q: How many colors can you print?

A: We currently can print up to 7-colors or 6-colors plus a coating. With 4-color process you can print the entire spectrum of colors with crisp quality images and fine text. In the event you need more colors we can run cartons through the printing press multiple times.

Q: Can you print on the inside of the carton?

A: Yes! We run the carton through the press twice. The first pass prints on the inside and then again to print on the outside.

Q: Can you print text?

A: Text and pictures of all sizes are crisp and clear. We can send you a printed example of a carton to show the full range of abilities.

Q: Can I order the same carton with multiple versions of artwork?

A: This is normal during the printing process. We refer to the different artwork as copy changes. A change in the printing requires new printing plates to be created.

Q: What kind of Coatings do you offer?

A: National Carton has the ability to print aqueous, varnish, UV , and other specialty coatings.

Q: What is the difference between Aqueous and Varnish coatings?

A: Aqueous is a water based, fast drying, protective sealant. It has a higher gloss and better protective qualities over petroleum based varnish. Both coatings can be applied in a gloss or matte finish.

Q: How many different folding carton styles can National Carton produce?

A: There are thousands of different carton styles and we have the ability to produce many of them. Our design engineers can special design a carton to fit your product. See the Folding Carton Styles page for the most common styles.

Q: What kind of paperboard mailers do you carry in stock and/or produce?

A: We currently carry various sizes of white and kraft rigid paperboard mailers along with a white self-seal mailer. We can create custom printed mailers in both styles. We do not carry expandable, gusseted, or bubble wrap mailers.

Q: What is and do you sell Set-Up Boxes?

A: A Set-Up box is created out of paperboard but folded into a box-like shape then wrapped with a printed material to keep its form. A folding carton is made from paperboard, but with glue flaps. A folding carton folds flat until it is pushed open for use. We do not currently sell set up boxes.

Q: Do you sell pads or paperboard dividers?

A: We currently don't sell stock pads or dividers. We have the ability to run an order of E and F-flute pads, but typically the quantities aren't large enough to make this cost effective for the customer. We do make a number of paperboard dividers for customers who are already custom ordering from National Carton.

Q: What is a tuck top auto-bottom carton?

A: See our Folding Carton Styles page for a visual example.

Q: What is a reverse tuck carton?

A: See our Folding Carton Styles page for a visual example. We do not carry a straight tuck or french tuck box in inventory, but we have the ability to produce those styles through a custom order.

Q: Is the paperboard stock you choose important?

A: Yes. Paperboard materials have different characteristics, offer unique advantages, and are priced differently. They also come in varying thicknesses. Visit the Common Paperboard Material page to learn more.

Q: Can the folding cartons be recycled?

A: Yes. All Paperboard is recyclable and many of the current paperboard is made from recycled material. To learn more visit the Sustainability page.

Q: What is and how do you measure the caliper of paperboard?

A: The caliper of the board is a measurement of the board thickness in 1/1000th of an inch. The caliper is measured by a micrometer.

Q: What is the caliper range of paperboard you can print and convert?

A: The range is between .014 and .036 calipers. Exceptions can be made for heavier or lighter board weights.

Q: What is a folding carton window?

A: A folding carton window is a shape that has been die-cut and stripped away from the carton, and typically allows a consumer to see the contents of the carton. See Folding Carton Styles for an example.

Q: What is folding carton window film?

A: Window film is a clear polyester or polypropylene material that is used to create a viewable space in the carton without jeopardizing contamination from outside sources while also protecting from theft. The window is glued to the inside of the carton.

Q: What does the abbreviation /M mean?

A: The nomenclature “/M” means the price per one thousand cartons. Folding Carton prices are displayed in this method.

Q: What happens if the cartons are defective?

A: Defective cartons can be returned for a credit or a refund. In the event that the entire order is defective, the whole run can be rejected and replaced.

Q: What is 4-Color Process?

A: 4-color process is a printing technique that uses pixilation to develop picture like images. The colors used are Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, and Black (CMYK).  With these four colors the eye can be tricked into seeing all colors.

Q: What is offset printing?

A: Offset printing is the process of transferring an image from a printing plate to a “blanket” that hits the material being printed.

Q: What is die cutting?

A: Die-cutting is the process of stamping material with a steal rule affixed to a board. In this case, folding cartons are stamped to create blanks.

Q: What is a die-line?

A: A die-line is a two dimensional technical drawing that indicates the boundaries of the carton, the various scores, and other design aspect. View our simple example of a Reverse Tuck carton die-line.

Q: Can I get one of the stock boxes listed on the site printed with my graphics?

A: Yes.

Q: What are your standard payment terms?

A: Credit terms are 1 % Net 30 Days.

Didn't find the question you were looking for?

We are happy to answer any questions that were missed. E-mail us at or talk to a customer service representative Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. EST, by calling 1-800-800-6221 Ext. 1.

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