Packaging Design Part 1


Creating the packaging for my Psycho minimates was both fun and challenging. I documented the process with photos, with the intention of showing you the project from start to finish. However, my 2 year old son seems to have “misplaced” the flash drive that those photos were stored on, so I will be documenting a different packaging project instead. I have a new set of 4 marvel customs in the works, and I thought it would be fun to create packaging for this set. I won’t reveal all of the characters in the set right now, but as you will see in the pictures below, Sharon Carter is included. She isn’t completely finished, but she is far enough along to work for this demonstration.

The first step is to get your customs into their plastic tray. I don’t have the capabilities to mold and cast my own tray, so I pick an existing tray that will mostly fit my set of customs. For the Psycho set it was the Avengers minimates set that fit the best. For my current project, it will be the Secret Invasion set. Focus on the shape of the minimate slot, and not the accessory slots. If you have too many accessory slots in the tray (like the Avengers set had a ton!) you can cover them up with the packaging.


As you can see in the first image above, Sharon’s hair was slightly too big for her spot in the tray. It had the correct width, but her hair had too much depth. To solve this, I cut a slit in the packaging on each side that matched the curve of her hair. You can see this in the second image. The packaging will open at these slits, and allow some of her hair volume to slip through. But the slits are narrow enough that her head is still secure. The third image shows her set in the tray with the plastic cover on top.


Once you get all of your minimates into their trays, get a piece of plain paper and cut it to match the size of the packaging tray. They trace out the shape of where each figure sits. The secret invasion set already has holes to see the figure’s faces, but if you have a traced image of where their entire body sits (along with any accessories) it will make the package design easier.


The next step is to scan all sides of the packaging with a scanner, including the overlay that you made. I recommend using a resolution of 300dpi, and keeping your design at this same resolution. This will guarantee a clear, high quality print in the end. I have scans of the package shapes of the Avengers and Secret Invasion sets that I can make available if anyone needs.


When I was working on the Psycho package, I colored in my layout shapes after I scanned them in, to make it easier to see where I needed to leave openings. You can see this shape layer on the right in the image above.

Part 2 of this tutorial will be coming in a few weeks, once I finish more of this current project. In Part 2 I will cover how to assemble the finished product.

If you would also be interested in a tutorial on the design of the package graphics in Photoshop, post here so I can gauge the interest.

Good luck with all of your projects!

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3 Responses

  1. Jeff says:

    Holy cow Luke!

    That’s fantastic!! Love your site, just have one question:

    Where do you get all your minimates to customize? Other than the occassional Toys’r’us 2-pk, I can’t seem to find them anywhere. I’m working on a shadow box with the ones I was able to find at the local comic shop.

    Amazing work!

    • Luke314pi says:

      I check ebay regularly for loose minimates. That seems to be the cheapest and easiest way to find custom fodder. I try to aim for $1.50 per minimate as a good base price.

  2. Captain Minimate says:

    That was awesome!
    I really like your packaging of the Psycho minimates, but I also can’t wait to see your Marvel Minimates package 🙂

    Is it a S.H.I.E.L.D box set? That would be dang sweet 😀