Assembling a Fingerprint Kit
Let’s take a look at what you need for basic fingerprint kit. This kit should include different types of powders and brushes to identify prints on different surfaces. For basic prints, you need black powder and a fingerprinting brush. Light color powders provide contrast, so they can be useful when prints appear on dark surfaces. If you do use different color powders, you need a dedicated brush for each color powder to avoid contamination. You also need magnetic powder and a magnetic powder applicator. Magnetic powders are sometimes more effective on rough, grained, or porous surfaces, which could become heavily coated with regular powder. You should also include fluorescent powder and a feather brush. This type of powder is used on multicolored surfaces, like soda and beer cans which can present a contrast problem. Note that you also need an alternate light source or a UV light when you use fluorescent powder. When working with any of the powders, you need disposable dust masks and nitrile or latex gloves. You also need a small hand-held magnifier to view the prints.
Once you have the prints, you need to lift them. For smooth surfaces like glass, you need 2” and 4” lifting tape. For multi-contoured surfaces, such as light bulbs and door knobs, you also need 1½” polyethylene tape.
After you have lifted the prints, you need to store them on backing cards. For black powder, use white backing cards. For light colored and fluorescent powder, use black backing cards. Magnetic powdered lifts are placed on contrasting colored backing cards.