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What are Can Wraps?


Simply put, a can wrap is a form of covering for beer cans and other similar containers. However, the exact meaning of can wrap can differ depending on the intended use.

For some people, a can wrap is an extra covering used to personalize a can or change the exterior of the can from its original appearance. For others, a can wrap is the main label used for a can. In this case, you have a few different options for your can wraps.

Types of Can Wrap Labels

If you’re looking to brand your products with can wraps, there are two main routes you can go: Pressure sensitive labels or shrink sleeves.

Pressure sensitive can wraps

Pressure sensitive labels are comprised of multiple layers that are married together prior to application. These layers include:

  • Liner – A backing material typically made of paper or plastic film. This liner is the base of the can wrap and is removed to expose the adhesive during application.
  • Release coat – A special coating applied to the top surface of the liner. This release coat allows the liner to easily peel away from the adhesive layer during application.
  • Adhesive – The adhesive used to hold the label to your can. There are multiple types of adhesives available for pressure sensitive can wraps.
  • Face stock – The label material used for the construction of the can wrap that consumers will see. There are many different types of can wrap materials available, including various films and papers.
  • Top coat – The top layer of your can wrap. This top coat is typically a laminate, a special coating, or some other solution to give the can wrap a finished look and protect it from damage.

Pressure sensitive can wraps are printed and delivered in roll form. These wraps are then applied to your cans when the liner is removed and pressure is applied to form a bond between the label and your container.

Beer cans with a pressure sensitive can wrap.

Shrink sleeve can wraps

Unlike pressure sensitive can wraps, shrink sleeves utilize a special film sleeve to adhere to your cans. These sleeves are shrunk with steam or heat to conform to the shape of your can. This process offers a few advantages:

  • 360-degree designs
  • Form fitting sleeves that highlight custom shapes
  • Extra design protection

A key difference with shrink sleeves is that, as the name implies, they come in sleeves where the ink is printed on the inside of the label instead of on the face stock. This method adds an extra layer of protection for your design. However, shrink sleeves will need to be pre-distorted to accommodate the shape of your container when your sleeves are shrunk. Shrink sleeves are also more delicate than pressure sensitive can wraps. Both improper handling and excess temperature and humidity can cause distortion.

Beer cans with a shrink sleeve can wrap going through a filling line.

Identify the Right Can Wraps for Your Containers

Whether you want pressure sensitive labels or shrink sleeves, a good can wrap will make a world of difference for your brand. Of course, there are still plenty of steps required to figure out the right solution for your cans. At Blue Label, our experts work directly with your business to identify the right materials, adhesives, and design considerations to protect your can wraps and maximize the appeal of your product.

Ready to invest in quality, cost-effective can wraps for your business? Contact us today to talk about your labeling needs.