Shrink wrap is a plastic film that holds things together and protects them from dust and weathering. You can wrap it around just about anything—whether it’s one thing or a bunch of things—and then heat the film to create a tight-fitting, self-sealed package. You can use shrink wrap to bundle small items together and to protect big stuff like dry-docked boats.

Shrink wrap is sometimes confused with stretch wrap, but the two packaging materials are very different. Stretch wrap is an elastic film that stretches tightly around a load and is frequently used to wrap pallets for shipping. Shrink wrap is applied loosely and shrinks tightly with heat. It’s frequently used to wrap individual products or bundles of products for sale.

There are several ways to apply shrink wrap:

You can put smaller stuff in a shrink wrap bag.
You can use shrink wrap tubing from a roll to wrap packages of different lengths.
You can use shrink film bands to secure lids and caps.
You can secure and protect bigger stuff with shrink wrap rolls.