Unlike CD jewel cases, DVD cases include two areas you can customize with inserts that combine information about disc content with stylish graphics and well-chosen typography. The outside of the case includes an art trap that wraps around the front, back and spine. The inside includes a pair of clips under which you can slide another printout that includes notes about your movie or presentation. To take advantage of these two customization areas, choose partially prefabricated or fully do-it-yourself options.

Paper Stock

You can purchase ready-to-print paper stock that accommodates the dimensions of DVD-case labeling areas on sheets (see Resources) that fit through desktop output hardware, including inkjet and laser printers. These sheets work with templates that provide pre-positioned imprinting areas for the covers and spine. Choose your paper so it matches the printing device you use. Stock that suits laser printers may not provide the ink-drying characteristics that inkjet printers need, and ink-friendly surfaces may not work well in the high heat of a laser printer's fuser. The dimensions of these sheets may require that you run them through a manual bypass slot because they may not fit in a printer's enclosed, removable output tray.

Software Tools

Put familiar software to work in producing your DVD-case inserts (see Resources for software and template options). You can set up a Microsoft Word or open-source word processing document, or use a downloadable template provided by the manufacturer of your insert sheets. If you have access to page-layout or illustration software, you can find templates in these programs' file formats, too. If you prefer to create your own document from scratch, allow for an overall art-trap insert width of 10 3/4 inches, including 14mm for the spine, and a height of 7 3/16 inches. You can apply these dimensions to a landscape-mode sheet of A4 or legal-sized paper. A4 measures 11.69 inches wide by 8.27 inches tall in landscape orientation; legal size measures 14 inches wide by 8.5 inches tall. Run a test sheet through your printer to determine which way to orient your paper when you output your final artwork.

Content Options

If your DVD cases include interior clips for additional inserts besides the exterior art trap, you can devote the outside insert to graphics, titles, and promotional copy that talks about your disc content, provides a copyright notice and lists the people involved in your production. The interior insert becomes your track list or disc-menu guide, including a plot synopsis for movies and other credits for any kind of video content. You can obtain the running times and related information from the software you use to assemble and burn your DVD.

Printing Choices

To create an insert that includes full-bleed artwork, you need a piece of paper large enough to accommodate the finished, trimmed size of your insert and an extra printed margin to make the ink or toner look as if it extends to the cutout dimensions. If you use templates that match prefabricated insert stock, you don't need to create markings to indicate cutting lines; your paper should include perforations that accomplish the same objective. If you print on plain paper, create crop marks to indicate where you cut out your finished insert. Page layout software and illustration programs can add crop marks automatically. To achieve the same objective in Microsoft Word or another program that doesn't build crop marks, draw one-quarter-inch-long lines one-eighth inch away from your artwork in both horizontal and vertical orientations. Cut out your finished insert on a paper cutter or with a razor knife on a safe surface.