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Making Fingerprints

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How to Take Finger Prints the Easy Way:

I couldn't even guess anymore at how many fingerprints I've taken and/or examined over the years. Most of these used either printers' ink or roller ink for making the prints - methods that take a bit of practice and are not always able to produce clean images.

Here is an easy method for how to make your own clear set of fingerprints. (It's also a great science project for kids.)

  • Step 1: Use a pencil to darken about a 1 inch square section on a piece of paper.
  • Step 2: Rub one fingertip across the graphite-covered section of paper.
  • Step 3: Stick a piece of clear tape onto the darkened finger. (Packing tape works very well, but any clear tape will do.)
  • Step 4: Carefully remove the tape from the fingertip, and stick the tape onto a piece of white paper or card stock.

Repeat with each finger, placing each print onto the same paper. (Two rows of 5 prints per row.) Remember to write down which hand and finger each print is from, and you will have made your own permanent "ID Card". This method also works great for making fingerprints from babies' hands.

These prints work great for hand analysis, because they appear exactly the same as the fingerprints themselves. For other purposes, however, you will have to scan the fingerprints and use their mirror image (flip them over) to make them the same direction as a regular fingerprint card.

Fingerprint cards should be carefully stored in a secure location. Treat them the same way you would any other document of personal identification, such as birth certificates and credit card numbers.

Article written: September 3, 2005
Updated: October 19, 2005

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