Take Your Handprints
In an art or office supply store--or on Amazon--, an ink pad costs between $3 and $10 USD, and a roller between $5 and 12 USD. Keep reading to find out how to use this equipment to take your own handprints. If someone is helping you, it will be even easier.
The Print-Taking Process
- An ink pad
- A roller
- Newspapers to protect the table on which you will take your prints
- At least four sheets of standard format white paper
- Running water nearby, with paper towels and liquid dish detergent
1. Remove any jewellery from your hands and wrists and roll up your sleeves. I suggest you start taking prints of your non-dominant hand (the left hand for 90% of the population.)
3. To take the actual print, place your inked, left hand down in the middle of one of the white sheets of paper, in a natural position. Use your right hand to press firmly down on the back of your left palm (press only once to avoid smudges).
5. Before removing your hand, hold the paper down on the table with heavy objects at the top of the sheet, and two fingers of your right hand at the bottom of the sheet. This will keep your left hand from sticking to the paper. Lift up your left hand in a quick, vertical motion.
7. Don’t wash your left hand yet. Wear a disposable glove on this hand or, if you don’t have any, put your hand in a plastic bag, and tie it with an elastic band around your wrist.
8. Repeat the entire process (2 to 7), taking prints of your right hand.
When you have taken clear prints of both hands, clean your hands using the following 3-part process:
2) Repeat the first step – again without water – and dissolve most of the ink before wiping off your hands a second time.
3) Wash your hands normally with soap and water. Your hands should now be clean!
You can use the same process to clean the roller for next use.
Don’t forget to write your full name and the current date on each print. If you are getting your prints analyzed, specify whether you are right-handed or left-handed (i.e., the hand you sign with).
If you want to scan your prints to send them by email, choose a resolution of at least 300 ppi (pixels per inch) and make sure the ink is dry before you start the scan.
If you don’t have a scanner, take photos of the prints with an app like Office Lens.
Problems and Solutions
Taking good handprints requires a bit of practice. You may run into a few problems that can be easily fixed. Please download the 4-page PDF document that provides solutions for the following problems:
- A hole in the middle of the palm
- Double lines or smudges
- Parts that shouldn’t appear on the print
- Pressing too hard
- Rolled fingertips
- Printing of the thumb
- Indented edges of the hand
- Rolled fingertips
- Outline of Luna and Mars Negative
- Ambivalent prints
- Hand opening
- Distorted photos
Click on picture to access PDF document
Don’t hesitate to take many prints. As Immanuel Kant said, “The hand is the visible part of the brain.” You probably know that our hands change all the time, reflecting what is happening in our brain and our life. Consequently, handprints are actually a snapshot of what is happening within you at a specific time of your life. Isn’t it worth spending a little time and effort on taking the best snapshot possible?
Happy Hand Printing!
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