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Fingerprint charm

Hey, Orchidians, I have a customer who wants a gold fingerprint
charm/pendant of her children’s fingerprints. Do any of you have
any ideas how I might go about this? I’ve tried a couple of
different sheet waxes, heating them up and trying to impress my own
fingerprint, but I haven’t yet had any success at getting a really
good impression. If anyone has ever done this before, I would sure
appreciate any suggestions. Thank you. -BK in AK

You might try scaning the fingerprint onto PNP & then acid etching
it. The either positive or negitive image could the be aniqued or
otherwise increased in contrast. I have done this with line drawings
it should work for a fingerprint image.

Mark Chapman
White Wolf Jewelry Arts

You may want to consider trying 24K gold PMC. A mold can be made
using polymer clay to capture the fingerprints. Then, the PMC is
pressed into the mold to make the charms/pendants. I’ve had students
do this very successfully using silver clay. The primary difference
would be the shrinkage rate - 30% vs 10%.

I’ve done this before for customers. I use Precious Metal Clay and
get the exact finger print. You can use pure gold (which is extremely
costly) or use the silver clay. If the customer wants it in gold
then mold the silver pieces and cast as needed. If you’d like to get
more detailed you can contact me off line. This is a fun
project because it is so personal, good luck, I’d be
happy to help any way I can!

Try using PMC gold. It’s like clay and it fires to a pure gold
afterwards. Takes just about any impressions. Also in Silver.

You could do this quite successfully in PMC, which comes in gold and
silver. You can read up on posts by people who’ve done it at the
forums at PMC Standard takes textures the best,
but shrinks 28%. PMC+ shrinks only 12%. You can buy it from Rio
Grande, PMC Connection.

Then once it’s fired you can solder on a jump ring.

Elaine Luther
Chicago area, Illinois, USA
Metalsmith, Certified PMC Instructor
Studio 925; established 1992

Hi Brent, Children’s fingerprints on precious metal is very popular
right now. Many are using PMC to impress the child’s fingerprint on.
PMC consists of .999 silver or 24k gold particles suspended in an
organic binder with water. It has the consistency of porcelain clay.
You roll out a small amount, press the child’s finger (a thumb print
works best for young children) let the clay dry and fire in a kiln.
The gold PMC needs to fire at 1850F for two hours. After firing you
polish. Your finished product will be 24k gold or .999 silver. Rio
Grande carries PMC and all supplies you need to make the charm.

Please contact me if you need any further

Judi Anderson
PMC Technical Liaison
Rio Grande

I’ve never used it, but this sounds like a perfect job for PMC
(precious metal clay). I believe there is a torch fired version of
it that would not require a kiln.

Gail Middleton
Brooklyn, NY

I’ve done this before by taking an ink fingerprint, scanning it into
my computer, cleaning up the print so only line are present then
creating toolpaths that follow the lines of the print . It’s really
quite easy but requires some sort of engraving machine. In this case,
I’m engraving into metal, then just pressing wax onto the metal so it
takes an impression. Works pretty well!

Jeffrey Everett

I’m sure others will suggest this, too, but you could do them in 24k
gold PMC. You would have shrinkage, so if she didn’t mind that, they
would otherwise be perfect replicas.

Carrie Otterson

Fingerprints are the way I sign and copyright some my wax work for
castings. I use either beeswax or Victory Brown sculpture wax. Beeswax
smells better, is easy to get and is not as sticky as the Victory
Brown. For your fingerprint charm take a piece of the soft wax about
the size of the charm you want. Knead it between your fingers,
squeezing and pressing it to warm it and soften it. After a minute or
so it will go from being stiff to pliable. Roll wax into a ball
between fingers then squish it it to the shape of pendant you want.
One final squeeze between the fingers you want to make the
fingerprint of and you have it. You can add on a way to hang charm or
work a hole into it with a pencil. Bamboo tools also work well as
they do not stick to the soft wax very well. If you don’t like it just
re-knead it and try again. Attach sprue on the edge. After the wax
sits for a few minutes it will stiffen back up. Hope this helps.

BK I made one a few years back and I believe I used friendly plastic.
You warm it up in hot water pull it out and stick the kids finger in
it then stick the kids hand with the friendly plastic on their finger
in cold water. You can trim the excess of with scissors. Make sure
the plastic is not too hot or you might burn the kid try it on
yourself. You can then sprue and cast the plastic directly. I believe
Rio Grande sells it under another name.

I saw a photoetching system in Rio Grande catalogue. I don’t own
it, but it looks like you could get the kids fingerprints on a sheet
of paper and with the photo etch system, transfer to gold. Cool
idea. Good luck



I am a newby on Orchid and a newby to CAD/CAM. I am working with an
engraving machine that also has some milling and 3-D capability.
With my limited knowledge at this point, I would begin with a high
contrast picture of a fingerprint and download it into my CAD
software. From there it can be vectorized and simlpy be engraved
onto a charm. Jeffrey Everret and George Neil can no doubt offer
much more.

Mike Buckner
Creative Engraving


Dip the finger(s) in olive oil or cooking oil, wipe off the excess.
Use warmed beeswax to get the impression…

Brian P. Marshall
Stockton Jewelry Arts School
2207 Lucile Ave.
Stockton, CA 95209
209-477-0550 Workshop/Studio/Classrooms

My dentist was taking an impression of my upper teeth using that
stuff that gets rubbery–alginate?–and used the excess to make a
mold of my daughter’s thumb. He cast it in dental plaster, which
picked up all the detail, including her little thumbprint. Made a
great show-and-tell item.


Can’t say I’ve done it, but I imagine the problem is that if your
wax is soft enough to press in a good fingerprint, then the wax
sticks to the finger enough so the impression gets messed up. Is
that about right?

I’d try with a soft red 'boxing wax", worked as a kneaded lump till
quite soft, and then press the finger into that. But use some sort of
separating agent. Not sure which of these would work better, but I’d
try either spraying a bit of silicone mold release spray on the
finger, or on the lump of wax, or both, before pressing, or perhaps
dusting a good layer of cornstarch or baby powder (same thing) on
both the wax and the finger before pressing. blow off excess powder
before pressing, so it doesn’t mar the image.

If that doesn’t work, a separating agent that has worked for
pressing harder things into wax, is saran wrap. But for very fine
details like a fingerprint, I’d bet that would get in the way.

Also, before giving up on what you get, cast the thing. In the wax,
I’ll bet the pattern doesn’t look as sharp and crisp as it will once
cast in metal. Consider, after all, how smooth a nicely filed carving
wax model can look before casting, but after casting, the texture left
on the wax by the file, which looked quite smooth in the wax, is much
more apparent on the metal.


Try to add a little injection wax on a small flat sheet of metal or
piece of glass and quickly press your finger into it.?You will have
a perfect duplication of your fingerprint.?You can trim to make the
shape you desire.


I have used a wax in the past (unfortunately I don’t remember the
name) that was a little thicker than silly putty. It was a red
sculpting wax that came in a jar. It warms up and becomes pliable
in your hand, so I would think that it would take a finger print.
The closest thing I found in rio was the “Sculpt Wax” “This
workable wax is designed for sculpting and hand -forming designs.
Warms in your hands…” I haven’t used this kind, but it sounds
very similar to the red stuff. Tracey Silver City, NM

Hi Brent, in my opinion the best way to have it is with alginate. It
is the same material the dentists use to get the correct impressions
of the mouth. You will get the perfect impressions of the finger. You
could buy it at same places dentists buy his materials. Alginate is a
powder and you have to mix with water. After it was mixed you have to
get the impressions immediatly and wait 3 minutes to retire the
finger of the alginate. If you have any doubts how to work with this
material just ask me and I will help you.


P.S.: I am sorry about my english I am from Brazil and my english is
not very good