Shrink wrap bags, also called shrink film bags, are handy for wrapping or sealing all sorts of products such as disks, books and board games. You can also bundle items into square or rectangular shapes to fit a suitably sized bag such as six tealight candles in two rows of three. The wrap is clear and when heated it shrinks to a tight fit so that it enhances visual merchandising. Why use shrink wrap? Well, for starters, it reduces the chance of humidity damage, scratches, smudges or wear on your products from excessive handling in-store or during shipping. It helps keep your more vulnerable inventory in good condition until it sells or arrives at its destination. Make sure you're using the right type of bags and a proper hairdryer, and consider a couple of ways to create a clean, professional look before getting started.
Choose the Right Wrap
Until you are ready to consider investing in shrink-wrapping machinery, small-business owners often use polyvinyl chloride (PVC) shrink wrap bags for achieving a more professional look. Although you can use at a minimum an 1,800-watt hair dryer to shrink PVC bags, you need a heat gun to shrink plastic optical fiber (POF) bags. Unlike PVC, POF wrap is food safe, and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for wrapping edibles.
Pack Your Bag
The bag you choose should be slightly larger than the item you plan to wrap. This reduces waste and creates a precise fit because the wrap will only shrink up to 40 percent when you apply heat. If you are wrapping a solid item such as a book, put it in the bag upside down. In this position, the neater edge will be along the top, and the folded and taped edge will be at the bottom. Fold the open end toward the back of the item, as if you are wrapping a gift. Attach the fold to the package using clear cellophane tape. For bundling items, for example, a set of tealight candles, it's best to first cut a piece of cardboard to slip into the bag as a base to give your package stability.
An all-in-one heat sealer and cutter would be handy and gives you a neater, more professional finish than folding and taping the open end closed.
Apply Heat Properly
After closing the bag, begin to apply heat to the edges of the wrapped item, using the hair dryer and sweeping it in a back and forth motion. Only hold the hair dryer as close as needed to produce the shrinking effect. If you hold it too close or heat an area for too long, you risk creating a hole in the wrap or damaging the item inside. Imagine what too much heat would do to bagged candles, for instance. By heating the edges first, the item or bundled items will stay neatly in place while you heat the flat surfaces, using the hair dryer in the same back and forth motion to complete the shrink wrapping process.
- Work on a large table or counter for ease and safety.
- Use extreme caution when working with the sealer and the hair dryer. The sealer reaches very temperatures that can severely burn you. Hot plastic can also cause scarring burns. Be cautious when you handle the plastics.
- Do not keep the hair dryer on one spot of a shrink-wrap bag for more than a second. Keeping heat on a particular place will melt a hole in the bag, and you will have to remove the item(s) and start all over again.
Lorna Hordos is a home-improvement business owner and freelance writer. She has written hundreds of conversational business articles for WordPress.com, Bizfluent, AZ Central and Global Post.