How-To Tuesday: How To Find Fingerprints Like a Super Sleuth (Plus a Giveaway!)

Posted by Suzanne Wallace

Hey there, kids (and kids-masquerading-as-adults)! Have you ever pretended to be a spy? Don’t lie, of course you have. For one thing, spies have gadgets, and gadgets make you cool. I bet you didn’t know you could make your own secret agent devices at home, though!

In the Nick and Tesla series, “Science Bob” Pflugfelder and Steve Hockensmith combine creative inventions with thrilling adventure stories. The third book in the series, Nick and Tesla’s Secret Agent Gadget Battle, just released on May 6. And now you can try out your own snooping skills by making your own Fingerprint-Finder System! Read on to learn how, and to enter a giveaway to win the first three books!

(By the way, you can visit to learn more about the books, watch Science Bob in action, and submit your own gadget-making projects.)

Fingerprint-Finder Powder and Evildoer Identification System

The Stuff

• A fine emery board (also known as a nail file)

• A sharpened pencil

• An object you suspect might have fingerprints on it

• Gloves (optional)

• Clear tape

• An index card

The Setup

1. Hold the emery board and pencil over the object you’re examining and lightly scratch the pencil lead with the emery board to create a fine powder on the object’s surface. If anyone has touched it, the sweat and oil on their skin will have left impressions in the shape of the tiny (and completely unique) ridged pattern on their fingers. If you have to move the object, wear gloves to keep your own prints off it.

2. If you see a fingerprint, continue to scratch the pencil on the nail file until the print is fully revealed. Sometimes lightly blowing on the object helps spread the powder.

The Final Steps

1. To preserve the fingerprint as evidence, apply a piece of tape to the print and lift it off the object. Tape the print onto an index card and write down where you found it.

2. Analyze the fingerprint, looking for the three basic formations: arches, loops, and whorls.

3. Gather fingerprints from your suspects. The clearest prints will be on smooth surfaces, like glass.

4. Compare the prints.

5. Catch the culprit!

Giveaway time! Enter the Rafflecopter below to win the first three books in the series!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Suzanne Wallace

Suzanne Wallace

Suzanne is cursed with the ability to spell almost any word. When she’s not churning out press releases, Suzanne enjoys fairy tales, Welsh Corgis, and baking pastries at 3AM. She has spent her entire life searching for an entrance to Narnia. If you've seen any mysterious wardrobes, please let her know. You can email her at [email protected].