How to Dust for Fingerprints. Dusting for fingerprints can uncover information used to identify an unknown victim, witness, or suspect; to verify records; and to establish links between a suspect and a crime. Since no two fingerprints are alike, dusting for fingerprints is a highly accurate method of identifying individuals at a crime scene.
Identify the surface area that you want to dust for fingerprints. Fingers are coated with perspiration and oil. When fingers touch any relatively smooth surface, the friction releases the oil from between the ridges and a print is left.
Pour a small amount of powder on a piece of paper. Use a powder whose color contrasts with the surface color. You can try a white powder on a dark surface and a black powder on a light surface.
Shake the brush so the bristles spread apart.
Dip the tip of the brush in the powder, and then gently tap the brush's handle to remove excess powder.
Run the brush's bristles lightly over the powdered surface in short and quick strokes.
Unroll the cellophane tape and gently press it on top of the print.
Pull the tape away from the print in one quick and fluid motion, and apply the tape with the print attached to a piece of paper.
You can obtain the best fingerprints from dusting wood, metal, glass, plastics, and tile surfaces. Dusting for fingerprints is less successful on paper, cardboard and leather surfaces.
Never pour powder directly from a jar onto the surface area you're dusting for fingerprints. Too much powder can contaminate the prints.