Shrink Sleeves

TO-DO-LIST for Packaging Professionals

I was often asked by my clients, what it takes to do the perfect packaging in single go? My answer to this question will always remain same. Getting hold on the basics requirement and eyes for innovative solutions. Having said this, no packaging job is same. Every container offer different level of challenge depending on your experience.

As a manufacturer I could understand the dilemma of brand owners who often juggle between manufacturing and packaging work. Packaging intricacies does require a lot of valuable time and immediate actions.

Being an Global Shrink Sleeve Advisor for years has resulted in me crafting technical books, “Sleeve It Right” and “5 Myths about Sustainable Shrink Sleeves,” which were appreciated by leaders around the world. Having over 15 years of experience in the industry enriches me with various case studies. Thankfully, now, Chetan Jain is regarded as the technical expert on the matter of shrink sleeve packaging.

So here I am, writing an article on 6 pivotal points; all professionals handling packaging development need to consider before starting work on it.

•Product container shape

This is the first step in the packaging process. Knowing your product’s container shape. A symmetric container can provide even shrinkage. If your container has contours and troughs that are unevenly placed, then getting the right shrinkage could be difficult. In such cases, distortions are more likely to appear. You have carefully selected the container shape and shrink tunnel.


Shrink sleeves can vary depending on the level of innovation desired for your product. It is dependent on your converter partner and how he will deliver it. It is predominantly determined by your customers’ basic requirements and expectations, but a lot depends on the manufacturer’s ideation and conceptual execution. For example, a QR code or barcode is a safety and assurance indicator. UV or metallic inks are an indicator of the quality of the packaged food. Any special effect on the shrink sleeves helps create a distinctive feature and protects it from counterfeiting. These unique characteristics can include wet, sand, soft, silver, or gold foiling.

•Shrink Sleeve Material

The right shrink sleeve substrate is a tremendous game changer for your product packaging. Brands always carefully select the right shrink sleeve substrate before designing the packaging. It is one of the basic questions about your packaging type. There are a lot of packaging materials on the market, but selecting the appropriate one according to your product is the key.

You need to discuss this with your converter partner to determine the right sleeve material. I have jotted down the basic substrate list for your knowledge.

  • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride)
    It is the most versatile shrink sleeve substrate, widely used. Easy to print and handle efficiently for effortless work. Low-cost substrates provide a good range of shrinkage. Despite all these benefits, PVC is not environmentally friendly, and its incineration has negative effects on health.
  • PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol)
    A sustainable option in today’s world, predominantly used by all brands. Substrate clarity, stability, and availability are its benefits. It has a high shrinkage ratio, which is an added advantage in controlling the factors for shrink tunnels. It means less distortion.
  • Other Alternates
    There are some more options, like LDPET, NEXT PETG, OPS, TruCycl that are relevant depending on application.


Designing the packaging creatively is another landmark. It is like deciding the layout of your product. Design reflects the brand’s appeal. Shape, color, design elements, layout, and contents all contribute to the complete design. Always be mindful that high-shrinkage areas should not have fine design or text loaded content. Bar codes are to be aligned vertically. Seams are also very critical areas for the design. Avoid using continuous graphic text. There, use small amounts of content and elements.

•Shrinkage and Distortion

Shrinkage and distortion are relatively technical concepts to understand. Perfect shrinkage is the result of various determinants like container type, shape, and material, yet it is considered the factor of perfect shrink sleeve packaging because it also depends on the shrink tunnel you prefer. Every tunnel has its own prerequisite conditions and benefits. Steam shrink tunnels are known to provide the best shrinkage since they evenly distribute the heat. As the shrink sleeve is exposed to direct heat, it is more prone to distortion.

•Converter Partner

For every exceptional execution, you need expert support that can guide you through the process according to your needs. It is a challenging task, and not everyone could deliver your desired result. Most of the time, we understood it clearly after the final shrink sleving went wrong. In order to save time and money, you should go with a converter partner who has the required technologies, knowledge, and experience.

I could write another 10 points on this subject, and this ending would guide me to start a fresh article on the other vital aspect of shrink sleeve packaging. But will write more in future.

So, keeping the sanctity of the space, I would end here. Although keeping your queries at bay is not right. Hence, you could ask your question related to this topic to me at