How to Use Shrink Wrap | Shrink Wrapping Process | Mr. Shrinkwrap (2023)

Each shrink wrap project begins with a stated purpose such as:

  • - Covering for outdoor storage or general protection from the elements
  • - Covering for protection during shipment
  • - Covering to contain construction environments

The purpose will generally help to determine the general method of industrial shrink wrapping to be used, these are:

  • - Cover – top and sides, bottom left exposed
  • - Encapsulation – object covered on all sides, 360 degrees

The method of the shrink wrap application can be used to determine the total square footage of coverage required as well as useful dimensions to help determine the best size of shrink film to use. Many wide width and long length films offer the ability to be cover large objects by length or width giving the installation preferences or limitations on the project. Optimizing the shrink wrap dimensions can reduce waste and speed up the shrink wrapping process overall. Drawings and photos of the object to be wrapped are ideal to assist in determining the optimal film size and wrapping procedure.Here are a number of considerations to keep in mind when learning how to use shrink wrap.

Choosing the right wrap – Shrink film material should be chosen based on both the size of the object, how long it will be outdoors if at all, and conditions during the period of time that the material is expected to perform.For assistance in deciding on what size shrink wrapplease visit this page.

Preliminary Concerns – Generally, the preparation stage of the shrink wrap project takes the most time and has the greatest impact on the outcome and performance of the application. This stage includes:

Padding or Softening – the process of placing a padding material on surfaces that are likely to puncture, chafe or abrade the outer layer of shrink wrap. In some cases shrink film can be used in single or multiple layers to achieve a padded effect; an entire sheet laid over the object prior to the final shrink film layer is referred to as a bomb-sheet.

Structure for Shaping – To provide a shrink cover with the ability to drain water or sustain wind load, structure, or backing created with strap, lumber, steel or other materials can be used. Shrink films tend to conform to the highest points of a given object and structure can be used to create the ideal final shape for the purpose of the project.

Pulling the Shrink Wrap – This can seem like a simple step however, once the wrap is off the roll, retrieving the wrap off of the object or turning it a different way can be tricky. Be ever aware of the wind in leading up to this step and certainly consider wind speed and direction when deciding which way to pull the shrink film onto your object, if at all. If time allows, sometimes coming back when the wind is less severe can be the best choice to complete your project in the most effective way. Most, if not all prep work including padding should be completed and strapping should be set up and in place prior to pulling the shrink film. The best way to predict a wind gust on a shrink wrapping project tends to be opening a box of shrink wrap.

Securing the shrink wrap to the object – Shrink wrap installers have the following options to secure shrink wrap to an object:

Strapping – woven or high tension strap is placed around the perimeter of the object where the shrink film can be folded around the strap and heat fused to itself creating a continuous loop for the strap to hold onto. The strap must be secured to the object under adequate tension to hold the wrap in place, for best results use a strap tensioning tool. In some longer term or specialty applications, strapping can be replaced with coated wire rope rigged with turnbuckles to provide tension and additional strength.

Heat Fusing– this method is used to secure two edges of film together by heating and pressing the film layers together using a safety glove or tool to achieve a welded seam. This method is commonly used for encapsulation and oftentimes together with the Strip Lumber method discussed below.

Strip Lumber – common lumber can be used to attach shrink film by wrapping strips of lumber into the edge of the film in a way so that the film is more than one and a half times around the lumber strip and then fastened to the object with a screw, nail or other adequate fastener.

Heat Application – An even application of heat, continuously applied in both vertical and horizontal directions produces the best result of a smooth finish on the shrunken film. Across large expanses of drooping film, it is sometimes best to heat the film in sections to allow for the best rise of the film to the highest points. Heat should never be applied continuously to one section of film as the material does burn and will catch on fire. Proper fire extinguishers and a vigilant watch must be kept during the heat application phase for best safety practices.

Final Details – The final step in the shrink wrapping process is the detail work.Great care should be taken to ensure that the shrink wrap project lasts and performs as expected.

Taping – all heat fused seams should be taped so that at least 1.5” of tape are stuck to each side of the fused seam, for longer periods of outdoor exposure, Preservation Tape is the best choice to stand up to the UV rays of the sun. Preservation Tape contains UV inhibitors in both the film as well as the adhesive which allows it to be removed from many surfaces with little to no adhesive residue left behind.

Ventilation – adequate ventilation will lessen the effects of condensation from the moisture in the air. We typically vent boats and other objects with one vent approximately every six to eight feet on all sides of an object both vertically and horizontally.

Reinforcements – certain areas of the final project can be reinforced to provide additional protection from the physical and environmental conditions that the cover will need to endure. Large flat areas can be reinforced with a tensioned strap that is taped to the cover giving rigidity to the area to help it better stand up to wind load. Corners or other areas of contact with the object, the frame or the load straps/chains should be reinforced with pressure sensitive tape, commonly referred to as shrink wrap tape or preservation tape.

Moisture Control – when the interior of the cover or container needs to be kept dry, a desiccant can be used to absorb the moisture. These products are very effective when properly applied and are sensitive to the amount of cubic feet as well as the duration or time period of the application.

Corrosion Control – when storing or shipping items which are sensitive to corrosion, a VCI or volatile corrosion inhibitor product can help to prevent corrosion on a variety of metals. These products emit particles into the container or covered space which prevent the corrosion process from beginning or to slow down any existing corrosion. Choosing a VCI product to use in an application depends on the type of metal, environmental conditions and the duration of protection required.

Mildew Control – Similar to corrosion control products, these control mildew in enclosed areas over extended periods of time. Popular in both marine applications and shipping of less sensitive items.

Zipper Access Doors– can be placed onto a finished shrink wrap project to allow for people or air to move freely into or out of the cover. Zipper doors also provide convenient access to lifting points, control boxes or other areas for inspection or usage.

Feel free to contact usby email or phone with any questions about how to shrink wrap or to discuss your project.


What is the process of shrink wrap? ›

The Shrink Wrap Packaging Method

The first portion involves wrapping your goods in the film and during the second, you'll seal the plastic by applying heat in order to make it shrink, which is how it gets the name shrink wrap.

What is the difference between blue and white shrink wrap? ›

White shrink wrap comes in 6, 7, 8, 8.5, 9, 10, and 12-mil thicknesses. BLUE SHRINK WRAP is generally used in snow-load areas as it absorbs heat which helps any accumulated snow to slide off the shrink wrap covers.

Do you need a sealer for shrink wrap? ›

To shrink wrap, all you will need is shrink wrap material (film or bag), sealer to seal (hand sealer, I-Bar, or L-Bar) and a heat source to shrink (heat gun or shrink tunnel.)

How much heat is needed for shrink wrap? ›

It should be remembered that the average shrink film will have a "shrinking temperature range" of about 250 to 350 degrees F. The shrink film will melt at about 350 degrees F and will burn at 650 degrees F.

What are the stages of wrapping sealing shrinking and cooling? ›

Shrink wrapping is done in 4 stages namely wrapping, sealing, shrinking and cooling.

What is the difference between shrink wrap and wrap? ›

Stretch wrap is a stretchable plastic that is wrapped tightly around a load of products. The elasticity of the stretch wrap is what keeps the load together. In contrast, shrink wrap can be loosely applied to a product and will shrink to securely cover the product once heat is applied.

Can you shrink wrap with a hair dryer? ›

Yes, you can use a hair dryer to shrink certain types of shrink film, but it is definitively not recommended. At the end of the day, using a hair dryer to shrink wrap your products is a bit like cleaning your floor with a toothbrush... It does the job, but not well or efficiently.

Do you need a heat gun for shrink wrap? ›

You can use a normal hairdryer as if it was a heat gun to activate your heat shrink. It will take a lot longer than using a heat gun, especially if you only have a basic hairdryer. Hold the hair dryer as close as possible to the heat shrink and crack it up to its hottest setting.

Can you use a regular heat gun for shrink wrap? ›

Use a Heat Gun to Shrink the Wrap

Turn the heat gun to the low setting to prevent damage to the plastic shrink wrap. Move your heat gun slowly over the shrink wrap and watch as it shrinks around the object. If you have a larger area to shrink wrap, we recommend using a FURNO 300, 500 or 700 heat gun instead.

What is the difference between heat seal and shrink wrap? ›

The main difference between Shrink Wrapper Vs Heat Sealer machines is the way in which they seal the packaging film around the product. Shrink wrapper machines use heat to shrink the film tightly around the product, while heat sealer machines use hot air to weld the film together.

What is the strongest shrink wrap? ›

Polyethylene or PE shrink wrap is a stronger and more durable type of film that is typically used for industrial applications. While polyolefin and PVC shrink wraps are typically maxed out at 100 gauge thickness, polyethylene wrap can reach a gauge thickness of up to 1200.

What shrink wrap is best? ›

This shrink film is considered a premium replacement for PVC. It's often used to bundle consumer products like toys, candies, foods, games, tissue boxes, and other retail items. That's because it's great for consumer products, due to its glossy high-clarity appearance, low cost, and versatility.

Why use black shrink wrap? ›

Black shrink wrap is rarely recommended for outdoor use, as it will absorb light and get extremely hot in the sun. However, if you are intentionally trying to capture UV rays, then black is your answer.

Does shrink wrap work with a hair dryer? ›

Also, you definitely cannot use a hair dryer to shrink printed shrink film, it simply would not work and result in an absolute mess due to the inks in the film. If you are currently using a hair dryer to shrink wrap small products for your business, you really should consider upgrading to a heat gun.

What is the difference between plastic wrap and shrink wrap? ›

Stretch wrap is a stretchable plastic that is wrapped tightly around a load of products. The elasticity of the stretch wrap is what keeps the load together. In contrast, shrink wrap can be loosely applied to a product and will shrink to securely cover the product once heat is applied.

Is it bad to leave vinyl in shrink wrap? ›

Original cellophane shrink wrap is going to protect the sleeve, and can/will last for years without doing any damage. Sometimes though, the shrink is applied too tight, and will result in bent corners/ring wear. This is not guaranteed to happen, but of course it will be a problem from time to time.

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