Digital Marketing

Short Run CD Printing Project Packaging Considerations

When you begin to look at the packaging requirements for your project, you’ll discover that there are a wide variety of different types of CD packaging available for a wide range of purposes. Your options range from very simple and inexpensive packaging, such as plastic or paper wallets; to expensive and premium packaging types such as jakeboxes and custom printed metal tins.

Again, the project budget will dictate the type of packaging you use, but you will need to consider the intended end use of the packaged CD. Also, you will need to decide whether or not you will use a professional service to pack your CDs and this depends on how many CDs you expect to pack as well as the type of packaging. For example, packing 500 CDs into plastic cases can be done by hand in a couple of hours, but packing 500 CDs into jewellery, inserting the necessary paper parts, and then wrapping each unit in plastic wrap would take days if you tried to do it manually. hand. . Most short run CD printing companies will have automated CD packaging facilities that can do this type of packaging job very quickly.

The next section of this guide will help you decide the best method of packaging your discs for the particular requirements of your short-run CD printing project:

Plastic or paper wallets

As mentioned, these are the cheapest option available and offer little protection to the drive. They are obviously very light and thin, which means they are most often used when a disc is going to be included in some type of print media, such as a magazine or brochure. They can be attached to a page within the holder using glue dots to prevent the disc and packaging from falling off, but protecting the page from damage when removed. They are also useful if the CDs are to be given away at an exhibition or conference due to their low cost.

card wallets

Card holders are a popular CD packaging option due to their versatility. They are stronger than a plastic or paper wallet and offer better protection for the drive. The thicker the cardstock used to make them, the better the protection offered. They can be digitally printed and gloss or matte laminated to give a truly premium feel to the packaging.

Most CD card wallet vendors will offer a range of variants that can hold one or multiple discs. These variants are made using different templates; some hold the disk in a horizontal “pocket” type slot and some hold the disk or disks between two layers of cardboard, the disks being inserted through the open end of the packaging.

Their thin, lightweight characteristics make them ideal for mailing CDs, and very often if you order a CD online, you’ll receive it in this type of packaging. A wallet of cards can also be used when the disc is to be included with some type of printed media, especially when the inclusion of instructions for use of the CD is required and when the indication or promotion of the contents is a requirement of the project.

For musicians selling audio CDs at a merchandise stand at a concert, CD card wallets are perfect as a large number of records won’t take up too much space in the tour van, but a well designed wallet and good quality still means buying. fans are getting a premium product.

Again, while they’re more expensive than plastic or paper wallets, they’re also great for giving away CDs at shows if your project’s budget allows.


CD jewel cases are the standard type of packaging most commonly associated with audio CDs purchased from a street music store. They are made of a clear polycarbonate plastic and are roughly square in shape. They offer great protection for the disc and can accommodate an informational booklet. This is especially useful for audio CDs where the artist wants to include lyrics and acknowledgments, and also for software discs where instructions for using the software are required. The standard slipcase is designed to hold a booklet with up to 16 printed panels, which is equivalent to 4 double-sided printed sheets, folded and stapled along the spine.

CD jewel cases are a great presentation method for CDs, but they’re not particularly good for mailing discs. This is mainly due to their larger bulk compared to a card wallet, but also because they are prone to breaking under heavy impact, particularly at the hinge points between the front and back of the case. They would need to be well padded before being mailed, thereby reducing postage costs.

If your project has encountered an additional storage requirement and needs to be spread across multiple CDs, then jewel cases are available that will accommodate up to 6 CDs. A 2-disc case will have a swing-out disc tray that can hold a disc on either side and will be no bulkier than a standard CD case. Cases that hold more than 2 discs will have a thicker spine as they need to hold more than 1 CD tray inside. Conveniently, the paper parts still tend to have the same dimensions as a standard box.

Slim versions of the CD case are also available, some of which do not require a printed rear CD tray card, should the project budget not reach a full-size case or a slimmer case is required for posting A disc. However, keep in mind that slim cases tend to be less robust than standard cases.

DVD boxes

This is the type of case you would normally associate with a DVD movie or PC/console game. They typically measure around 190mm x 135mm with a 14mm spine width and are usually seen in either a black or clear form, although they are available in a wide range of colours. The DVD style case has the added advantage of being able to accommodate a larger information booklet than a CD case. They are made from polypropylene plastic, which is more flexible and less susceptible to impact damage than polycarbonate jewelry box.

DVD boxes have a plastic liner attached to the outside that allows them to have a printed wrapper inserted on the outside of the box. A case with a 14mm spine can hold up to 6 discs and there are also slim versions available that can hold 1-4 discs with a 7mm spine. There are many variants of this type of sleeve that are commonly available and will suit most short run CD printing projects, whether you need a single disc sleeve with a large amount of printed material to accompany it, several discs or a combination of discs. and printed material.

Clamshell or Trigger Cases

These CD cases are made of a polypropylene plastic material that is flexible and very robust. They offer great protection for CDs and discs can be packaged very quickly.

The trigger case has an eject trigger in the upper left corner opposite the open end of the case where the CD is inserted. This mechanism has 2 functions. First, it holds the CD inside the case, and when pressed, the trigger mechanism pushes the CD out of the case enough that you can grasp it with two fingers and pull it out of the case. Trigger mechanisms are often brightly colored, and cases are often clear plastic so that the printed surface of the CD can be seen through the case.

The folding case is hinged along one edge and the middle has a molded stud that has 2 functions. The stud holds the CD securely in place and the 2 case halves snap over it. Clamshell cases are available in a range of translucent colours, but are most commonly seen molded in clear plastic to allow the CD print to show through the case.

These types of cases are great for mailing CDs as they offer reliable protection for the disc and are thin and lightweight. Folding cases, in particular, can be had relatively cheaply and are therefore also great for distributing CDs at an industry trade show or exhibition.

Premium Packaging Types – Jakeboxes and Metal Tins

A jakebox is a type of card CD packaging that contains an ingenious mechanism to secure the CD in place, and when the box is opened, the CD is presented to the user held in a cardboard claw. It is a very impressive type of packaging that can be completely digitally printed to give the end user a real WOW factor. The downside is that they are expensive and are usually only used for special or limited edition releases where the user needs to get something extra for their money. Metal tins can also be printed and shaped into any desired shape, whether it be a simple round tin, a DVD case-sized tin, or a shape of your choice related to the CD content. Again, this is an expensive type of packaging as a mold must be made beforehand to produce the cans and the material itself is more expensive than cardboard or plastic.


Consider the intended end use of your short-run CD printing project before selecting a type of packaging, and do some research online to estimate costs. Talk to vendors for quotes, and weigh the cost of your time and effort if you intend to produce the packaging in-house, versus the cost of a third-party vendor.

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