CyberBee Header

History Taking Prints Classifying Prints Dusting

What are Fingerprints?

Now that you know the history of fingerprinting, let's take our own. Then, examine and classify them.

Take a magnifying glass and study the patterns on your fingers.

1. What do you notice?
2. Are the patterns the same on each finger?

Fingerprints are impressions that are created by ridges on the skin. When a person touches an object, the perspiration, oils, and amino acids on the skin are transferred to the object, frequently, leaving an impression of the ridge pattern. This is called a fingerprint. No two people have the same fingerprints, not even identical twins.

Create your own set of fingerprints.

Materials List

The materials you will need to take your fingerprints are as follows:

Magnifying GlassMagnifying glass
TapeTransparent tape
Marking PenMarking pen

Activity Taking a Print

1. Rub a small dark area with a pencil point on a sheet of white paper.

2. Press and rub your right index finger in the pencil-lead dust. 

3. Place the sticky side of a piece of transparent tape on the dusted finger.

4. Take the tape with the fingerprint and tape it to a clean sheet of white paper. 

5. Label the fingerprint to identify which finger you have printed.

6. Continue the process until you have all ten fingers printed.

Fingerprints may also be taken by pressing one finger at a time into an inkpad and then pressing and rolling each finger onto a sheet of white paper. Be sure to label each print. The prints may smudge if not done carefully. Also be sure clothing is protected.
Some employers require a background check using fingerprints. View an example of a background check form with Adobe Acrobat.

Who Dunnit? Home Fingerprinting Powder Analysis Crime Scene Resources
Home Fingerprinting Powder Analysis Teeth Impressions Foot to Height Crime Scene Resources

© 2000 - 2009 All Rights Reserved
Linda C. Joseph and Linda D. Resch