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How to Take a Good Fingerprint

Updated April 17, 2017

The reasons for needing to take a good fingerprint range from personal to legal reasons to identification purposes. Whatever reason, you don't need professional tools and skills to take a good impression of your own or someone else's fingerprints. With the help of some office supplies, and by carefully following a few steps, you can easily take a good fingerprint that is legible and appears professional.

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  1. Wash your hands with soap and water and dry them thoroughly. Make sure that all of the tools you will be using are clean as well.

  2. Pour a small dab of ink onto the flat part of a glass or metal plate. You can use any type of ink you have available, such as printer cartridge ink.

  3. Take the rubber ink roller and roll it over the dab of ink, spreading it evenly across the surface of the plate. Make sure that there is enough ink on the plate for as many prints as you need to take.

  4. Set out the card onto which you will be transferring the prints next to the plate. Hold it in place with a small heavy object, such as a paperweight, or a fingerprint card holder.

  5. Place your fingers, one at a time, into the ink that has been rolled out across the plate, pressing each one gently with an even amount of pressure into the ink so that your entire print will be equally covered.

  6. Roll the fingers you need to have imprinted across your card. Roll the fingers on your right hand from right to left, and roll the fingers on your left hand from left to right.

  7. Remove your fingers from the card. In order to take the best print possible, lift each finger off of the card quickly with an upward movement. Be sure not to drag any of your fingers, as it will cause smearing.

  8. Check your print impressions for clarity. A good print should be clear and have certain defined finger print patterns, including loops which have core and delta shapes, arches, whorls, along with variations of pattens.

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Things You'll Need

  • Finger
  • Soap
  • Water
  • Ink
  • Rubber ink roller
  • Flat plate
  • Index card
  • Fingerprint card holder / Small heavy object

About the Author

Aletha Reil has a bachelor's degree in English with a concentration in creative writing from Canisius College in Buffalo, N.Y. She has been writing for more than three years and is currently working as a women's fitness columnist for a prominent website.

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