How are Cardboard Boxes Made?

A cardboard box has a functional purpose, and it’s easy to forget where its originated from. All you see is a box, a functional piece item you will use to carry things, such as your precious products, advertise your brand, display your logo, carry your contact details and of course, protect any fragile items.

Your cardboard box is made up of recycled or virgin paper

Your cardboard box came from a tree and it’s easy to forget this. Wood is such a sustainable natural product that can be recycled and used over and over again.

Your box will start off as a flute of recycled paper and it will be held between two liners. Again, these liners will be made up of layers of recycled paper, or other older cardboard box materials. The paper or cardboard isn’t always recycled, it might be virgin paper, but it has the potential to be recycled.

The outer layer of a box will be made from Kraft paper and this comes from softwood trees for a smooth finish. In Europe, most cardboard boxes are made from trees which have come from sustainable forests, which means that for every tree cut down, there are more planted in its place.

Virgin paper comes from tree pulp, but how does this process occur?

As you can imagine, it’s a long process with wood chips which are pulped clean so they are fit for purpose. The trees will have been cut down to create logs which will then have gone through debarking and chipping through a machine. These chips are then pulped either mechanically or chemically.


The wavy pieces of cardboard which is sandwiched between the liners of your box goes through a process of its own. This fluting is what keeps your box protected and gives it added strength. A corrugated roller machine is fed rolls of paper and the process goes back many centuries.


After the paper has done its bit through the special corrugated roller machine they must be stuck together to create a box. Hot steam will have been sprayed on the paper while it was travelling through the machine and it will also have had glue placed on one side. Two liners will be held by the machine on to the board and the cardboard cut on each side with a saw so it’s straight. From there it will be cut several more times, depending on how big this particular box will be. There is a guide to follow from FEFCO, The European Federation of Corrugated Board Manufacturers and this is standard throughout Europe.

Kimberley Watson Packaging - for the best in cardboard boxes

We hope you enjoyed our guide on how cardboard boxes are made. It can be a devilishly hard process to explain, but fascinating nonetheless. If you have any questions on what we’ve discussed today or any other questions regarding cardboard packaging for your business products or services, then please get in touch.