Poly(vinyl alcohol) films from 15% w/w aqueous solutions and a thickness of 0.2 mm were selected for this study. The films were first humidified and then acetalized and/or gamma irradiated. Then, their physical properties were tested. Tensile strength of the hydrogel films reached its maximum value in samples irradiated with a 80 kGy dose, in the case of acetalized films the dose necessary for maximum tensile strength was only 40 kGy. The combination of acetalization with formaldehyde and gamma radiation produced an elastic hydrogel with good tackiness and excellent mechanical and thermal strength.