Using Shrink Sleeves for Your Next Product Design

When picking out packaging labels for your food or beverage products, you’ll have many options to choose from. Some of the most cost-effective and versatile options available are shrink sleeves. In this post, we’ll be discussing some of the key factors to consider when choosing the right shrink sleeves for your products. But first: 

What Exactly Are Shrink Sleeves?

Shrink sleeves are custom-made packaging labels, printed onto shrink film and attached to packaging containers with heat. Once the heat is applied, shrink sleeves actually reduce in size and literally shrink around the container for a tight, sleek fit and exceptional 360 degree display of your product’s label and artwork.

Choosing Shrink Sleeves: What to Consider

Size and Artwork

The main two decisions you’ll need to make with your shrink sleeves will have to do with the size of the sleeves and the artwork. You’ll need to decide on what’s called the cut length (sleeve height) as well as the critical art height (artwork height)

Next, you’ll need the slit width; this is the width of the sleeve prior to seaming. Within this size is the critical art width, which dictates the artwork height. Finally, the layflat width is the finished sleeve’s entire width.

Artwork design comes next. This can be worked out ahead of time, or your sleeve manufacturer can assist. It’s important to put the artwork imprint inside the packaging to help it resist abrasion, and sometimes, an added varnish is even applied. The latter can help the packaging glide more easily through the machinery, and it can also help the label resist abrasion.

Perforations and Seam & Fold Locations

Some containers will feature perforations. For example, a drink with a screw off top will have a perforation near the top’s opening — both for security during shipment and tamper resistance. Some shrink sleeves feature perforation on the side of the main part of the sleeve as well. This is often for easy removal prior to recycling. 

All information on each label (especially things like UPC codes and ingredient lists) must be easily legible, which is why the location of seam and fold areas is key. 

Finishing Touches

Lastly, choose your application method. This will dictate how your shrink sleeves are actually cut and applied to your product’s containers. Generally speaking, sleeves are not cut, but completed on a large roll, when they are used alongside a machine-application method. For the roll method to function properly in packaging machines — with each product coming out perfectly — all sizing aspects of the roll must be exact. This includes the roll’s core size, diameter, and position in the machine.

Ready to Create a Shrink Sleeve Prototype?

Shrink sleeves provide numerous benefits that other packaging labels do not:

  • They can conform to any size container.
  • They provide beautiful, full-color, 360 degree advertisement of your product.
  • Their durable, waterproof design stands up well to humidity, abrasion, shipping agitation, and other distress. 
  • They can even be easily removed for recycling of the base container’s material. 

Shrink sleeves are the ideal label solution to many types of products. Still, it’s important to consider all aspects of your purchase before making a full order for your products. Therefore, we suggest ordering a prototype of your desired shrink sleeve design. That’s what we do here at WhiteGraphics, Inc. 

White Graphics, Inc. manufactures print and packaging solutions for a range of food and beverage products. We can help bring your shrink sleeve design to life, create a new design for you, or assist you in finding another packaging solution that fits your needs. 

To learn more about our packing products and services, contact us online today or give us a call at (630) 791-0232. We look forward to helping you find the ideal packaging solution for your product!