You're at the scene of a crime, but you left the fingerprint kit at the office. No need to worry. Using common household items and a little ingenuity, you can improvise to get solid fingerprints from a crime scene.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Feather or fine hair brush
- Transparent tape
- Large white index card or piece of paper
Look for objects that can potentially carry fingerprints. Fingerprints leave better impressions on smooth objects. These items hold the best prints: glass, painted surfaces, metal, linoleum, varnished woods and paper.
Grind some graphite power from a pencil. Using a knife, break the lead from a pencil into tiny pieces. Use a coin on a flat surface to grind the pieces into a fine powder.
Sprinkle the powder onto your object. Lay the object on a flat table and gently coat the surface of the object with a fine layer of graphite powder.
Reveal the fingerprint. Lightly dust the powder off the surface with a feather. The powder will stay attached to the oils from the suspect's skin, and a fingerprint should take shape. Be sure to dust very lightly, or you may dust away the fingerprint.
Transfer the fingerprint. Holding a small strip of transparent tape at both ends, place the tape over the fingerprint. Press it down for a moment, then carefully pull the tape up from one end. The fingerprint will transfer onto the tape.
Place the tape face down on an index card. Repeat the process for each finger you can find prints for on the object, and place them on the same card.