Shrink Wrapping Soap
For those who make melt and pour and cold-process/hot-process soaps, one way to wrap the soap bar that ensures that it stays fresh and does not lose moisture or fragrance is to wrap it in shrink-wrap. One has to be careful that the soap to be wrapped is thoroughly dried, especially cold process or hot process soaps. I have found that soaps that are cold processed or hot-processed may develop moss or get slimy in the plastic. Again, this is only my experience. In addition, melt and pour soap will need to be air dried for a couple days so that the shrink wrap does not stick to wet spots on the soap. Please test your product to see how it reacts in different wrappings.
Essentially, there are two popular types of shrink-wrap used to wrap soaps. One is PVC and the other is polyolifin. PVC is a shiny wrap that is crisp to the touch and is excellent for wrapping bars of soap as well as baskets and small packages. PVC holds up to wear and tear and has that shiny surface that most people are used to seeing on large items like gift baskets and gift trays. Though it is contended whether or not one can smell the scent of soaps through PVC, I have found that PVC 60gauge, allows the scent of the soap to come through.
Polyolifin on the other hand is softer to the touch, has more give, especially for wrapping unusual shaped objects and has very tiny holes (check with supplier to make sure that they have customized their polyolifin with tiny holes) that allows the soap to breathe, retain some moisture and allows the scent of the soap to come through the packaging. This type of shrink-wrap is popularly known as ‘smell through’ shrink-wrap. In addition, one of the great features of this type of shrink wrap is that it is biodegradable and is acid free.
Most companies that sell shrink-wrap film also offer a basic starter shrink-wrap system. This is a one-time investment that is worth its weight in gold. Shrink wrap equipment can last for years. Prices start from $100.00 to several hundred dollars depending on the type of equipment used. Here is a list of what you will need to get started:
Manual Impulse OR Freewand sealer
Heat shrink-wrap gun
Roll of double-folded shrink-wrap film (PVC or Polyolifin)
Extra wires and Teflon tape for impulse sealer
60gauge and 75gauge polyolefin are great for wrapping melt and pour soaps. For soaps that will be handled heavily or that will need to have a longer shelf life, I like to use a stronger gauge of polyolefin, say 75gauge, or 60-100gauge PVC. Please be sure to test the different gauges to see which one suits your product best. In addition, before wrapping make sure the soap is dry to the touch so that when shrink-wrapped, the film puffs up around the soap and then shrinks evenly on all sides. Prepare soap by leaving them out to air dry for a day or two. If the shrink film forms a balloon around product, prick a small hole in an area that will be covered by a label, and give it another blow with the gun.
At first when you wrap the soap, the scent may not come through, but over time, the bar of soap will give off its fragrant aroma.
Here are some sources for shrink-wrap supplies:
National Shrink WrapThe shrink wrap experts for soapers. Speak to Art Marko, the owner who knows all there is to know about shrink-wrapping soaps. Much of their equipment is designed by them for the Bath/Body care packaging industry. Starter Kits are available with polyolifin film
Complete Packaging and Supplies - New York based company -- Speak to Jeff who will be more than happy to take orders on the phone for PVC as well as Polyolifin. They are reachable at 1(800)-269-7872
Essence Supply-Pictures and instructions
Uline – Starter kits (shrink film has to be purchased separately),PVC and polyolifin film available