Fingerprinting with Ink

ForensiKit by Crime Scene - Fingerprinting with Ink

The ForensiKit: Fingerprinting with Ink box includes
  • Three disposable ink strips – large
  • Thirty disposable ink strips – small
  • Twenty-five FD258 fingerprint cards
  • Two Child Identification fingerprint cards
  • Five fingerprinting retabs
  • One FX Magnifier Linen Tester
  • Five latex balloons
  • One activity insert (Download another copy [PDF])
  • One packing list (Download another copy [PDF])

No subscription required

ForensiKit by Crime Scene - Printing with Ink box contents

Tips for rolling fingerprints

  • Clean the person’s hands with soap and water before applying the ink or scanning.
    • If the hands are damp, wipe the fingers with rubbing alcohol.
    • If the hands are dry or flaky, moisturize with a small amount of hand lotion and wipe off any excess.
  • Make sure the person is standing comfortably and their forearms are parallel with the floor.
  • Tell the person to look away, relax, and not try to help the rolling process.
Rolling the prints
  1. With your right hand, hold the person’s right hand at the base of the thumb. Cup your hand over the person’s fingers and tuck under the fingers not being printed.
    • Guide the finger being printed with your left hand.
  2. Roll the finger on the ink to cover the whole fingerprint area. Ink should cover
    • from one edge of the nail to the other.
    • from the crease of the first joint to the tip of the finger.
  3. Roll the inked finger on the card. Start from one edge of the finger and roll all the way to the other edge.
    • Do not press down. The weight of the finger is enough pressure to record the print.
    • Roll fingers away from the center of the body.
    • Roll thumb toward the center of the body.
  4. Lift the finger up after rolling to avoid smudging the print

Tips for analyzing fingerprints

Now that you have your prints, you need to try to identify them.

💡 Tip: Create a sheet with 4 columns and label: loop, whorl, arch, and individual features. Use this to record your observations.

  1. Determine which of the three categories the print falls under—loop, whorl, or arch. This is the primary way of classifying a print, initially.
    • loop = leans to the right or left
    • whorl = swirling pattern
    • arch = “hill” shaped
  2. Identify the ridge characteristics in the print.
    • Bifurcations or forks
    • Bridges
    • Dots
    • Ending ridges
    • Enclosures or islands
    • Spurs or hooks
    • Trifurcation
    • Double bifurcation
Fingerprint ridge pattern examples
Fingerprint identification categories
Fingerprint Identification poster available at

For more information, see the Fingerprint Training Manual from the FBI

Need more fingerprint cards?

FD-258 Fingerprint Cards, Applicant

FD-258 Fingerprint Card, front

Need more ink strips?

Ink Foil Strips

Want to level up?

Tread Print Kit

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