Folding Cartons and Set Up Boxes

Folding Carton versus Set Up Boxes..Who Wins? You Do!

Whether you need folding cartons or set up boxes you’ll finish as a winner with Superior.

Folding Cartons
A folding carton is a box made from thin paperboard (.010 pt to .030 pt) that is shipped flat to the customer. When ready to use, it is folded into a box. When folding cartons are customized they are usually printed directly on the paperboard, then die cut and scored. For a higher-end look consider laminating or coating before the die cutting and scoring. The flat shipping results in lower transportation costs and takes up less space when being stored until point of use. In general, folding cartons have faster production speeds and lower unit costs than set up boxes.

The most common example of a folding carton is a cereal box, but these boxes can have just about anything in them. Gift boxes are a lighter weight type of folding carton. Superior can fold and glue many different carton designs, including:

  • Reverse tuck end
  • Straight tuck end
  • Straight tuck end w/hang tag
  • Tuck top snap lock bottom (aka 1-2-3 bottom)
  • Seal end
  • Tuck top auto bottom
  • Sleeves
  • Gable top with auto bottom
  • 4 and 6 corner beers
  • Roll end tray
  • Simplex tray
  • Pillow pack
  • Display box
  • Book style box
  • Dispenser box
  • Edge lock box

And the ability to fold and glue stocks from 8-24 pt board (coated or uncoated), plus E-flute, means that you have a variety of weights to choose from when designing your packaging. Customize your folding carton further with finishing options like foil stamping and embossing, spot UV, aqueous and UV coatings, soft touch film lam, and windowing.

Set Up Boxes
A set up box is made from rigid paperboard (from 40 pt to 100 pt ) that is assembled and shipped to the customer already “set up”. It’s permanently folded and assembled as part of the manufacturing process. Set up boxes differ from folding cartons in several ways:

  • The actual box structure is not printed on - instead a wrap is printed and wrapped onto the base
  • generally cost more than folding cartons due to the customizations and higher quality materials
  • all set up boxes have a base and a lid (folding cartons may or may not have a separate lid)
  • partial telescope lid - goes down more than 1” but not the entire base
  • hinged lid - used for repeated use packaging
  • specialty lids - ask us about how we can further differentiate your set up box project!

There are many options to differentiate your set up box from others. The wrap can be very customized with many finishing options (foil stamping and embossing, spot UV, aqueous and UV coatings, soft touch film lam, windowing, special synthetic wraps). You can also use different types of lids for different effects:

  • Shoebox lid - always 1” deep, regardless of base
  • Telescope lid - cover the entire base
  • All set up boxes have a base and a lid (folding cartons may or may not have a separate lid)

Since they have a higher end look, set up boxes are often used for cosmetics, watches or smaller consumer electronics to add a feeling of high value and quality to the products within. They’re also used for candles, medical supplies, glassware, candy and many other products. Because of their durability, set up boxes are often saved and re-used by end customers. This is a great way to get a name brand out and keep it in front of them.

Whether you need folding cartons, set up boxes, or help deciding which one to use, you can’t lose with Superior. Contact us today by calling 781-303-0022 or email

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