Non-toxic ink pad
Light-colored balloon (you also can use paper)
Magnifying glass (optional)
Roll your finger from side to side in the ink pad.
Press your finger, flatly and firmly, on the deflated balloon. Lift your finger off without smudging the ink.
Blow up the balloon.
Examine the ridges of your fingerprint, which has expanded on the balloon. You can use a magnifying glass to get a better look. Compare your fingerprint to the examples in the next steps to see if you have a loop, whorl, or arch.
The loop is the most common type of fingerprint. The ridges form elongated loops. Some people have double loop fingerprints, where the ridges make a curvy S shape.
In a whorl fingerprint, the ridges form a circular pattern.
Arch fingerprints have ridges that form a hill. Some arches look like they have a pointed tent shape. Arches are the least common type of fingerprint.
Make prints for all your fingers. Do you have the same type of fingerprints on each finger? Are any of your fingerprints hard to identify? Visit the FBI website (www.fbi.gov/kids/k5th/whatwedo3.htm) for more photos to help identify your fingerprints.
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