Cardboard dominates as the most popular packing material. Most shipping boxes are constructed of brown, sturdy, corrugated material. However, much less talked of is cardboard’s cousin – chipboard. 

Cardboard and chipboard are made from similar materials yet fill different needs in the packing industry. Thinner, more flexible chipboard can be found on retail shelves, while hollow, corrugated cardboard usually ends up as shipping boxes. Chipboard can be made from recycled materials and has other uses outside of packagings, such as scrapbooking, books, and even flooring.

Whether or not chipboard is a familiar product to you, it is a valuable packing material with a variety of applications. If you’re looking for material that can be printed on directly, offers protection and support without taking up much space, and is eco-friendly, chipboard may be the packaging material for you. 

Read on to learn about chipboard and how it is used in packaging. 

What is Chipboard? 

Before we talk about how you can use chipboard for packaging, it’s important to understand what it is. Chipboard, also called paperboard, is a lightweight, cardboard-like material that can be used for packaging in a variety of industries. It also has uses other than packaging, such as flooring, furniture, and scrapbooking.

Chipboard is made from wood waste, such as chips and sawdust. A few steps are required to transform these scraps into usable packaging material. First, these wood pieces are shredded into a uniform mixture. This is then dried and layered out. A hot wood press then presses the layers together, creating the chipboard. 

Chipboard is very flexible while still offering stability and protection to items packaged inside of it. Because of this, it can be cut and folded into a variety of shapes and sizes. Chipboard can be made in a variety of densities and thicknesses. Most chipboard is thinner than cardboard since it lacks the hollow spaces created by corrugation. 

Chipboard is widely used in consumer product packaging. Examples of this include packaging food, pharmaceuticals, beauty products, and other household items. Most of the packaging you see in retail displays is chipboard. Cereal boxes, lightbulb boxes, and the backs of notebooks are all made of chipboard. 

Chipboard vs Cardboard 

While chipboard and cardboard may sound similar, they look and are used differently. Both have a use in packing but are ideal for different circumstances. 

The more popular material used for packaging containers is corrugated cardboard. Corrugated cardboard is made up of multiple layers loosely joined together. A thin layer of recycled paper, called a flute, is folded into a triangular pattern and sandwiched between two outer layers. This supportive middle layer allows the cardboard to withstand heavyweights. 

Chipboard, on the other hand, is a single, dense layer of recycled wood. Because chipboard lacks the holes that cardboard has, it is thinner. It comes in a variety of densities since it is just a single layer of material. Despite this, it can still be made into a variety of strengths and sizes of packaging. 

Additionally, chipboard has some retail applications. You’ll most likely find chipboard in the form of packaging on retail shelves. 

Cardboard has retail and industrial applications and is usually used for shipping boxes due to its strength and rigidity without extra weight. You can print on chipboard but cardboard is better for shipping, printing, and branding. 

And because custom mailers are fashioned from cardboard and can be branded, more companies choose it to ship their products. They’re finding that customers prefer to receive their undamaged products in a pretty cardboard box that also feels safe and sturdy.

Both chipboard and cardboard can be recycled, making them both sustainable options. Chipboard, however, can be composted as well. 

So, Should You Use Chipboard?

While both cardboard and chipboard are useful packaging materials, there are certain circumstances where the use of chipboard would be preferred. Factors that make chipboard a preferable material include sustainability, design, and size. 

A major draw of chipboard is that it is a sustainable choice. Made up of waste wood such as raw wood chips and sawdust, it repurposes material that you would have otherwise discarded. No fresh wood or non-biodegradable plastic is used, protecting the environment. As mentioned earlier, chipboard can also be composted.

Chipboard works well for branded products. It is ideal for design and customization since its surface can be printed on. This allows you to include artwork, branding elements, logos, testimonials, or any other branding materials without the addition of secondary labels needed. 

Since chipboard is more compact, it takes up less space for shipping. If you are packaging smaller items or doing retail packaging, using chipboard can save you time, money, and space. Chipboard still provides stability and protection, so you don’t have to worry about your item’s safety. 

However, as you’ll find out in the next section, chipboard does not work as well for shipping as corrugated cardboard, so you will most likely not find shipping boxes made out of chipboard. 

Uses for Chipboard in Packaging 

Chipboard is commonly found in retail packaging. Its flexible nature allows it to be cut and folded to the different sizes and thicknesses of boxes you can find on retail shelves. Since its surface can be printed on, it works for branded products. 

Here are some uses for chipboard in retail packaging: 

  • Jewelry packaging – Since jewelry is so lightweight and small in size, packaging it in cardboard would be overkill. This is where chipboard has the advantage. Thin and able to be shaped into small yet protective boxes, chipboard can be used very effectively for retail packaging for jewelry. 
  • Food packaging – Chipboard is used for packaging food for many of the same reasons it is used for jewelry. The thin layer ensures the product doesn’t take up too much room on the shelves while still offering ample protection. It is important that the product does not break, leak, or get contaminated. Chipboard’s dense layer of protection ensures this does not happen. 
  • Apparel boxes – Since clothes are not fragile, there is no need to package them in a thick, hefty cardboard box. This is where chipboard comes in. Offering thin, lightweight packaging that a logo can be printed on, chipboard is ideal for presenting clothing on retail shelves. 
  • Gift boxes – Gift boxes particularly benefit from chipboard’s ability to be customized and printed on. Add holiday colors, special artwork, or a logo to fit any special occasion. The chipboard’s trim, sleek appearance is more sophisticated than corrugated cardboard. 

Using Chipboard for Your Packaging 

Chipboard is one possible solution to your retail packaging needs. It’s thin, flexible, and can be printed on. Chipboard also looks sleek on shelves without sacrificing protection. While made out of similar materials, its versatility comes close to that of corrugated cardboard.

But take a look at your packaging needs, and see if chipboard is the material for you. Because if you’re looking for material that can be printed on directly, offers protection and support without taking up much space, and is eco-friendly, cardboard may actually be the packaging material for you. 

Visit Box Genie for your branded cardboard shipping needs today.



  1. How a Cardboard Box is Made | The Manufacturer 
  2. Chipboard | Britannica 
  3. How to Recycle Cardboard | Earth911

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