Shrink wrapping or shrink film is used to describe a type of plastic that tightens or “shrinks” around a product to create a seal when it is exposed to a heat source. The tools needed to shrink wrap an item include a heat sealer (to seal open ends of the film) and a source of heat (to shrink the film into place).

Shrink wrapping

Types of Shrink Wrapping

There are following types of Shrink wrapping:
1. Bundle Wrapping
Bundle Wrapping or sometimes called tray bundle wrapping typically uses a polyethylene film when toughness and puncture resistance are important. Bundle wrapping does not 100% enclose the product. The bundle wrapping process covers the top and bottom of the package, but the sides are open. When heat is applied, the film tightly shrinks against the product, but an opening is left on either side; these are often referred to as bull’s-eye holes. The polyethylene film is considerably less expensive, but it lacks clarity.

2. Shrink Wrapping
Shrink Wrapping , sometimes call overwrapping, typically uses a Polyolefin film. The film completely encloses the product. The film provides high clarity and is used when appearance is important. Shrink wrapping is commonly used to create multi-packs and on-packs while maintaining product visibility. The polyolefin is typically of a much lighter gauge when compared to PE films, but more expensive. That said, the increased material price is usually offset by the higher run speeds of the equipment.

3. Shrink Sleeving
Shrink Sleeving, is the process of applying a sleeve around a product or container. Shrink sleeves deliver high-impact and colorful graphics that fully wrap the product, providing 360 degree graphic coverage. Common shrink sleeve materials include PVC and PETG. They can be applied to symmetrical and non-symmetrical containers, but testing is required to ensure shrink uniformity.

Features of types of Shrink Wrapping

1. Features of Bundle Wrapping

  • LDPE film that offers greater toughness

  • Commonly used to secure product to corrugate trays (water bottles, soup cans, jars)

  • Film has cloudy/hazy appearance

  • Ideal for securing products together during transit

  • Printed/registered film is possible

2. Features of Shrink Wrapping

  • Clear film is perfect for retail items

  • Commonly used to display retail products and create multi-packs

  • Process is much faster than bundle wrapping

  • Film is more expensive than bundle wrap film

  • Printed/registered film is possible

3. Features of Shrink Sleeving

  • Best suited for higher volume applications where graphic quality and impact are important.

  • Testing is usually required to ensure shrink uniformity

  • Can arrive pre-cut for manual application or on rolls for automated application

  • Commonly used for multi-packs and decorating bottles instead of pressure sensitive labels

  • Tooling/print plate costs can be expensive

  • Printed/registered film is most commonly

Advantages to Shrink Wrapping

Shrink wrapping has many applications across various industries. Not only is it easy to use, but it offers a wide range of benefits as well.

➢ 1. Protection
When heat is applied to shrink wrap, it creates a very tight seal. This plastic seal then fully protects the shrink wrapped contents. Once sealed, the items are no longer vulnerable to the damage that can be caused by dust, dirt or moisture. Some types of shrink wrap even come with UV protection, to keep your products safe from the sun’s harmful rays.

➢ 2. Durability
Shrink wrap is made from a very sturdy, durable plastic. It is difficult to tear or puncture. Unlike other materials, shrink wrap does not become brittle or weaken when it is in the sun or extreme cold. Once the shrink wrap has been heated and sealed over your objects, it will not loosen or sag.

➢ 3. Tampering
Since shrink wrap both seals and holds its shape once applied, any tampering will be noticeable immediately. For this reason, many pharmaceutical companies now shrink wrap their products, as well as food manufacturers. Some types of shrink wraps used by banks and government agencies change color when the plastic has been stretched, to show that the sealed items have been touched.

➢ 4. Affordability
Compared to other packaging materials, shrink wrap can be a very affordable choice. It also is designed to minimize space; it keeps bundled items close together without the use of additional bulky materials, such as boxes. Space saved is money saved, both in storage and transport.

➢ 5. Branding
An added feature of shrink wrap is that it can be designed with colors, words, pictures and logos that promote your products. From your production floor until it reaches the end user, your product isn’t just wrapped in plastic—it’s wrapped in your brand. This is a marketing tool that can increase brand awareness, and make you more visible to your customers.

➢ 6. Preservation
Many foods that need to be preserved, either for transport or to extend shelf life, are preserved in shrink wrap. Food-grade shrink wrap is a regular choice for food production companies.

➢7. Convenience
The one item that most separates shrink wrap from other packaging materials is that is can be used for any size project. Small electrical wires are often shrink wrapped to prevent exposure to moisture. Game pieces, candies, and hardware can all be bunched and shrink wrapped.

On the other end of the spectrum, shrink wrap kits are sold to weatherize boats and greenhouses. Freight on trailers and trains can be shrink wrapped for easier transport. Even entire buildings have been shrink wrapped to prevent chemical leaks or exposure from hazardous materials.

Why Shrink Wrap?

Shrink wrapping is an easy process that only requires two things—the right kind of plastic wrap and heat. With just a roll of shrink wrap paper and a heating source, you can waterproof, weatherproof and tamperproof just about anything you have.

Since there is no restriction on size to shrink wrap items—big or small—you now have a way to protect even your bulkiest of items. As an added bonus, shrink wrap plastic is recyclable; when you’re finished with it, you can toss it in with your other plastic bags to be recycled and remade for future uses.

Shrink wrap is a term used to describe a variety of products and materials. In order to correctly describe what shrink wrap is, it is important to start by pointing out what shrink wrap is not. See the images below to see what products are often mistaken for shrink wrap.

Products Often Mistaken for Shrink Wrap

Misconception regarding Shrink wrappings:

1. Stretch Film - Common terms for stretch film are: pallet wrap, stretch wrap, and shrink wrap. Though often called shrink wrap, pallet wrap is technically a stretch film. The film stretches around products creating a “shrunk look” around the products being wrapped.

2. Vacuum Packaging - Vacuum packaging creates tight ■■■■■■■ appearance like shrink wrap. Vacuum packaging uses an air vacuum to remove air from the packaging. The removal of air creates a shrunk look to the package resembling shrink wrapping.

3. Cling Wrap - Cling wrap (Saran Wrap) is a food grade plastic wrap that has tact on one or more sides. The cling enables users to pull film tightly around an object and adhere the film to itself. This tight fit often is mistakenly called shrink wrap.

4. PVC shrink wrap is also known as polyvinyl chloride shrink wrap and was at one point the most commonly used shrink film around the world thanks to its affordability and versatility.

Some of today’s most common uses for PVC shrink wrap include DVD and CD cases, gaming discs and other software boxes, retail packaging, packaging boxes, and other non-food-related items. PVC shrink wrap has a higher tear resistance, however, it is more susceptible to becoming brittle after shrinking so it is not recommended to wrap multiple products or for use in high or low-temperature environments.

5. Polyolefin (POF) shrink wrap has recently taken the title for the most popular and commonly used shrink wrap. This is largely due to POF being of higher quality and more versatile compared to PVC. Additionally, polyolefin shrink wrap is FDA-approved and safe for use with food products.

Common uses for POF shrink wrap include printed and paper goods, baked goods, frozen food items such as pizza, small toys, candies, and much more. This high clarity, puncture, and temperature-resistant shrink wrap are also made from 100% recycled materials and is perfect for bundling multiple items together.

6. 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. The most common uses of PE shrink wrap include wrapping beverage multipacks, wrapping boats for storage, and pallet wrapping.

7. Shrink tubing is a unique design of shrink film that comes with two pre-sealed sides. This allows customers to easily input their products into the tube and create custom-length shrink bags. This type of shrink tubing has crystal clear, high gloss film that is perfect for displaying your product proudly. Shrink tubing can be used with either portable or automatic equipment, making it the perfect addition to any business.

8. Centerfold shrink wrap rolls are made by folding the shrink wrap in half lengthways and then placing it on the roll. These are most commonly used in retail packaging as they allow retailers to put their product into the pocket and seal it all the way around (typically with an L-bar sealer). These can be used for larger products and can typically be used with both automatic and manual equipment.

Types of Heat Sealers

The most common are I-bar, L-bar, and impulse sealers, while the most common heat sources are automatic heat tunnels and manual heat guns. You can also invest in a shrink wrap machine that is able to perform cut, seal, and shrinking tasks. Shrink film can come in a variety of different sizes. Here at The Packaging Company, we carry shrink-wrap ranging from 6”-36” in width, and several different thicknesses including 50, 60, 75, and 100 gauge shrink wrap.

Shrink wrapping has many names. Although shrink wrapping accurately describes the process of applying heat to shrink film around product, there are three distinctly different shrink wrapping processes-- bundle wrapping, shrink wrapping, and shrink sleeving.


Stretch wrap and shrink wrap are two common terminology for stretch film. Vacuum packing resembles shrink wrap in that it generates a tight fit. An air vacuum is used to remove air from the package in vacuum packaging. Cling wrap is a type of food-safe plastic wrap with a tacky surface on one or more sides.

PVC shrink wrap, also known as polyvinyl chloride shrink wrap, was once the most widely used shrink film in the world; however, Polyolefin (POF) shrink wrap has recently surpassed PVC shrink wrap as the most popular and widely used shrink wrap;

PE shrink wrap is a stronger and more durable type of film that is typically used for industrial applications; PE shrink wrap is a stronger and more durable type of film that is typically used for industrial applications; PE shrink wrap is a stronger and more durable type Customers may effortlessly insert their items into shrink tubing and make custom-lengths.

Precautions for Keeping And Storing Shrink Wrappingin Different Weathers


Your facility will likely be subject to high heat in the summer, if not during springtime. If shrink wrapping are kept in temperatures exceeding 100 degrees, they may prematurely shrink and compromise their ability to protect your goods. During these hot months, keep your shrink materials stored in the coolest areas of your facility without subjecting them to refrigeration.

Before purchasing and storing shrink film, make sure you know its storage requirements. You don’t want to try to work with climate-compromised packaging. Your supplier should have this information available if you’re unsure what your material requires. Overall, shrink packaging is best stored in temperatures between 30 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. Naturally, summer and winter are the seasons that require you to be most attentive to your storage environment.

They should be kept cool, but not too cold. The coolest spots in your warehouse are typically close to the floors – on the lowest part of your pallet racks – and away from windows or places that are subject to a lot of sunlight. You’ll also want to keep your shrink films away from high-traffic doors because the temperatures in these areas tend to fluctuate greatly.

Additionally, try to schedule your shrink film deliveries early in the day. That way, the materials won’t sit in the back of a hot trailer when traveling from warehouse to warehouse. Not only will you avoid the harshest hours of the sun, but you’ll also give yourself more time to store them before the temperature.


Packaging films tend to become especially brittle in cold temperatures, which greatly reduces their stretching and shrinking properties. While the PVC may crack, it can even shatter like glass if left in extremely cold conditions for too long.

As in the summer, store your rolls away from doors to avoid temperature fluctuations. You also want to ensure rain or snow won’t create unwanted moisture in the rolls. If you’ve been using PVC shrink film to package frozen foods or other products that spend time in a freezer truck or refrigerator, consider switching to a polyolefin film. This is a more durable, food-safe, and recyclable material that will keep your package intact during transit and packaging.

When you take shrink film out of storage, you may not know how to tell if it’s been compromised. One key sign is sticky rolls. If PVC rolls stick together, they were likely exposed to too much heat. Don’t risk downtime on the packaging line by trying to use them anyway.

Skip over the rolls that are stuck together. Bagging and sagging are also signs of overheated film. The rolls may begin to sag on the edges or show bagging within their layers. Using these rolls can interfere with the tracking on your machines, so avoid using these compromised rolls as well.

Remember, even the highest-quality shrink film and packaging materials are apt to deteriorate when subject to these environmental factors. No matter what quality film rolls you’re purchasing, take the time to assess how you’ll store them to ensure they protect and present your product exactly as you’ve planned.

Frequently Asked Questions

These are the questions which are frequently asked by the people

Q1. Does shrink wrap continue to shrink?

It shrinks tightly over whatever it is covering when heated. A portable heat ■■■ (electric or gas) can be used to provide heat, or the material and film can be sent through a heat tunnel.

Q2. When it comes to shrink wrap and plastic wrap, what’s the difference?

Stretch wrapping is a stretchy plastic film that is wrapped around a load of items to allow it to be stretched; the elasticity of the film holds the load together firmly. When heat is given to shrink wrap, it is wrapped loosely around a product or load and shrinks tightly.

Q3. Is it possible to shrink wrap with plastic wrap?

Shrink-wrapping is the technique of tightly wrapping goods in plastic so that they cannot move around. To begin, take the roll of plastic wrap out of the package and wrap it around the thing to be wrapped until you are happy that it is completely covered.

Q4. How much does it cost to shrink wrap a yacht on average?

It’s not inexpensive to have your yacht in shrink wrap for the winter. Professional boat shrink wraps calculate the ultimate cost according on the boat’s size. You should budget $12-25 per square foot if you hire a professional to cover your yacht.

Q5. How much does shrink wrapping a pallet cost?

Cost Analysis of Machine Stretch Film Based on 1 Roll Cost

Film/Gauge Roll Weight Cost Per Wrapped Pallet
91 meter/Gauge 5,000’/35 lbs. $1.80
79 meter/Gauge 5,000’/30 lbs. $1.40
64 meter/Gauge/80 ga. EQ. 5,000’/26 lbs. $1.20

Q6. Is shrink wrap and cellophane the same thing?

It’s best to use two wrapping methods than one. Choose cellophane, which comes in transparent and printed designs. Shrink wrap is a great way to keep baskets safe while they’re being delivered around the world. To preserve your gift basket, wrap it in shrink wrap first, then wrap it in cellophane for a nice, finished look.

Q7. What exactly is the function of shrink wrap?

Shrink wrap may be a very cost-effective alternative to traditional packaging materials. It’s also meant to save space by keeping packed products close together without the need of bulky materials like cartons. Saving space saves money, both in terms of storage and transportation.

Q8. What is the purpose of shrink wrapping adult magazines?

Books, periodicals, and comics can be wrapped in shrink wrap to prevent them from being opened and read before purchase. This is especially crucial when the material contains adult-oriented information, since it prevents kids from being exposed to it.

Q8. Is it true that shrink wrap melts in hot weather?

It’s important to know that the usual shrink film’s “shrinking temperature range” is between 250 and 350 degrees Fahrenheit. The shrink film melts at 350 degrees Fahrenheit and burns at 650 degrees Fahrenheit. ShrinkWrap is fueled by propane.

Q9. What is the purpose of the shrink wrap on the pallet?

Don’t risk your products being damaged due to poor shrink-wrapping.

Stretch-wrapping is a distribution packaging technique that secures items to a pallet to help avoid damage or loss. Layers of stretchy plastic film are applied to the load coming from a roll.

Q10. Is it possible for me to shrink wrap my own clothes?

Light a long stove or grill lighter and run it over the end of the plastic wrap, melting it into the plastic that has been wrapped around the object. Make sure the end of the plastic wrap is firmly bonded to the plastic on the item by doing this all the way around the edge.


Shrink wrap is a type of plastic film that may be wrapped around any object, regardless of its size or shape. After that, heat is delivered to the surface, causing the plastic to shrink. It adapts to the shape of your thing as it shrinks and seals itself.

Shrink wrapping can be done in a variety of ways. Smaller things can be heated using a portable heat ■■■ after being placed in a shrink wrap bag. Other things can be wrapped in a length-adjustable shrink wrap tube. A shrink wrap machine, which can wrap, heat, and seal many loads at once, may be used by facilities that shrink wrap bigger loads on a regular basis.

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