Shrink sleeves are an excellent packaging option for many brands. Shrink sleeves are 360-degree printed pieces of film that shrink with heat or steam to fit around various shaped containers. They eliminate blank space, making your brand’s art and name not only take center stage but take the whole stage. They also allow the shape of your packaging to shine, hugging the contours in a way that a traditional label may not be able to. As an added bonus, shrink sleeves can make your package fully recyclable, reducing your carbon footprint.

Labeling Options with Shrink Sleeves

Whether you’re a craft beer brewer, in the OTC pharmaceutical industry, or anything in between, shrink sleeves are an increasingly popular packaging option. There are a few things you should know before you make the leap from traditional pressure-sensitive labels to shrink sleeves. Find out what you need to know about shrink sleeves here.

Containers and Shrink Materials

Shrink sleeves can be applied onto containers of all shapes and sizes. The sleeve can be applied for partial or full coverage of a container and can extend over the cover or cap for a tamper resistant application. This is a great packaging solution to an unusually shaped container. A bottle with ridges will hold a shrink sleeve without an adhesive much more effectively than an un-contoured bottle.

Inovar Packaging Group offers a variety of shrink material options and our experts will help you select the one that’s right for your product and application. All of our materials provide an even and durable application ideal for a variety of markets. The material used for sleeves is clear before being printed. A quality container or product will be enhanced by a sleeve; imperfections in a container may be highlighted.

Artwork and Design Options with Shrink Sleeves

There are some complexities to creating art for shrink sleeves, but our brilliant Prepress team is here to assist as much as you need. Sleeve artwork can be created just as you would design a label that is the height and diameter of the area you want to cover. Many containers will have both high shrink areas where the artwork will be distorted prior to shrinking, such as on a curve or any area where the container is not flat.

For example, if there is a circle graphic on the sleeve, it may appear egg-shaped prior to shrinking. Low-shrink areas will have little to no distortion prior to or after shrinking. All distortions will be added by Inovar Packaging Group so that the artwork shrinks proportionally. The Inovar team will measure and provide a template to assist you with your design; we will ask you for samples of your container and your container blueprint in order to assist you best.

Metallic inks in various colors can be printed on shrink sleeves in small or large areas. Prismatic effects and foil options are also available in a variety of patterns and colors.

The Shrink Sleeve Labeling Process

Shrink sleeves can be hand or machine applied onto containers. For hand applications, sleeves are generally sheeted and shrunk onto containers using one or two handheld heat guns. For machine application sleeves are generally requested on rolls. It is standard for the application equipment to cut and shrink the sleeve onto the container during filling. The process of hand shrinking sleeves can be labor intensive. It’s important to consider the costs of this versus having the sleeves shrunk by your filler.

Shrink Sleeves and Labeling Quantities

If you require a low volume of labels or packaging, shrink sleeves may not be the best option. Shrink sleeves are generally more cost-effective with higher print runs of at least a few thousand. Minimum order quantities for shrink sleeves will vary depending on the size of the container, but on average minimums start at 5,000 sleeves per item.

Contact us today to find out if shrink sleeve labeling is right for you!

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