Lifting Fingerprints

Though I’m sure we’ve all heard of a detective pulling prints off of various objects to catch criminals, lifting fingerprints is in fact something that anyone can do with the proper materials. Since our fingerprints are unique

To lift fingerprints from an object, you need:

  • Clear tape
  • A glass (cleaned with a dust cloth)
  • Powder (we used talc-free body powder, but you can also use chalk, baby powder, or cocoa powder)
  • Paper (since we used body powder, which is white, we used black paper for maximum contrast– if you use cocoa powder, white paper is ideal)
  • A makeup brush (or any fine brush with soft bristles)
  • An empty container


Pour a small amount of the powder into the empty container. Clean the glass with the dust cloth to clean off any old prints. Carefully press one of your fingers onto the clean glass– note where you touched the glass for later. Dip the makeup brush into the powder, making sure to coat the tips of the brush with powder. Tap the brush against the side of the container to remove excess powder. Gently, so as not to rub the print away, brush the powder onto the area of the glass where you left the fingerprint. When you have covered the area, blow away the excess powder. Place a piece of the clear tape over the now exposed print. Press it down over the print, then remove it. You should see the print on the piece of tape as you remove it. Place the piece of tape on the piece of paper, and you’re finished!

Why this happened:

Our fingerprints are comprised of triglycerides, amino acids, fatty acids, and water. This means that they are the result of oil and sweat that comes from our skin. The powder, when applied to the glass, sticks to the oil in the fingerprint. Et voilĂ , you can see your fingerprints!


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