How to Shrink Vinyl

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Covering items with vinyl provides you with a strong and durable protective surface that absorbs damage from normal use while giving you a nonslip, easily gripped surface to hold onto in the process. While there are a number of ways to attach vinyl to a surface, using a heat-shrink sleeve gives you the closest fit. Vinyl shrunk into place with a heat gun conforms tightly to the object on which you shrink it, leaving no wiggle room for slippage. The application process is a quick one, giving you the coverage you desire in a matter of minutes with removal needing little more than a cut along the seam before peeling the vinyl away.

Things You'll Need

  • Heat-shrink vinyl sleeve
  • Heat gun
  • Utility knife

Slide the vinyl into place, covering the object onto which you wish to shrink the vinyl.

Hold a heat gun about 4 inches from the vinyl with the nozzle of the gun pointed directly at the vinyl surface at a 90-degree angle.

Trigger the heat gun to begin the flow of heat towards the vinyl surface. Move the heat gun slowly over the vinyl surface, keeping a constant flow of heat directed towards the vinyl to begin the shrinking process. Keep the heat moving to avoid burning the vinyl and to keep the vinyl shrinking evenly over the surface.

Watch the vinyl while heating. The wrinkles in the vinyl surface will shrink away, and then the vinyl will tighten over the surface, assuming the shape of the surface beneath.

Release the heat gun trigger and turn the unit off after shrinking the vinyl to a tight skin-like covering over your object. Trim off any excess vinyl with a utility knife, and then apply a short blast of heat to the trimmed section to shrink that area to fit as well.

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