Shrinkwrapping Soap - A Primer
How to wrap soap, and which film is right for you

 Wrapping soap with The PackageMaster

Click here to read a review of The PackageMaster from THE SAPONIFIER

Everyone knows how tedious it is to wrap soaps.  With a free-wand based shrink wrap system you can wrap up to 16 bars of soap or more, (melt and pour or cold process) in a little over one minute! That's not a typo. THAT'S ONE MINUTE...additionally, you can use the same system to wrap trays, baskets, samplers and multi-bar promotions like the ever-popular "Buy 4...Get 1 Free!". Wrap Two-packs, Three-packs and more, quickly and efficiently

Wrapping your bars of soap serves several purposes:

            • It protects your bars from bacteria 
            • It allows your bars to remain clean and fresh 
            • It prevents nicks, dents and damage to your bars
            • It retains the smell of your bar of soap
            • It makes your bar gift-basket or tray ready
 

         Here's a demo of how we wrap soap with our 18" System

Which film is right for you?

There are different shrink films with different properties, the 2 most prevalent varieties for wrapping soap are Polyolefin and PVC. Either style will wrap soap neatly, but secondary considerations should determine which you opt for.

In a nutshell, PVC will pretty much not allow the exchange of air, humidity and scent. Because of its glossy, crystal-clear finish, it's the best choice for your baskets, Spa and Aromatherapy Kits.
Polyolefin, will allow the scent to come through...as well as allowing humidity in and out...though this process is inhibited, as compared to a bare, naked bar.

PVC is a shiny, glossy, crisp film, well suited to packaging single bars, multi-packs, and is the ONLY film for gift baskets and trays. OK, maybe that's a bit dramatic, but it's what people seem to expect vis a vis look and feel. PVC inhibits the exchange of air, letting virtually none of the scent come through.  It isn't as soft as the polyolefin but works very well. The 6x6 shrink bags many of you use are made of this.

Polyolefin (feels like a Baggie!) is an acid-free, food grade film that allows air to pass through...making it most suitable for situations where there are no sample bars, and it's important that the scent permeates the film. 

Glycerin is a humectant.  An unwrapped bar attracts moisture in a humid environment and promotes the appearance of actual beads of water on the surface, which in turn may promote microbial growth.  In a dry environment, humectants lose moisture, possibly dulling the finish and drying out your product.  

Wrapping melt-and-pour soaps is more diffcult than cold process. Since the make-up of each bar is subject to the whims of the "cook", there is no de facto rule for wrapping them. Some people let their bars cure for longer periods...which is a big plus. When wrapping bars with moist spots...the film tends to stick to the wettest areas...and results in an irregualrity on the film surface. Your bar is still sealed...but wrinkles may mark the wettest spots. It's the nature of the beast. There are some soapers who swear by 100ga Polyolefin. This is a very thick film, more frequently used for "bundling" disparate items together. It's harder to cut, and takes longer to shrink, but will give your M&P bars a relatively smooth, wrinkle-free finish. We now carry pin-perforated PVC, which may be a better choice for M&P where you want to minimize wrinkling, and still allow the scent through. This choice is also the best for candles, where you want the scent to come through. The finish of the film, smooth and glossy, typically looks better against the surface of your candle, and the perforations allow the fragrance through, while still protecting your candles. 
All the perforated films allow air to escape from your package, eliminating the need to manually puncture the film to allow any air trapped inside the package to escape. You can also eliminate this "pillowing" by squeezing the air out (forcing a hole into the film) or purposely melting a tiny hole into the film while shrinking...but the perforated films eliminate this step entirely.

We are ALWAYS willing to include samples of film for your personal experimentation, to see which works best with nyour own formulae. We needn't ship you the full roll that comes with the system until you've had an opportunity to try the different varieties available to you.

For melt & pour varieties that will be sold under conditions of uncontrolled moisture (or dryness!) PVC is actually a better choice...as it protects your bars from "sliming" and drying out. If you do want the scent to come through though, we typically recommend 75 ga polyolefin. It's thick enough to retard the rate of moisture exchange, and thin enough to allow the scent to permeate the film. 100 ga polyolefin offers an even better degree of protection, eliminating almost all of the blistering that occurs when film comes into contact with a wet-spot on a melt & pour bar, but it is a bit more difficult to cut and seal. 75 ga. offers a somewhat-happy medium. 

Of course, if you'll only be selling in a climate-controlled environment, say a store, as opposed to a fairgrounds, or outdoor flea market, then your choice of film isn't quite as important. Merely decide whether you want the scent to come through or not...and decide if you want to gift basket or assemble trays in addition to wrapping individual bars.

For items like Goat's Milk Soap, where rancidity is an issue, we have a pin-perforated 75ga Polyolefin (and PVC)...with micro-perforations that allow air flow, facilitating shrinking of the wrap, as well as protecting your product.

Most melt and pours, like Olive, Aloe, Honey, Oatmeal , and other non low-sweat varieties, should be allowed to dry to the touch before they are wrapped. Curing your bars until dry to the touch eliminates many of the issues with glycerine and other "sticky" melt & pours. 
         
If you only wrap bars and loaves, 60 gauge polyolefin is strong enough to stand up to the handling but thin enough to seal and shrink easily.  For wrapping trays and various containers, 60 gauge polyolefin is a bit on the thin side, so we recommend 75 gauge polyolefin...which will stand up to the sharp corners and edges trays and boxes present.  It's also better to use if you'll be bundling your bars....making single package, multi-bar samplers and promotions.

The customer who "smells" your unwrapped soap and touches their nose to your soap can inadvertently leave a myriad of bacteria behind, that can take on a life of its own, encouraging signs of rancidity (brown spotting, mold growth, or foul odor)....a veritable "flu stew".  For this reason we recommend that you wrap all your soap and leave "tester bars" (unwrapped bars of soap) out for your customers to smell rather than leave all your soap available for ready-access handling.

Please feel free to call 1-800-423-7971 to discuss your application. With the purchase of any system, free samples of any and all films are available.