I'm designing a box and I was wondering how I could place my graphics and text on it. I was curious about the printing process involved in getting the design on the box I built. I googled "how to build a box", "how to design a box". It just shows me how to build boxes using paper and how to create the design in Illustrator/Indesign. It doesn't speak about the printing process involved. Is it something you can do at home ( using your own printer)? I'm using bristol paper to make the box.
Firstly, I would check the printer specifications on recommended paper weight (if they are listed).I have printed on heavy Bristol without any problems, however my printer is likely not the same as yours. Run a test print but turn down the amount of ink your printer uses if its an inkjet (I'm not sure how laser would work out). This will help reduce some bleeding of the ink, especially on heavy Bristol. Keep in mind colors may be less saturated as a result (blacks and grays were fine). You may need to trim your Bristol to the correct dimensions prior to feeding it too. With my printer, I have a few different feeding trays, I use the tray the has the least amount of rolling or bending (heavy pounded stock is not as flexible).
As far as generating your graphics on it. You should find a box template, such as these. Create a dummy on regular paper first. The dummy will assist you in orientating your graphics when you are rendering them on the computer, complex box cuts can be confusing and this will help reduce mistakes. After you create the graphics on the computer, ensure you remove any guidelines (black template lines) that are running through the visible parts of the box. You may also want to add some trim/crop marks to the outsides that show you where to crease, fold and cut. Run another test (make the actual box with the graphics) on regular paper to ensure it is actually print ready.Then print, cut and fold your box on the Bristol!
Things to keep in mind. Let the print fully dry if using the Bristol. Score your folds! Your printer may leave the final printed paper slightly curved, applying equal and opposite bending (before cutting it out) usually straightens this out. If you try to correct the curve after it's cut out, it may distort your box. You may need to apply weight over a given period to "flatten" it back out too.
Assuming the box is cardboard, flexography is the general process used in manufacturing. As for doing it at home, it all depends on your printer. Some printers can print to cardboard but most of the time, the quality is not great. Also, it can bleed very easily on normal cardboard. Your best bet is to use sticker paper if it's just a one off project. A quick Google search can find you some pretty cheap. Cut accurately, this can look pretty professional.