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What is it about kraft boxes that makes you look twice? Kraft boxes are “naked” boxes made from unbleached pulp. In most cases, they are made from recycled kraft paper. This gives them a very wholesome, holistic look that somehow makes whatever is waiting inside take on a homespun vibe. The benefit on the sender side is that kraft boxes are extremely easy to design, make and ship. Take a look at why switching to kraft boxes for packaging can be easy when it’s handled smartly.

An Overview of Kraft Boxes: Many Styles With a Common Thread

The biggest thing to know about kraft boxes is that they don’t put you in a box in terms of what you can fit in this type of packaging. Kraft boxes come in a wide variety of different shapes and sizes. Here’s a look:

  • Bakery packaging.
  • Shoe and apparel packaging.
  • Gift packaging.
  • Mailer packaging.
  • Food-grade takeaway packaging.
  • Cylindrical packaging.

Kraft paper starts out like most of the other wood-based paper options on the market. When producing kraft paper, a softwood base with long, elastic fibers that create increased strength are used. During the production process, the wood is converted into pulp by removing lignin to increase the strength of the final product. Lastly, the finished pulp is then put through a paper machine. The last step involves applying a coating to make the kraft packaging resistant to bacteria and moisture.

The Eco-Friendly Benefits of Kraft Paper

Kraft boxes are extremely eco-friendly when compared to options like plastic because they are made from wood pulp that is very easily recycled. Additionally, the fact that dyes are not used to decorate kraft boxes makes them extremely eco-friendly when compared to other options. Industrial dyes are responsible for polluting the world’s oceans and streams to harm humans, marine life and plant life. Investing time into sourcing eco-friendly packaging can be a profitable, brand-building step due to the fact that purpose-driven buyers will pay premiums for sustainable, ethical goods.

Kraft Boxes Can Be as Durable as You Need Them to Be

Kraft boxes can be engineered for different levels of durability. In addition to the natural strength that is created during the standard production process, extra fortification can be added as needed for custom kraft boxes. In many cases, custom inserts can add extra strength and structure for heavy or delicate items that require more support.

Kraft Boxes Are Better for Printing

Kraft boxes are extremely compatible with graphics printing. That’s great news for any brands looking to move toward using product packaging as a marketing asset. The design of a kraft box actually supports more printing options than many other packaging options out there. In fact, graphics capabilities that include screen printing, digital printing and lithography are all accepted very nicely by the surface of a kraft box. This allows brands to get very creative and personalized when it comes to placing product logos, vibrant artwork, company details and promotional details right on their packaging without the need to add things like stickers, decals and tags. Eliminating the need for those types of add-on features can ultimately decrease both budget and production time for packaging. What’s more, brands are able to make bold statements while reducing the environmental impact of their products because there’s no need to produce and print extra materials.

When printing colors on kraft paper, there are many options for actually tweaking complex colors to appear exactly as you’d like them to appear. If your logo contains lighter colors that are sometimes hard to recreate during the printing process, it’s possible to add a white layer over the area where the graphics will be placed to enrich the color. One of the little touches that people really appreciate about kraft boxes is that the texture of the beautiful kraft paper remains visible through the color that has been applied to the surface. This produces a very natural, textured look that creates a real artisan, handmade touch when compared to lettering and logos that look like they have been “slapped on” with a machine.

Kraft Boxes Are Easy to Customize

For brands looking to create custom packaging that tells a brand story using colors and textures, the kraft box is a great option. Ultimately, the simplicity of this type of packaging allows manufacturers to make adjustments regarding size, shape, opening style and more. Here’s a look at some potential points of customization that brands can consider as they weigh the pros and cons of using kraft packaging to house their products:

  • A straight-tuck kraft box has flaps on each side. This is ideal for lighter, non-fragile products.
  • A lock-bottom kraft box has an opening flap on one end balanced by a base that locks together. This is ideal for heavier, fragile products because you’re getting added strength, structure and durability. There is also less opportunity for the product to “slide” out from the bottom.
  • A crash-bottom kraft box has a glued and locked base. This is ideal for heavy items that need extra support.
  • A kraft holster box has a full opening on one end that goes from side the side. With this design, the top portion is removed to allow for a preview of the product inside. However, the top exposure is balanced by a protective bottom with a tight tuck or lock.
  • A tuck-top kraft box has an opening on the top with a top closing panel and flap that tuck into the top of the box. This is often used for foods and desserts.
  • A kraft sleeve is a box that does not have any ends or tucking mechanisms. Instead, it has openings at both ends. The purpose of the sleeve is to simply slide over the objects it’s designed to cover. In a real-world scenario, this style might be used to place labeling over a pillow or blanket.
  • A two-piece kraft box features a bottom tray with lid. This is an ultra-durable option that locks the lid over the tray to form a very tight fit. Strength is added by the way the lid walls create a double layer over the tray walls for added heft and resistance.

Ultimately, this list only represents a small sampling of what can really be done with kraft boxes. While these are the basic design parameters, brands have a lot of room for customizing how these boxes sit, lock and function to accommodate for their unique products. It’s possible to make a kraft box in essentially any shape. That includes squares, diamonds, circles, rectangles and egg-shaped designs! The beauty of the kraft box is that it can also be used to hold products that are already contained within some type of packaging that needs reinforcing. For instance, a kraft holster can be ideal for providing a stable way for a product to stand on a shelf even though it is already encased in a paper or plastic package.

Kraft Boxes Are Affordable

The big draw of the kraft box is that it’s the “budget” option that creates a very high-end, exclusive feel for the end customer. Many brands choose kraft boxes over more expensive packaging options solely because they are trying to achieve a high-end, artisan branding message. However, the reality is that kraft packaging is often much cheaper than other options. When purchasing kraft boxes in bulk, the price per unit helps many brands to stay well below their packaging budgets. What’s more, the fact that graphics printing and embossments can be done directly on the packaging eliminates the need for brands to purchase expensive stickers, labels, tags or decals. It’s simply a neater, more centralized process for sourcing and producing custom packaging.

Simplicity That Gets Noticed: Why the Kraft Box Works in Many Different Markets

Kraft boxes should not be overlooked by brands searching for sustainable, creative packaging options. This is an option that allows brands to use a “blank canvas” to craft memorable packaging that sparks real brand connection with buyers. Something that brands are increasingly realizing is that kraft boxes can be used as part of a larger packaging roster by accompanying or supporting other packaging styles.