• Jean-Marc

Packaging made easy

Updated: Mar 4, 2019

After creating hooks for a few years, I decided to up my game and possibly sell in stores and in craft shows. I needed to make my product look professional. I had a few ideas, but knew that it had to follow a few criteria:

  1. Handmade

  2. Recyclable

  3. Easy to customize for new hooks

  4. Able to hang on a typical store hanger

  5. Attachment for screws

This was going to be fun! As a mechanical engineer, I've had experience with creating packaging from scratch, but I've never had to create the product myself. Well, it took some time, but here's how I did it!

Handmade packaging using chipboard
Handmade packaging for my coat hooks

1. Material Selection: Chip Board

The first step is to pick out a material. I had to pick something easily obtainable, can be cut at home, and can be printed on. After visiting a few craft stores, I picked up some chipboard for the first time. Chipboard is pressed paper board, usually made from recycled paper, and comes in different thicknesses. Looking online, I was able to find cost efficient large sheets of 1-1.5 mm thicknesses, readily available from sites such as Enasco and DickBlick.

Chipboard thickness
1.2mm thick chipboard. Thick enough to support the hooks and easy to cut into shape.

2. Design

After knowing the material, I had to start thinking of everything else: shape, text, ink, attachment method, cutters... I spent a few weeks with my wife to try to get the best look possible.

2.1 Layout

I layed out my hooks on the table, and started cutting various sizes of paper to see what would look best. I was trying to fit as many hooks on one cut size to have consistency and reduce cutting time and stock. Rounded corners was the most simple and gave the best appearance. I cut out blocks of text and also fit them on the paper with the hooks to see how a logo and other info would look.

2.2 Adding Text

This step was the most time consuming. Deciding on the text, and then applying the text. The first thing to come to mind when adding text was printing. After some research and getting some quotes back from print houses, it was going to be expensive for small runs. I opted for stamping. I could get 3-4 custom made stamps from Etsy for much less money, and it would afford me quite a lot flexibility. I could do it all at home, and the investment was low enough, that a change would not be too costly.

I used Photoshop and InkScape to make the design files for the stamps. I recommend watching some YouTube tutorials for more photo editing techniques and how to use the Stamp filter.

Creating a handmade stamp from a picture
The stamp filter was used in Photoshop to transform the pictures I had into workable stamps.

After receiving the stamps, it was a matter of creating jigs out of scrap chipboard in order to quickly stamp at the right location. Break out the glue gun!

A fixture to hold packaging sheet while stamping. This allowed lining up the stamp perfectly every time and helped eliminate mistakes. There are three levels for the three different stamps.

2.5 Cutting tools

I used a utility knife to cut the flats. For the rounded corners I bought a corner bunch from AliExpress capable of handling 1.5mm thick stock. I also bought another punch for the hanging tab. Another jig was made to position the tab in the middle of the hook.

3. Attaching the hook

I decided on 2 black twist ties to hold the hook. In most cases, I was able to attach the screws to one of those twist ties on the back of the packaging. To make the holes, I purchased a 1 mm hole punch, which are used in making leather goods. After figuring out where the holes should be, I made another jig to mark hole locations and be able to transfer to a new sheet.

Punching holes in chipboard
A 1mm punch is used to make the holes. Taping the head of the hammer helped reduce noise. A self healing mat is very useful when it comes to cutting and punching.

Overall, I am extremely pleased on the final look. Choosing stamps has allowed me to quickly make alternate sizes for new hooks. Thanks for reading!

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