At some point, you’ve undoubtedly received a package wrapped in plastic, perhaps even an entire pallet of items. Commonly known as shrinkwrap, the product is basic plastic wrap and the process can easily be completed at home with a few basic supplies and a moment of your time.
Why Heat Wrap?
Heat wrapping items is a strong and easy way to hold various items together. Perhaps you want to put all your child’s plastic bowling pins together for a sale. Or maybe you need to prepare a package for shipping. You can also use it as an organization tool for everything from stored linens to foods.
Group like items together, such as cloth napkins, wrap and seal. You can do this with kids’ clothes, blankets, and similar items.
Whatever you decide to heat wrap, the process offers protection from damage and from natural elements like dust. It’s a great tool to use when completing dirty home improvement projects like refinishing floors, or sanding sheetrock mud.
Shrinkwrap also holds groups of loose items together during transport. Get to wrapping before taking off with the team snack of Gatorade, or use it to contain those piles of magazines that are headed towards the donation center.
Step 1 - Collect Supplies
This is as easy as reaching into the drawer or holder that houses your aluminum foil, storage bags, and wax paper. Grab your roll of plastic wrap and remove the roll from the box. You may also want a pair of scissors, but it’s not necessary. For the lighter, a long-style is the best option for safety and comfort.
Step 2 - Wrap the Items
The edge of the plastic wrap will stick to some items, but not others. It might be helpful to have someone hold the end of the plastic while you get started. Move around the item in a circular motion, continuously unrolling the plastic wrap as you go.
Slightly overlap the layer before it as you move down or up the item. Pull the sheet of plastic tight as you work and keep the material flat as you unroll it.
The type of item you’re wrapping will designate how thoroughly you need to cover it. If you’re hoping to seal it to keep air from getting in you’ll want to overlap the plastic wrap in both directions. For other items, you may just need to wrap the plastic wrap around a few times.
Step 3 - Seal It off
Once you’ve achieved the desired amount of coverage, tear or cut the plastic wrap. Flatten and press the torn end into the last layer of plastic wrap. Although it will stick to the prior layer, it can easily peel back off during storage or shipment.
To seal the end in place, use a lighter. Ignite the lighter and hold it close to the top of the seam. You don’t want to melt through too many layers. The goal is to simply adhere the outer layer to the layer beneath it. Work along the seam from top to bottom until it is completely sealed.
As always, use caution when using a lighter.
Step 4 - Get a Shrink Wrap Kit
Plastic wrap can do a reasonable job for the applications mentioned above. However, if you want a professional-looking finish for baskets or products you’re selling, invest in a shrink wrap kit. It will include the shrink wrap, an impulse sealer, and a heat gun. The process is similar to that described above.
You’ll wrap the item in the shrink wrap, pressing it together at the seam. You can also get bags made of shrink wrap you simply slide the item into. The impulse sealer is like a flat iron heat wand that presses together the seams around the products.
Create the seams as close to the item as possible. At this point, the item is contained within the shrink wrap, but one additional step will create a professional look. Aim the heat gun at the item and work around the sides, watching the shrink wrap move tightly into the item as you go.
When you’re done, you won’t have any bunched-up plastic and it will be pressed firmly into the item. Note that a heat gun can burn through plastic wrap so it’s best reserved for use with shrink wrap.