Types of Cardboards Swibbly

The 6 Types of Cardboard and Everything You Need to Know About Them

Cardboard has become one of the most useful methods of packaging products. From food or candles to car engines, packaging can be tailored for any needs a new company may have to display and deliver their products. 


1.Paperboard / Box Board

This is one of the most common forms of cardboard used for brick and mortar locations. This cardboard is essentially ticker paper that results in a rigid structure, allowing for its utilization in storing products. The downside for paper boards is that it is not rigid enough for most scenarios for shipping products through mailing services. For some applications it can work such as shipping t-shirts through the mail, with a product called “mailers.” 

Folding carton

Folding Carton

Typically folding carton cardboard is used for gift boxes or food packaging. It is called folding carton, because once manufactured it is easily folded into the desired shape. In other words, during transportation of the boxes itself, they can be flattened saving on volume, reducing the cost of shipping, then once ready to pack the products within the box they are simply folded into their final shape. 

2. Corrugated Cardboard

Corrugated Boxes

Corrugated cardboard is actually simply called cardboard, the term cardboard has now become an umbrella term for all other forms of paper based packaging. Corrugated cardboard is composed of 3 layers 

  1. Outside lining/face/wall 
  2. Flute (middle)
  3. Inside lining/face/wall 
Corrugated Boxes Layers

Colors (Oyster vs. Kraft)

The color of cardboard itself can be two different colors; either white (aka: Oysters) or kraft (brown). Some products allow for the inside and outside walls to be both of the same color, while others only have the outside face one of these two colors. Pizza boxes are a great example of only the outside wall being either kraft or oyster colored. This can be really useful while customizing your boxes and using flood colors, click here to learn more. 

Oyster and Kraft Boxes

Thickness (Flute) 

When the flute changes in wavelength it can increase the thickness of the cardboard itself. A large thickness results in more rigidity as well as more padding during the shipping process. 

Corrugated Boxes Flute


You may have noticed that some heavier products that you have ordered online have some really strong cardboard. The extra strength that is required for heavier products, is achieved by adding layers of corrugated cardboard. 

Corrugated Boxes Walls

Strength (ECT) 

The strength of the cardboard itself is another factor to consider when delivering heavier products. As seen previously you can add additional layers of cardboard to support heavier products, but you can also increase the ECT value of the cardboard. 

ECT stands for Edge Crush Test, which is a measure of how much weight the cardboard can support on its side. This industry standard allows to know the stacking ability as well as the optimal weight for the product within the box. A few standard ECT are: 32 ECT, 44ECT, 48ECT. 

Litho Laminated

Litho lamination is a great way of having many colors with very high resolution printed onto your packaging. This process includes printing a sheet of paper with the desired design and then applying it to the cardboard selected; which can be any of these 5 types of cardboards listed within this article. 

3. HoneyComb Cardboard 

Honeycomb cardboard is very similar to corrugated cardboard, in that it is composed of 3 layers. The outer layers remain the same, but the inner is not a honeycomb like structure.

  1. Outside liner 
  2. Honeycomb hexagonal cells 
  3. Inner liner 

This type of cardboard is rigid and more lightweight than corrugated cardboard. Moreover, it can be used as a form of stronger padding as well as insolation for products. 

4. Wax Impregnated cardboard

Wax impregnated boxes allow a water resistant surface for food and other products, such as seafood.  The wax enables a protection to the cardboard from liquids, allowing it to hold melting ice. This feature is typically done with paperboard and corrugated cardboard.

5. Cardboard stock

Cardboard stock is essentially between paper and paperboard, in terms of thickness. It is very flexible and stronger to paper and thus allows it to be used as a stronger alternative to paper in certain applications. Cardboard stock is often used as sheets, postcards, and some soft-cover books.

6. Mat Board 

Mat Board

Mat board is a thicker material to paperboard and cardboard stock. It is mainly used in picture frames, the white border around the picture is actually mat board. A few creative uses are possible in terms of packaging, such as litho laminating it to make the cardboard seem thicker and sturdier. In other words, it will look like an Apple iPhone box. 

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