The Handyman's Guide to Improvisation: 7 New Ways to Use Heat Shrink Tubing

 

BY: Christina Hansen

The Handyman's Guide to Improvisation: 7 New Ways to Use Heat Shrink Tubing

 

BY: Christina Hansen

Heat Shrink application

 

If you're into any type of DIY, you've no doubt heard about heat shrink tubing, and probably know that it's the all-purpose wonder to turn to for anything wire or cable-related. Thanks to its customized fit and resistance to moisture and chemicals, heat shrink is able to seal wire splices, harness cables together for easy organization, color-code cords so you can tell them apart, provide much-needed strain relief to cable connectors, and even serve as an adhesive-free label on wires.

As you can imagine, heat shrink tubing is most popular with, and widely used by, the technical crowd. But let's not limit ourselves; after all, heat shrink has found many uses in the automotive world as well. Custom car and motorcycle enthusiasts regularly use it to protect the wiring of aftermarket additions, and employed as a cable and hose overlay, heat shrink tubing can add a professional look and colorful "pop" to your engine bay. But that begs the question: what do you do with heat shrink if you're not a mechanic, electrician, or network installer?

To find an answer to that question, we consulted with CableOrganizer employees and customers, and you'll be amazed at the uses we came up with. These innovative heat shrink applications prove once and for all that necessity is indeed the mother of invention. So read up, get inspired, and find out why heat shrink is a must-have for hobbyists, homeowners, handymen, and everyone in between.

Heat Shrink application

Pencil Grips

One of our customers, who just so happens to work with occupationally impaired children, has told us that heat shrink tubing works extremely well as a pencil grip. Because the children she works with have difficulty with motor skills, many of them write with larger-than-average pencils that can't be fit with standard grips. To make the pencils easier for her students to hold, our customer cuts heat shrink down into shorter lengths, slips the pieces around pencils, and shrinks it into place.

Light Switch Extensions

We recently received a heartwarming product review and innovative suggestion from a customer who is the proud Mom of a beautiful, 3½-year-old little girl with dwarfism. As a result of her smaller-than-average stature, our customer's daughter was unable to reach standard light switches on her own. So Mom came up with the brilliant idea of using heat shrink to attach extenders (made of wire and rigid plastic tubing) to light switches around the house, making it possible for her daughter to turn the lights on and off all by herself.

Curling Iron Repair

Believe it or not, heat shrink tubing can be just as at-home on your bathroom vanity as it is on your garage workbench. If you're wondering how that could ever be the case, then you've probably never had to repair a broken curling iron handle. When one of our employees found that the plastic grip had slipped off her curling iron's clamp, she knew that she had to find a quick fix or otherwise risk burning her hand on hot metal. Luckily, high-temp heat shrink was standing by and ready to help, and to this day, it's still holding that grip firmly to her curling iron.

Heat Shrink application

Tool Handle Grips

What do you do when your hand tools lose their dipped-plastic handle coating and leave you with uncomfortable bare metal? We'll say this much: whatever you do, don't throw them away. If the only things that stand between you and shelling out for a new set of tools are comfortable handgrips, then put that wallet away. Save yourself a small fortune by getting your hands on some heat shrink instead.

Heat shrink tubing can easily be shrunk around tool handles to provide comfortable grips that you'll hardly be able to tell apart from the originals. To ensure that they won't budge, we recommend using adhesive-lined heat shrink, which has an interior coating of extremely strong glue that melts when heat is applied and cools to a long-lasting bond after shrinking is complete.

Repair Your Glasses

What do you do when the arm of your eyeglasses snaps but you're unable to run to the optometrist for a new pair? If you're in the habit of keeping a heat shrink kit around, you don't have to worry, because an extremely effective repair is only seconds away. Just push the broken ends back together, slip a piece of heat shrink tubing around them, and shrink it to size. The resulting splice may not be a permanent fix, but it will leave your glasses solid enough to wear comfortably, and beats the heck out of short-term blindness.

Improve the Grip on Your Pull-Up and Dip Bars

All of you fitness enthusiasts out there will appreciate this one: heat shrink tubing can actually give you a stronger (and not to mention more comfortable) grip on workout equipment like pull-up and dip bars. Since the average pull-up or chin-up bar diameter is 1" to 1½", you'll want to go with heat shrink tubing that has a nominal diameter of anywhere from 1½" to 2" - just measure first to make sure that the heat shrink is big enough to fit around the bar, but not so big that it won't fit snugly when shrunk.

Heat Shrink application

Animal Protection

One of our Customer Service reps recently heard from a livestock-owning customer who uses an electrically charged fence to prevent smaller predatory animals (like foxes and dogs) from mixing with and disturbing his cattle. While the fence worked well to keep less-than-desirable creatures away, it had the unfortunate habit of shocking any cow unlucky enough to chew on the fence’s topmost wire. To prevent his cattle from further injuring themselves, our customer simply slipped heat shrink tubing around the offending wire, and has found that the livestock are feeling far less electrified these days.

Heat Shrink End Caps on Furniture

The most obvious use for heat shrink end caps is to protect wire splices from moisture and corrosion – but what would you say if you could use them to seal the feet of your furniture and protect your floors? We know of a couple whose outdoor furniture set was leaving little rust rings all over their patio. So the creative pair purchased some heat shrink end caps and shrunk them right onto the feet of their chairs. Adios, rust rings.

 

*While the purpose of this article is to share the creative heat shrink uses invented by our customers and employees, CableOrganizer.com does not guarantee the safety of any of the above applications, and will not be held liable for any accident, injury, or property damage sustained as a result of improper or unorthodox heat shrink use.

 

©2014 CableOrganizer.com, LLC. This article may not be reproduced in part or in full without the written permission of CableOrganizer.com.
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