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Best Practices for Taking Fingerprints


Have you ever wondered how to take your own fingerprints, or do you need to have them taken and don’t know how? We’re here to help. Discover all you need to know about collecting high-quality fingerprints—and why you might need to—below.


Why You May Need to Take Fingerprints

Taking fingerprints is a common task that many people will need to do throughout their lifetime—and there are several different reasons why. For example, you may need to use your fingerprints as proof of identity, for official recordkeeping, or even for personal art projects.


You may also want to collect the fingerprints of your parents, siblings, or children so that you can have them engraved on Fingerprint Jewelry, which is a beautiful and popular way for families to feel connected.


Step-by-Step How to Take Fingerprints

Taking fingerprints is simple, and can be completed in just a few easy steps:


  1. Get a sheet of clean paper and a pad of human-safe ink. Not sure what to use? We can send you a free fingerprinting kit with everything you need.
  2. Firmly press the desired finger onto the ink pad, then remove it.
  3. Press your inked finger onto the paper.
  4. Pull your finger straight up off of the paper to avoid smearing.
  5. Repeat with other fingers until you capture 3-4 good prints.


For further details on collecting fingerprints, please visit our fingerprinting guide.


Tips for Getting the Best Fingerprints

Getting good fingerprint images takes time and practice. Below are our top tips for collecting clear, beautiful fingerprints.

  • Choose a Non-Dominant Finger: The lines and grooves of the fingerprints on your dominant fingers can become worn with time and use. To help get the clearest fingerprint possible, try using a finger on your non-dominant hand.
  • Use a Dark Ink on White Paper: For best results, be sure to use a dark colored ink (ideally black) on white paper. This will allow for the best contrast so that the fingerprint pattern can easily be seen.
  • Take Multiple Fingerprints: It will take a little practice to get the perfect fingerprint image. Experiment with different fingers and pressures until you find the right one.
  • Moisturize Your Hands a Few Days Prior: Prioritize putting lotion on your hands a few days prior to when you want to collect prints. The moisture helps emphasize the pattern of your print when you take it. However, be sure to NOT apply lotion right before taking your prints, as the added oils can interfere with the ink and make it hard to get a clear image.


What if My Loved One Has Died and I Need Their Fingerprints?

Many funeral homes collect the fingerprints of the people they care for. Most of the time, this is done so that the family can have the option to create a memorial with their late Loved One’s fingerprint.


If you have lost a Loved One, reach out to the funeral home and ask if fingerprints were collected. They should be able to provide you with a copy if they are available.