Three issues are involved in selecting a bottle — design, capacity, and type of closure that will be used. You might add a fourth choice, glass or plastic, but glass will almost certainly be your choice for a perfume bottle in spite of its greater cost and weight.
Can you make use of a stock bottle or will you require a custom design? There are three considerations — cost, aesthetics, and brand identity. Custom bottles require design services and then, to produce the design, a certain minimum order. Using European sources the minimum cost for a custom bottle might run around $100,000. Using Chinese sources the cost might be somewhat less but there can be communications problems and the risks of a costly misunderstanding.
There are considerable savings from using a stock bottle. You avoid the design and die costs of a custom bottle and the cost of a substantial minimum order. Stock bottles are available in a large variety of sizes and shapes and can generally be ordered by the case which, for perfume bottles, may range from about 100 to 400 bottles, depending on bottle size and packing. You will typically encounter a minimum order size but for a stock bottle it is likely to be in the hundreds rather than tens of thousands or dollars.
Stock bottles can satisfy the aesthetic senses of most smaller fragrance marketers. (After considering the cost of a custom bottle, stock bottles begin to look very good!) If, however, after looking at hundreds of stock bottles and finding nothing to suit your aesthetic tastes, finding an experienced package design professional and working with them to produce a custom bottle may be your best solution — if you have the money.
If you intend to use your bottle as a branding tool, you will almost certainly require a custom design. Otherwise you risk finding that someone else is using the same bottle. And, with your custom design in hand, you'll want to register a design trademark, just in case.
Bottles come in all sizes. How many ounces or milliliters of fragrance do you want to deliver? Smaller bottles — 1 ounce / 30 milliliters or less — tend to be less expensive than larger bottles. On some smaller bottles (non-rectilinear) the shape obscures the smaller volume of contents. In other cases the consumer expects the bottle to have a certain capacity such as 3.7 or 1.7 ounces or 100 milliliters.
As bottle size increases not only does the cost of the bottle generally increase (unless you hit on a particularly popular shape where volume production has driven down the price), a larger bottle also means a greater cost to fill it — more fragrance oil, more alcohol per bottle — plus a greater shipping cost. Glass is heavy. Larger bottles weigh more than smaller bottles. Twice the size means twice the shipping weight.
Type of Closure To Be Used
Your first decision here is, "cap or pump?" Will you simply close the bottle with a cap — a cheap solution — or will you close the bottle with a spray pump, a more expensive solution but one generally favored by consumers.
Bottles without a spray pump
If you decide to use a simple cap to close your bottle rather than a spray pump, your first limitation is that the bottle must have a threaded "finish" (neck) that will allow you to screw on the cap. The thread of the cap you select must match the tread of the bottle to make a proper seal.
Next you confront the issue of whether or not the bottle has a "sprinkler" neck ("finish"). A sprinkler neck is one with a smaller opening at the top, considerably smaller than the neck's diameter, so that the fragrance is "splashed" out of the bottle rather than dumped in a flood.
If you select a threaded neck bottle for a cap and the bottles does not have a sprinkler neck you can use a plastic orifice reducing plug to decrease the opening at the neck of your bottle. The plug must be the correct size to fit into the neck of your bottle and the orifice opening must be an appropriate size to dispense your fragrance.
Using A Fine Mist Spray Pump
If you are filling and closing your bottles yourself you must use a threaded neck bottle and a threaded pump. Threaded pumps are generally available in gold or silver finish but beyond that (with the exception of those developed for plastic bottles) they all look alike.
If you select a bottle that accepts either a crimp-type or a press-on pump, you will find many more choices available in a stock bottle as well as more variety in the looks of the pumps that will be available to you.
There are, however, two issues you'll confront when using crimp or press-on pumps. First, your bottles must be filled and sealed by special machinery. Thus you must take your perfume to a "filling house" (also called a "contract packager") to have your filling and assembly work done. You won't be able to do it yourself.
Second, you must find a cap (overshell) to go over the pump. Sometimes the pump supplier can provide a matching cap. Sometimes you may have to — or you many want to — have a custom cap designed and manufactured for your pump to give your bottle a more stylish look. In this second case getting a proper fit will be very important.
- Cap and Neck Finishes
From SKS Bottle. An excellent page explaining neck size..
- How do I know how to calculate a cap & neck size?
From U.S. Plastic Corp. Good, solid information.
- Neck Know How
From Alpha Packaging.
- How Glass Bottles Are Made
Excellent video first showing production of glass and how bottles are produced from it on a commercial scale.