Thursday, April 28, 2011

And it's here.

So I just want to say thanks again for all the interest in the fingerprint art! And I'm sorry I made you guys wait so long for the tutorial. Right now Matt is making French toast for dinner so I can take a minute to get this bad boy up.

First off, I think the best way to take a fingerprint is with pencil and tape. So, rub some pencil on a piece of paper. Rub your finger in the graphite. Your fingertip should be fully covered with a thin coat of graphite.


Then you want to press tape to your finger to get the print. You want to do it lightly as you want the print to take to the tape just right and not smudge. You may have to press lightly around the edges of your fingertip in order to get a full print. Scotch tape worked great for me, but Matt has huge hands and fingers and we needed to use packing tape, so if you have one on hand and not the other, both should work just fine. Don't worry if the print doesn't look right, you can start over by rubbing your finger in the graphite again. It took me a few tries to get good, clear prints.


Then you're going to want to stick the tape to white paper and scan the print. Everyone's scanner and software is going to be a little different, but I'll show you how I did mine.

I scanned it, and selected the image:

Screen shot 2011-04-28 at 4.33.49 PM

Once the image was selected, I adjusted the size.

Screen shot 2011-04-28 at 4.35.17 PM

I wanted mine to be about 6x6 to fit into the 5x5 frames I had. So you'll need to adjust the size according to how large you want your image.

Screen shot 2011-04-28 at 4.36.09 PM

This is what it looks like enlarged:

Screen shot 2011-04-28 at 4.37.09 PM

Then, I upload to I know Picnik gets a lot of flack as not being legit enough, but I don't have Photoshop and it certainly does the trick. If you know Photoshop, you can probably do this a million times better than I'm able to with Picnik.

Once in Picnik, I turn the sharpness all the way up to clean it up a little bit.

Screen shot 2011-04-28 at 4.40.44 PM

Then I up the contrast. If you up the contrast too much, it won't look right, so you'll need to find the right balance for your fingerprint.

Screen shot 2011-04-28 at 4.41.35 PM

Then, you save it and print it and it should look something like the one below. Make sure you print on cheap, flimsy computer paper. You'll see why in just a second.


Then I just traced the fingerprint with a Sharpie.


You're probably thinking that it doesn't look all that great. But if you flip the paper over, it looks much cleaner.


Yup, Sharpie bleeds right through cheap paper. To me it's perfect because it looks just like ink on paper.

And once you get the fingerprint all colored in and flip the paper over and put a frame around it, you'll get this:

When I started I was worried tracing the fingerprint would be really time consuming, but I finished both in less than an hour. No, it's definitely not perfect, but it beats all of the gorgeous yet ridiculously expensive (at $200+!!) custom fingerprint art on Etsy. I hope no one is disappointed with how ridiculously simple this is!! Please let me know if you have any questions about it!

Oh, and if you want your actual fingerprint and not the reverse (which I did for our original ones), you can reverse the image in the beginning so when you trace the fingerprint and flip it, it's facing the right way. Or you can scan the flipside after it's all traced and scan that, and flip the image.

Now I'm off to clean the house and watch the last episode of The Office with Steve Carell. Anyone else ridiculously sad about it?


  1. THis is totally genius! I am a new follower and this totally just hit the "must make it" list! Thank you so much for sharing. I love the simplicity and personalizantion!

  2. What an AMAZING idea! I love that! You are so creative.

  3. So amazing! I can't wait to try this! (And for the record, I bawled my face off watching The Office tonight! *sigh*)

  4. Great tutorial! Thank you so much for putting it up because this is a project I definitely want to tackle.

  5. What a great idea and great tutorial thank you for sharing the how-to! I so so so want to do this I am crazy for meaningful art for around the house I am always making all kinds of stuff along these lines----great idea!
    Crafty Scrappy Happy

  6. mmm now i can't stop thinking about french toast!!

    this tutorial is amazing! i can't believe how simple it is! thanks for sharing :)

  7. You are a genius. I can't believe that it was sooo easy to do. Good one on you missy. :)

  8. So great!! Thanks for sharing :)

  9. LOVE it!! I'll be doing this for sure - off to post it on FB

  10. Love that it is pretty easy to do! :) Thank you!

  11. That is awesome! I definitely might have to try that. What did you think of "The Office?" I wasn't upset he was leaving because I think the show's gone downhill in the last two seasons, but I did get a little choked up!

  12. Thanks for the tutorial. I really love this and just might have to try it.

  13. Following from weekend blog hop. I love your little love sayings in your blog.
    The last Office episode was great. I teared up.

  14. I am doing this for my twin girls' room! I just got their prints onto tape, but I have a question. Do I stick the tape to white paper before I scan it?


  15. Yes Gina, you do! I better edit the tutorial to add that in. Thanks so much!

  16. LOVE THIS! Sorry its been a while that I have stopped in and said hi! Your blog is as cute as ever! :)

  17. Wow! This is an awesome idea! Thanks for the detailed tutorial!

  18. What a great idea and easy-to-follow tutorial! Thanks so much for sharing your secret! :)

    BTW - I'm a new follower from FTLOB. I already love your blog; filled with creativity! I look forward to reading along and learning more about you!


  19. Great! Definitely something I will be doing during the summer break.

  20. So cute and creative! Thanks for joining us on the blog hop today! :)

  21. Following you from the blog hop and I am glad I saw your blog on there! I LOVE this!

    Also, you should totally sell them on Etsy for far cheaper than the going rate haha ;) undercut the competition :P.

  22. Oh my gosh you are too kind to share this tutorial!! I am super excited to have this artwork in my home, THANKS!!!

  23. Love it!! I have been waiting axiously for the tutorial and it certainly did not dissapoint! :) These are awesome and I am loving how simple and inexpensive they are! I am definitely trying this! :)

  24. LOVE LOVE LOVE This idea! I just came across your blog tonight and you have fantastic ideas! I'm totally inspired and can't wait to see what else you post. And yes, I was very sad to see Steve Carrell leave the office (which was now a few weeks ago). Although the show will never be the same without him, I hope it'll be great it's own new way.

  25. Very happy find it because I want to do this I am crazy for meaningful art for around the house I am always making all kinds of stuff along these lines. It is very beautiful idea.

  26. Found you at Lisa Mende are brilliant! Totally doing this for myself and a client!! Don't tell them how easy it is!! New follower, too!
    Joanne @ Homestyling101