Which Type of Material Should You Use For Action Figure Packaging to Make Your Figurine More Brandable?

Last updated on February 20th, 2024

Your action figure packaging determines your product presentation and directly impacts your branding. From cardboard packaging for action figures to clamshell packaging, there are a variety of action figure packaging styles to choose from. One of the most important aspects of action figure packaging is the packaging material. The two main types of materials commonly used for action figure packaging are plastic and cardboard boxes. But there are many different styles within these two categories. While it might seem simple, choosing the right packaging material can be a difficult task because the success of your action figures depends on it.

So how do you make the right choice? Should you consider plastic packaging? How do you satisfy your concern for the environment? Which material will be best for your action figure? What packaging material will suit your brand? It’s no wonder you’ve found yourself in a fix over how to make action figure packaging! We’re here to guide you. Knowing the different types of materials and their features will help you make an informed choice. But first, a word or two about plastic.

The Hazards of Plastic Packaging

We all love our action figures. They are a physical connection to the characters we love and admire for their qualities. And collecting action figures is a harmless hobby right? Wrong. Think again. A majority of action figures come in plastic packaging which is not so harmless. Picture this for a moment. Sea turtles choking on plastic bags, seabirds strangled by discarded six-pack rings, and fish dying from eating plastic. Not a very pleasant thought but it’s true. More than eight million tons of plastic enter the oceans every year damaging sea life. Animals can get trapped in plastic bags or eat plastic mistaking it for food.

The rise in human population along with a shift toward a consumer society from the 1950s is what drove the increased use of plastic packaging. 400 million tons of plastic is produced annually and 40% of that is single-use plastic which is discarded after first use. The overuse of plastic has created a huge problem of plastic pollution evidenced by the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a large area in the Pacific Ocean filled with floating garbage. The problem with plastic is that it takes a very long time to decompose and during its lifetime it can cause much damage to the environment. It takes up to 400 years for plastic to decompose. The chemicals contained within plastic can be toxic for humans and animals. Some of these can be accumulated in the bodies of animals like fish and transferred to humans when they consume the fish. To know more about What is an Action Figure and How Action Figures are Made.

Types of Plastic Packaging for Action Figures

Plastic and PVC are common materials used for action figure packaging. There are different styles of packaging within plastic packaging. Some action figure boxes are made entirely out of plastic, others use a combination of plastic and cardboard.

Action figure blister packaging

This style of packaging usually has a cardboard back and a plastic blister to store the action figure. An example is this vintage Star Wars action figure packaging from the toy company Kenner.

Action figure clamshell packaging

Clamshell packaging comes with a hinge that allows easy opening and closing, making it easier to keep the action figures in mint condition.

Cardboard Action Figure Boxes

Window boxes for action figures

Window boxes are made with cardboard and have a window in the box that’s covered with plastic making the box window transparent. This is a very common template of packaging for action figures.

Action Figure Boxes

The Shift towards Eco-Friendly Packaging

Public consciousness is evolving around plastic packaging and there is a marked preference for more sustainable and eco-friendly packaging. Today’s customer is more value oriented and the economy is shifting from merely transactional to a more heart-centric consumer approach. The public is realizing the harm done by plastic pollution and wants to choose alternative sustainable options.

In this context, the question for action figure manufacturers is not “What kind of action figure are you making?” The question is what do you stand for while you’re selling action figures of superheroes? Will you be heroic enough to say no to plastic packaging? Will you stand on the right side of history in the fight against plastic pollution?

The international community is also preparing to deal with the plastic pollution crisis. In March of 2022, the United Nations Environment Assembly voted to create a legally binding international agreement to end the menace of plastic. The UN Treaty on Plastic Pollution is expected to be ready by 2024.

How the Toy Giant Hasbro Is Setting a New Standard for Plastic Free Packaging

Businesses must take charge in the fight against harmful plastic packaging. Throughout history, businesses have shaped public perceptions and attitudes. Why not use their power for the global good? The toy company Hasbro Inc. is taking the lead in transitioning towards sustainable action figure packaging.

Hasbro, known for their G.I. Joe, Star Wars, Transformer, and Marvel Legends lines of action figures, announced in 2019 that the company will shift towards plastic free packaging by the end of 2022. Their goal is to remove virtually all plastic from all their toy and action figure packaging. Their packaging included plastic parts like window sheets, blister bubbles, and wrapping. In February 2022 Hasbro revealed the plastic free packaging for their G.I. Joe Classified Series. The new packaging is window-less and the action figures are packed in closed boxes with character artwork on the cover.

Action Figure Boxes

Many collectors were concerned about the collectability of their favorite action figure in plastic free packaging without windows and blister bubbles. Among serious collectors, the packaging is part of the action figure experience. Hasbro stated in July to address these concerns. The company stated that the 6-inch action figures would have windowless closed boxes while the 3.75-inch collectible action figures will continue to have windows. The only difference is that the window sheets will be made with plant-based or recycled plastic.

Following this move, other action figure brands are sure to follow suit with plastic-free packaging for their products. It might sound like a new trend but plastic free packaging used to be common for vintage action figures from the 70s. So in a way, this move is a return to the old, a return to vintage action figure packaging.

Plastic-Free Eco-Friendly Materials for Action Figure Packaging Boxes

As customers are becoming more conscious about the environment, the packing industry is responding by creating eco-friendly and sustainable packaging material that is free of plastic. What is sustainable packaging exactly? Sustainable packaging is made in a way that causes the least amount of harm to the natural environment. Sustainable packaging is made with zero plastic, using responsibly sourced material that is also recyclable. Sustainable packaging options are not only functional, but they also look good.

Once you decide to go on the path of sustainability for your action figure business, there are many different types of eco-friendly packaging materials to choose from. In addition to choosing plastic-free and recycled packaging material, businesses must also reduce material waste and reduce their carbon footprint to be a leader in environmental responsibility.

Let us dive deeper into eco-friendly packaging materials so you can decide which one will be best for your action figures.

Cardboard or Folding Carton Action Figure Boxes

Folding cartons are commonly called cardboard boxes and are also known as paperboard cartons, chipboard, and paper packaging. Folding cartons are one of the most common types of packaging and make for standard packaging for a variety of products. Cereal boxes, milk cartons, and toilet paper rolls are examples of folding cartons.

Cardboard boxes are suitable for action figure packaging and you can easily customize your cardboard box with your brand logo and action figure artwork. These boxes are 100% recyclable and are also cost-effective. Cardboard is easily foldable and therefore it can be made into boxes with a variety of shapes.

Folding cartons are made of thin cardboard and are suitable for lighter objects. So if your action figures are heavy, this might not be the best option for you.

Action Figure Packaging

Bux Board Action Figure Packaging

Bux Board stock is stronger than cardboard or folding cartons and offers the same design and customization options as cardboard. Bux board boxes contain two layers namely liner and medium. Medium is the inner layer with ridges to fold while the outer layer is the liner that is suitable for printing. Together the two layers provide strength and flexibility.

Corrugated Fiberboard Boxes for Action Figures

Corrugated fiberboard boxes are also called cardboard boxes. We know! It’s confusing. Corrugated boxes are widely used for packaging a variety of goods. It’s the box you use to store and pack your stuff when moving.

Corrugated fiberboards are made of three layers; two smooth outer surfaces and a wavy or fluted layer in the middle. This style of construction lends corrugated board strength and durability. Corrugated boxes can hold heavy objects without bending. There are different grades of corrugated boards with varying widths for different strength levels.

If you run an e-commerce store for your action figures, corrugated boxes can be a great choice for you. These can ensure your action figures remain safe during shipping.

Kraft Boxes for Action Figure Packaging

Kraft paper is a thin but sturdy paper material. It is made with a kraft pulping process, different from acidic or mechanical pulping, which ensures that the paper is durable. Kraft papers come in a few different thickness levels. Kraft boxes are made with the thickest kraft paper. While kraft boxes may not be right for your action figure e-commerce store, you can use kraft bags as plastic bag alternatives in your physical store.

Rigid Paperboard Boxes for Action Figures

Rigid packaging is made with the highest quality thick paperboard. Also called set-up boxes, rigid boxes are commonly used for luxury items. Think iPhone box. These are very strong and durable because they cannot be folded. These are suitable for fragile and premium items. Rigid packaging is a bit more complex than other types and requires careful construction. Each side of a rigid box is printed individually and finished with care. This means that this style of packaging is more costly.

If you want to provide your customers with a premium luxury unboxing experience then rigid packaging is the way to go. However, rigid packaging is a bit less environmentally friendly due to the number of steps involved in its construction.


Your action figure packaging shapes your brand identity and impacts your action figure sales. The materials you choose for your packaging can influence your cost and product experience. With the collective consciousness toward eliminating plastic pollution, choosing sustainable and eco-friendly packaging materials is extremely important. A variety of cardboard materials are available for your action figure boxes. Be sure to choose one that aligns with your product, shipping requirements, and budget.

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