I'm working on a packaging box and I have a ready template.

I'm not an expert in Illustrator and I can't seem to fill the other boxes with colour.

If anybody knows how I can successfully fill color in, please let me know.

Example of dieline of a packaging project

  • What are the other parts of the package layout made from/with? Is the package layout an editable object or just an image?
    – AndrewH
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 16:29
  • You'll probably have to create new rectangles and fill them, depending on how this document is structured.
    – Manly
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 16:32
  • Welcome Monica! Thanks for posting your question. Unfortunately, GD.SE is not designed to handle issues regarding technical support or basic software education. If you are seeking to learn how to accomplish something within an application, please review the application help files or try an internet search with your question or an internet search for a tutorial. We are confident you will find answers.
    – Vincent
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 16:32
  • The package is fully editable, with layers. I have no trouble filling the main boxes, and editing the other things, but I can`t fill the bottom and top with color.
    – Monica
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 16:33
  • What is the "bottom & top"? are they just strokes? Are the bottom & top objects locked?
    – AndrewH
    Commented Apr 21, 2015 at 16:35

2 Answers 2


You're doing it right by using rectangles instead of using the dieline to fill the shapes.

Don't use the shape of the dieline and fill it. Add rectangles and your fills separately from the dieline.

It's better to keep the dieline ON TOP, on another layer of your filled colors because:

  1. Your need to add the bleed and that bleed has to be in 45 degree angle in some parts (maybe). Right now you have no bleed on your dieline and it's wrong.
  2. There's areas of your box where you shouldn't have fill because there will be glue added there
  3. You don't want to print the dieline by accident; this one should be in a spot color and set to overprint trapping

This is how it should look like when you're done. I used some other to make it more visible. The corners sharing a bleed should be at 45 degree.

Example dieline

Don't put white areas between bleed areas; fill everything with the same color to avoid "stamping" on press (for example, the bottom part is all filled with the same color, the bleed isn't limited to the edges of the dieline)

And where you know there will be glue, you should leave 0.375" to 0.625" of white area there; the glue will stick better this way!

I also suggest you read about rich blacks:

What kind of black should I use when designing for CMYK print?

And bleed:

How can I determine how much bleed to use?

And dieline/diecut:

Creating in PS a bleed for a die cut sticker

Cutout line settings

  • "for example, the bottom part is all filled with the same color, the bleed isn't limited to the edges of the dieline" ..could you explain that a bit more?
    – Cai
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 6:08
  • @CaiMorris The printer will usually add color in the spaces outside the dieline even if you don't. That is of course if these flaps have colors on them :) Ideally, when there's masses of ink, it's better to not leave big white spaces that will be cut-out anyway; this way the color on the presses will be more consistent/equal and it's easier for the operators. It's even worse when there's no texture or pattern on the design or if it's only one color or pantone @ 100% density. On a rich cmyk, it's not a big deal. It can give a similar effect as when you paint one coat on a wall with a roller.
    – go-junta
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 7:24
  • Have you got any references about this? It's not that I don't believe you! ;) I've just never heard of this, printers have never asked me to do this & I can't find anything about it. Also if that's the case wouldn't it be a problem if in your design there was large areas of color with white areas cut out?
    – Cai
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 9:22
  • @CaiMorris The reference is ME as a real prepress specialist who has worked in many high quality commercial printers, including international projects. Printers don't ask these things to designers as much as they rarely (if ever) ask for trapping because the real trapping (for example) depends on the press and the choice of press to use for a project can be a last minute choice. I doubt there's any reference on the perfect Hamada 2-colors trapping or Mitsubishi 6-colors so I don't think there's any reference either on how to impose a box on a 60" sheet.
    – go-junta
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 9:32
  • Yes that can be an issue if there's big white areas, but prepress will impose the project on the plates in the smartest way possible to avoid that stamping. I'm not saying it's always an issue, I'm suggesting the best way to do it if it can be done; on a small box in cmyk it won't be a big deal because there's "many coats" that hide that effect but on big areas in 1-color with no texture this can happen. Not that the "mortals" can always see it but high budget designers who work for big corporations & printers do.. and ideally want to avoid these things. Consider this as exclusive information!
    – go-junta
    Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 9:38

Either they are grouped and need to be ungrouped, or they are merged with Pathfinder and need to "expand" them, or they are compound paths that have to be released. If they are just stroked lines, you may need to draw a new box and fill it in their place. Tricky, but those are some solutions.

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