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UV Finishes

To Coat … Or Not To Coat

that is the question… (that’s not exactly what Shakespeare said, but it’s close). Coating is where you apply the finishing touches to your custom packaging. UV refers to the curing process for a class of gloss/semi-gloss coatings applied to a custom folding carton. A clear liquid coating is applied to the printed surface, and the coating is immediately dried/cured as it passes under an ultra violet light (hence UV).

The result is a high gloss or matte type finish on the carton, depending on what you choose for a finishing coat. One of the nice things about UV is its versatility in how you can incorporate it into your packaging design. While box manufacturers in general simply flood coat (the entire carton is coated with UV), the Box Co-op can create unique effects by spot coating certain areas or design elements on the printed box. Think about spot coating a product title, company name, printed logo, or other images on the package to make those images stand out.


A creative and clever way of using spot UV on printed boxes is creating the illusion of touch and feel. By adding spot UV to create feel and texture you add a new dimension to your box printing. Spot coated areas have a slightly raised surface, and, depending on the type of coating, a different texture than the printed surface. The result is an image that can be felt as well as seen. Imagine the pebbly feel of an orange peel, or the coarseness of wet sand. You see the image; you also expect to feel the texture of the orange, or sand, when you run your finger over it. Printed boxes that use spot UV in this way make for very effective product packaging. UV coating come in a variety of finishes.

Some of the more popular finishes for printed box packaging include:

  • Gloss: The classic finish seen on most product packaging. Clear, very glossy and slick to the touch, this finish will give your product a high end, luxurious look and feel. And you can even add tints, like sepia or rose, to create a special effect.

  • Matte: A natural looking, very flat finish – no gloss at all. Different abrasives can be added to give the box a tactile feel that consumers aren’t used to feeling. Think about a very fine grit sand paper – it feels nice to the touch.

  • Soft Touch: This is a matte style coating with very fine abrasives added. Similar to matte coating, when you run your finger over the finish, the texture feels, well,…soft!

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