The printing technique can be compared with the silkscreen printing technique.
In both techniques ink is pressed through a screen or a stencil. Silkscreen printing is however a manual process, with manual made ink which dries fast. Where as stencilprinting is a more mechanical process with semi-transparent non-drying inks.
One can make use of a digital stencilmachine or a stencilduplicator, which contains one or two ink drums.
Each colour has its own drum, on which a stencil (master sheet) will automaticly be placed around once the image has been melted into the master sheet.
In the old days this was a more analogue mechanical process. Nowadays it has evolved into a more digital mechanical process.
The machine looks like a copy machine; analogue images can be placed and scanned on the copy plate and digital images can be prepared and send by computer. The stencil masters are made of PET and wax. The master will be prepared inside the machine; a raster of choice divides the dots of information of the image and melts this open into the master sheet, which will then be placed automaticly around the drum.
The analogue and charming feel of the technique lies within the type of ink and itâ€™s shifting printing character. The ink is based on soy, pigments and a bit of petrol and does not have the ability to dry completely; therefore the paper needs to be a bit rough (feather-weight paper) in order to absorb the ink. This contributes to the beautiful and vivid printed colours representing its edible charm.
For the masters being thin, it is difficult to print a big edition with the image being printed on the exact same spot, with the exact same idling. Because the ink is unable to really dry -and therefore soaking the paper- there is always a chance it will give off onto the paper or your hands.
The pressure during the printing makes that the fragile master sheet is much easier stretched out, also contributing to the shifting character of the printing technique combined with the smooth ink. No chemicals are used in the printing process and the printing uses much less energy than any other modern digital printing technique.
Stencilprinting is the more environmental friendly printing technique.
All this combined makes the unique characteristics of the stencilprinting technique.