There is no better partner for heat shrink tubing than a trusty heat gun. They give superior control letting you apply heat shrink tubing quickly, evenly and accurately.   

If you are regularly applying heat shrink tubing or you have a large area of heat shrink material to cover then having your own heat gun is essential.

But if you ever find yourself without a heat gun there are some ways that you can apply heat shrink tubing to your target.

Just as the A-Team seemed to be able to solve any problem with a few basic materials, so you will be able to solve your heat shrink application problem with some bits you may find around the office or on-site.

Use a hairdryer

You can use a normal hairdryer as if it was a heat gun to activate your heat shrink. It will take a lot longer than using a heat gun, especially if you only have a basic hairdryer.

Hold the hair dryer as close as possible to the heat shrink and crack it up to its hottest setting. Make sure you heat the tubing evenly until it contracts to your desired size.

Use a Bic lighter

This isn’t the most professional solution, and it definitely isn’t recommended in tight environments. But if you were really desperate and a lighter was the only thing around then it can work quickly and cleanly. Just watch your fingers.

If you want more control and a hotter flame, then try a butane lighter.

Use a light bulb

In a worst-case scenario, when no hairdryer and no lighter is available, you can manipulate heat shrink and fit it into place using a hot light bulb.

Hold the heat shrink close to the high watt light bulb and wait for it to melt into place.

Use a process heater

Process heaters are larger, more expensive and less portable than heat guns. But they are also more powerful, and far more efficient if you are seeking to manipulate a lot of heat shrink.

They are especially useful in process intensive environments, such as on production lines when lots of heat shrink material needs to be fitted.