Plastic Ingenuity

Trifold Packaging


Trifolds are a valid option when a package needs to stand at 90 degrees. Trifolds also have the ability to hang on a peg, however, they do not offer as clean of a frame as a clamshell.

Design Considerations For Trifold Packaging

It is advantageous to get the center of gravity as low as possible. Balance is the key element of a trifold.

This is the package style of choice when the package needs to stand.

The location of the product in the package is important and affects the stability of the package. The lower the product, the more stable the package. The fold of the trifold can be altered so the product can be displayed full front, full back, or anywhere in between.

There are two types of snap closures that can be used with a trifold. A perimeter snap, similar to a clamshell can be used, however, this does not allow the product to extend into the foot of the trifold. The most common method is snap buttons which are strategically placed to hold the package together using as few as possible.

A trifold package also gives a customer a convenient space to package items in the foot area. This allows for items to be stored, but not necessarily displayed.

Thermoforming Considerations For Trifold Packaging

Because the stand up feature is built into the package, this makes the package much larger, which may result in a production run on larger thermoformers.

As is the case with clamshells, a trifold can accommodate parts with more girth.

Since trifolds involve two formed halves constituting a single package, the depth of draw is typically only half of the depth of the product, which allows for a stronger package with better material distribution.

Trifold packages are generally made out of clear material such as PVC or PET. These materials allow for a clear viewing window for the displayed product, but also give the packager the option to radio frequency or ultrasonically weld the two halves of the package together, to discourage pilfering. This option is mandatory for many retailers.

Advantages and Disadvantages


  • Versatility: Tri-folds stand up straight (90 degrees) and can be hung on pegs.
  • The package can be smaller than the product it holds. In the case of an axe, for example, the head of the axe would be enclosed in the tri-fold while the handle would hang out the bottom.


  • The biggest disadvantage would be the price. Trifolds typically cost more than similar packages because of their increased size which uses more material and requires a bigger machine for production.

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