What is Shrink Wrap?
Published On:December 2, 2020 Revised On:January 11, 2023

What is Shrink Wrap?

A popular packaging material commonly used is Shrink Wrap. Have you ever thought about the history or what makes a Shrink Wrap work? What benefits does it provide? If the answer to any or all these questions is a “yes,” you have come to the right place.

This article will share the history of Shrink Wraps, their applications, and the benefits they entail.

History of Shrink Wraps

The invention of a Shrink Wrap is a tale of incidents. As we know it now, Shrink Wrap emerged somewhere around the 1950s in the market and became an immediate success. Shrink Wrap machines were available around the world for packaging food and fresh produce. However, it soon found its popularity in several other industries. For example, a commercial laundry installed its first shrink wrap machine in the United States back in 1983. Today, the Shrink Wrap is a widespread and huge industry facilitating various industries from wrapping pallets for logistics companies and shrink wrapping boats to disaster prevention like shrinkwrapping the roofs and extending the food’s shelf life, and many more. The size of the Shrink Wrap industry has grown exponentially over the years and is still growing at a rapid pace. The story that began with an accidentally made substance has now evolved into an industry producing 700,000 tons of material every year.

What is Shrink Wrap?

Shrink Wrap is a protective wrapping for material or goods using a transparent plastic film. This film is then coiled around an item and shrunk via heat. After a perfect wrapping of a package, the item handlers apply heat that shrinks the film around the packaging, making it a tight-fitting sealed packaging.

What is shrink wrap

The final packaged product is also known as a shrink package. A polymer-based plastic sheet is the most common material of choice when it comes to shrinking wraps. The most common Shrink Wrap used is a polyolefin, as it is available in varieties of thickness, strength, clarity, and shrink ratios.

Other materials include PVC, Polypropylene, and Polyethylene. For applying heat, operators may use handheld (gas or electric) heat guns or pass the packaged item through a heat tunnel on a conveyor belt.

Shrink Wrap helps create air-tight protection around the item. Thus, it is a choice of packaging for many manufacturers, industries, and shippers. With the availability of Shrink Wrap in different strengths, transparencies, and thicknesses, its applications are almost endless. You can wrap a small item around an entire building.

Applications of Shrink Wrap

Shrink Wrap has a multitude of uses and applications, which are:


Shrink Wraps are most prevalent in packaging industries for the following purposes.

  • Keeping beverages and canned food items unitized
  • Securing boxes
  • Providing tamper-evident and extra secure seals
  • Wrapping an entire pallet load to keep goods protected and protected from damage

It is also a common packaging material in the manufacturing sector, including CDs and DVDs, electronic products, and even food products such as vegetables, meats, and cheeses.

Books and Magazines

You can use Shrink Wraps to wrap magazines, books, and comics to make them impossible to open or read before a customer makes a purchase. It is especially vital to conceal material with an age restriction, such as adult-oriented subjects. This way, you can prevent minors and children from exposure to such content.

Heat Shrink Tubing

This application is an effective way to provide a protective seal around electrical wiring. It helps to insulate the wires and protects areas where these electrical wires are sliced or attached.

Tamper Evident Shrink Wrap

Banks often use this method to Shrink Wrap the money before physically shipping it in an armoured vehicle. These Shrink Wraps display a written message or change colour if the packaging gets stretched, cut, or fiddled with, hence, acting as an additional security procedure.

Other Applications

Shrink Wraps also help protect large machinery. Marine Shrink Wrap is a good example; you can wrap it around watercraft and boats to protect them from external elements such as weather. Shrink Wraps are also useful to quarantine an entire building if a hazardous chemical spill prevents others from exposure. Once the danger is over, it is easily removable.

Advantages of Shrink Wrap

Not only does a Shrink Wrap come with multiple applications, but it also offers many benefits.


Shrink Wrap is a highly affordable packaging material than other available options in the market. It minimises space usage and keeps your items bundled together without using bulky packaging material such as boxes. This way, you save money on storage as well as transport.

What is shrink wrap


You can add colours, pictures, words, and logos on a Shrink Wrap to customise it to your company’s brand. This way, you also get to promote your products and services as you are not packaging a product in plastic but wrapping it in your brand. It increases your brand awareness and visibility amongst your customers.


The best thing about Shrink Wraps is, you can use them on an item of any size. It covers all, from small wires, candies, and hardware components to boats and freight trailers. You do not have to shop around for a packaging material that suits your needs when you have Shrink Wrap at your disposal.


Shrink Wrap is very durable and sturdy. It takes much strength to puncture or tear it. Unlike other packaging materials, shrink wrap does not weaken or become brittle under extreme hot or cold environments. Once you have heated and sealed the Shrink Wrap, it will not sag or loosen its grip.


Heat-applied Shrink Wraps provide a tight seal that fully protects the item. Once sealed, the package is not vulnerable to any external damage such as dirt, dust, or moisture. Some shrinkwraps even provide UV protection, keeping your products safe from harmful sun rays.


We have already discussed how Shrink Wraps help preserve the freshness of food items, fruits, and vegetables for a long time. Food industries regularly use food-grade shrink wraps.


Since Shrink Wraps holds and seals its shape, any tampering attempt will be easily noticeable instantly. That is the reason pharmaceutical companies use shrink wrap on their products.

What You Need

So, now you know how valuable and easy-to-use Shrink Wraps are. All you need is the correct type of Shrink Wrap and heat to get you started. Plus, Shrink Wraps are also eco-friendly, which means it is recyclable. So, do not toss it away once you have used it, put it in a recyclable bin instead.