Taking Hand Prints – Why and How?

hand print“..… why the examination of the hand rather than an imprint is of little or no use to the expert. It is not possible to make an accurate and detailed examination of the hands just by looking at them, for many of the vital but minute details are not clearly apparent. Further, it is essential to make a studied survey of an imprint at leisure, and to keep detailed account of these markings, for they will change in time, and these changes reveal a great deal.”                                    

This quote by the late palmist Noel Jaquin says it all, almost. I like to take the printing process a step further, by creating a ‘hand chart’, consisting of key words and any perceptions I might have and writing them all down around the set of prints. Drawing (I call it ‘downloading’) hand charts are a fantastic way to accelerate your knowledge of how to interpret the markings on the hands. But the how-to of creating a hand chart will be next months’ topic. For today, we are looking into the easiest way to take inked prints.

When I first began to print people’s palms, the doing of the printing seemed very effortful and difficult. My first clumsy efforts were done with cheap red lipstick which actually works quite well especially if you spray the prints with fixative or hairspray. I still have many a red lipstick palm print in my collection. Eventually I sourced my first printing ‘kit’ consisting of:

1 ink roller – 10cm width works well

Water soluble block/lino printing ink e.g. ROLFES

White copy paper

Tile or glass square

Pen and newspaper

This is how to take clear hand prints:

  • Place a few layers of newspaper onto a table, and position the tile, ink, roller and plain white paper on the newspaper.
  • Hands to be clean, dry and free of jewellery. Stroke their palmar surface to assess the skin texture. Earth and fire skin are drier and need more ink than moist water or smooth air skin.
  • Squeeze a small amount of ink onto the tile, and by using the tile, you spread the ink evenly onto the roller.
  • Take one of your friends’ hands and apply the ink to it, using long strokes. Work the ink into the deeper folds and lines on their hand.
  • Ask them to place their hand onto the white paper, making sure the hand is relaxed, aligned with the wrist, and in its most natural position. They must not press down, just relaxed and natural. If you wish, draw an outline of the hand.
  • Now to ensure that the hollow of the palm is clearly printed, slide the paper (and the hand) off the edge of the table and press upward from beneath the wad of newspaper, with your fingertips, into the hollow of the hand. Peel off the paper from the hand.
  • Make sure that the thumb tip phalange is inked, and let them LIGHTLY press just their thumb onto the paper, using NO rolling or pressure. If you wish, outline the thumb.
  • Repeat this process with their other hand.
  • Write their name, date, date of birth, and are they right or left hand active? Other relevant information would be: scars, moles, warts, nail shapes, hair, flexibility etc. or anything else that seems significant.
Pop in your details and get your

God Given Glyphs ~ Fingerprints