Picture of Reveal Fingerprints Using Super Glue

You've probably seen or read about this before in books or on TV; the grizzled old police detective steps into the scene of the crime and sees the lighter/handgun/baseball bat left behind by the criminal. He takes the evidence home, and with the power of super glue extracts a perfect print and catches the thief. But how does it work? Super glue is made of cyanoacrylate, a substance that, when heated to a vapour, reacts with the oily residue left behind by the pores of the finger to create a fingerprint on a piece of evidence, such as a gun. if the evidence is put in a heated airtight container with high humidity (this is where the dish of hot water comes in) along with super glue the super glue will boil away into the immediate atmosphere and will eventually settle on the residue left behind by the finger. The reaction gives the residue a whitish appearance, making the fingerprint easy to see.

Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up

Step 1: What You Need:

Picture of What You Need:
- A shoe box or similar sized box
- Duct tape or masking tape
- Small container (to hold hot water)
- Super glue
- Scissors
- Tinfoil
- A heat source, such as an incandescent light bulb (I used the base of a lava lamp)
- A piece of "evidence" with a fingerprint on it (smooth, hard materials like plastic, metal and glass work best)

Step 2: Preparation

Picture of Preparation
- Form the tinfoil into a rough dish shape, or just crumple it into a ball and make an indent with your thumb.
- Cut a small hole in the side of the box to accommodate the power cord of your heat source.
- Place the tinfoil dish as close to the heat source as possible, and place the small container opposite it.
- Put your evidence between the tinfoil dish and small container.

Step 3: Developing the Print

Picture of Developing the Print
- Turn on your heat source and allow it to warm up.
- Boil some water and fill your small container with it.
- Squeeze a nickel-sided drop of super glue into the tinfoil dish, then close the box.
- Tape around the lid to make the box airtight. The faster you do this the better.
- Check on the evidence after 30-45 minutes. If nothing has happened, add a little more super glue and wait another 30 minutes.

Step 4: Results

Picture of Results
- When your print is relatively clear remove the evidence from the box and go identify the criminal!
- The container you used to hold the water will have some super glue residue floating on top, so it would probably be a good idea to wash it before using it again.
gluefarm1 year ago

This is a nice and simple . Thanks for sharing....

darrenhall1 year ago
A professional and well laid out instructable - cool too cos I always have super glue around - am off to give it a try.

M3G (author)  darrenhall1 year ago
Thank you! Hope it works well for you.
jumper11112 years ago
Its awesome man!!!!
M3G (author)  jumper11112 years ago