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What is Shrink Wrap?

By Nychole Price
Updated Feb 22, 2024
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Shrink wrap is a type of plastic that shrinks when heated. When it shrinks, it takes the shape of the item it is surrounding. Shrink wrap is used to package or protect items that range in size from a bar of soap to boats. Small shrink wrapping jobs require the use of a heat gun to melt the plastic. Larger jobs, such as shrink wrapping a boat, require a shrink wrapping machine.

After making soap, many people shrink wrap it to retain the fragrance, and prevent damage to the soap. In order to do this, you need shrink wrap bags and a heat gun. Place the soap in the bag, leaving about half an inch of shrink wrap around the soap and trim off the excess. Tape the open edges of the wrap. Use the heat gun to melt the shrink wrap until it takes the shape of the soap.

Many people shrink wrap baskets filled with goodies for use as gifts. This prevents the objects from falling out, and adds a store-bought touch to the home-made gift. Find a shrink wrap bag that fits the basket, with room to spare. Place the basket of goodies in the bag and pull it tightly upwards, securing it with a tie. Use a heat gun to melt the shrink wrap to the shape of the goody-filled basket.

Pallets are often shrink wrapped to prevent the object from falling off during shipment. Shrink wrapping pallets involves the use of an industrial shrink wrap machine. Stack the boxes on a pallet, close together, so they are neat and orderly. Using a roll of shrink wrap, start at the bottom of the pallet and wrap the entire unit five times. With a pallet jack, insert into the shrink wrap machine to melt the plastic.

Many people shrink wrap their boats to protect them from the winter weather. In order to do this, you first need to pad the sharp corners of the boat with foam, to prevent puncturing the wrap. Shrink wrap the boat, while on the trailer, making sure to overlap the wrap so it adheres to itself. Use a heat gun to melt the shrink wrap to the shape of the boat. Repair any holes with a shrink wrap repair kit.

Any object that you are selling or storing can be shrink wrapped, It allows you to apply labels and price tags without damaging the object itself. Shrink wrap also prevents moisture and dirt from damaging the stored items, while remaining inexpensive and user friendly.

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Discussion Comments

By SarahSon — On Jul 11, 2012

We have a boat that we enjoy using in the summer, but we don't have a very long season in our part of the country to enjoy it. We get some harsh weather in the winter and use boat shrink wrap every fall on our boat.

The first time we did this I felt like we weren't very good at getting it done. I know as long as the boat was covered, it was OK, but I had to learn the most efficient way to get this done.

Now that I have been doing it for several years, the process goes pretty quick. I like knowing I have an extra layer of protection when the boat sits all winter long without being used.

By Mykol — On Jul 11, 2012

I understand the need for using shrink wrap for products that need protection, but sometimes it is really hard to remove. It seems like every time I try to open a new CD that has been wrapped in shrink wrap, I have a difficult time getting it opened.

The same thing goes for pallets of material that have shrink wrap on them. My husband receives pallets of material from time to time for his business, and it can be a real challenge to get all the shrink wrap removed.

I guess that it is a good thing as far as keeping the product protected, but I wish there was an easier way to remove it.

By LisaLou — On Jul 10, 2012

I have all the ingredients and supplies to make my own soap, and have even sold this in the past. Using shrink wrap to package the soap in really does make a different in the presentation of the product.

It also helps seal in the scent, so when they open up the soap, there is still a strong scent there. If I use shrink wrap to package the soap, the scent will stay strong up to a year. If I don't use the shrink wrap, the scent will begin to fade much sooner.

It really is easy to get set up to use a shrink wrap sealer. I found it much easier and less expensive than packaging the soap in boxes or other containers. It also gives the consumer a chance to see what the soap looks like if I am displaying them at a craft show.

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