Metallic Paper Boxes: A Colorful & Easier Alternative to Foil Stamping

July 22, 2020
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Your packaging both presents and represents your product, so it's significant.

Believe it or not, there are many people who keep a shiny, gold-foiled whiskey bottle box on display just because it looks so stylish, even if it’s been empty for years. Or an elegant, foiled chocolate box that makes them feel good when they look at it.

When you package your products in the right packaging, you’re setting your brand up for success. If your box looks too good to be discarded, you’re winning your customers for good.

Today we’re going over metallic paper boxes and how you can use this unique printing technique to get your boxes and products to the top.

Let’s start!

What is Metallic Paper?

    Metallic Paper or Metallic Paperboard is a white paperboard laminated with a silver film. The silver film makes any color printed on it have a foil stamping look!      

No Custom Dies Needed

Printing on metallic paper allows us to recreate a box with metallic elements in it without the use of a press. It opens the door for multiple metallic colors and capabilities.

Traditionally, foil stamping is made by pressing a custom die into the foil using heat. The heat and pressure make the foil adhere to the paper. Foil stamping has high setup costs and limits the amount of detail you can put into the box, because the heat & pressure make the foil expand and fine details may show slight differences from each run as the paper might shift under the press.

However, with metallic paper substrate, we can achieve detailed metallic areas without the use of heat or pressure, because it uses the regular printing process. Read our blog post about types of folding carton as well!

What if You Don’t Want a Full Metallic Box?

A common misunderstanding is that because it's printed on a metallic paper sheet, the entire box will be metallic.

While you can have a full metallic box, you’re not limited to that.

To mask the areas where you don’t want a metallic effect, white ink is printed on top, like a primer before painting. After that, you can print any color on the white ink layer and design your box as you like.

Custom metallic paper boxes

Can You Have Multiple Metallic Colors
on the Same Box?

Absolutely! In fact, this is what makes printing on metallic paper so amazing: you can get the same look as traditional foil stamping but with the possibility of having multiple colors at the same time.

Foil stamping would require a different die for each color. Dies need to be made custom, so you can imagine that a box with multiple foil colors would cost a lot.

When we print on metallic paper, the shine of the silver substrate with show through all the colors printed on top of it, giving all of them a shimmery look (unless you want to cover the metallic with white ink, as mentioned).

Multiple colors on metallic paper

This e-liquid box combines multiple colors on metallic paper + white areas that mask it. Using colors this way, the box looks very dynamic and attractive, and it stands out.

Metallic Paper vs. Foil Stamping
What’s the Difference?

What’s the difference between metallic paperboard and hot foil stamping? We’ve made a list to help you visualize the pros and cons and make an informed decision.

Metallic Paper

Pre-treated white paper with a silver substrate.


  • Unlimited color options on the same box
  • No extra setup fees for custom dies
  • Fine details look sharp
  • Use white ink to hide the metallic where desired


  • Limited coating options
  • Higher price per piece

Foil Stamping

The process of applying foil with a hot stamp and a custom die.


  • Metallic "leaf" look
  • Shiny on matte box
  • High-end look
  • The pressure leaves a small imprint that adds a 3d effect


  • Custom stamp fee (one-time cost/design)
  • Higher cost for multiple colors
  • Limited foil colors available without paying an extra fee
  • Cannot hold extremely fine details

Check out more embellishments:

What Products Look Good with Metallic Paper Printing?

In case you were worried it doesn’t fit your product, let me tell you that metallic paper works with anything! Any product, any box can look fantastic with printing on metallic paper. And you don’t have do overdo it, a few metallic strokes here and there (that can also be colored, as I’ve mentioned) can take any box to the next level.

After you’ve created your brand identity and a message that resonates with your customers, turn your attention to your packaging. The materials you use for your boxes speak volumes too.

Watch the video below where I explain how metallic paper works and how it looks like on different boxes.      

Your Metallic Paper Boxes, Just A Click Away

Printing on metallic paperboard is very desired look and you can play a lot with it. It’s a very permissive paper and it opens the door for so many design possibilities.

We’re here to help you expand the limits of your packaging. Add metallic paper to your project, and combine it with fast turnaround times and fair pricing. The result is going to be a high-end packaging that helps your sales increase and your customers keep coming back. Get in touch for your quote today!

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