Lifting Fingerprints

Suggested Grades



Students will examine the uniqueness of each other’s fingerprints through the dusting and lifting of them.


  • stamp pads
  • pieces of white paper
  • talcum powder
  • fine paintbrushes
  • clear cellophane tape
  • shiny black paper


  • Give each student some talcum powder, a fine paintbrush, some tape and shiny black paper.
  • Ask students to wander around the classroom and dust for fingerprints. Dust the talcum powder lightly on hard surfaces, blow the talcum powder gently so that the excess talcum powder blows away and the powder that sticks to the fingerprint stays. Very carefully, brush the powdered spots with the fine paintbrush until the fingerprint shows. This may take some practice.
  • To keep the fingerprint, press a piece of tape over it and peel it away with the powdered finger print on it. Stick the tape on the shiny black piece of paper, so it can be seen easier.
  • Ask student to try to collect as many different prints as they can.
  • Extension: Ask students to use stamp all of their fingers on a stamp pad and give each student in the class a sample of their fingerprints. Compare these fingerprints to those that were dusted and lifted. Can anyone find an exact match?