In the Martin & Sylvia story, “Spy Team,” Martin's friend Julian is coming over, and Sylvia knows that he loves to play spies. Sylvia likes spies too, but she really wants to be on Martin and Julian's team — not by herself. When Julian suggests that they all play together, Martin wonders who they will spy on. Their solution makes for an exciting afternoon.
As the children discover in the story, simple misdirection is a valuable skill in a spy's arsenal. Do you know another skill set spies must be able to use? Science!
From chemistry to computers, spies must be well-versed in science in order to complete their missions. This week's craft project brings a classic strategy of spy science — collecting fingerprints — into your kitchen.
It's really more of an experiment than a “project.” Go into your kitchen cabinets and collect two or three ingredients that could be used as fingerprint powder. Then, experiment to see which one works best. A little butter will get you nice, sticky fingerprints, and a few old makeup brushes will help create a real spy-science atmosphere.
At our house, we found that powdered turmeric actually made the best fingerprint powder. Baking powder was good, but not bright enough to see, while the cocoa powder we tried smeared too easily.
What different kinds of fingerprint powder will your small spies discover in your house?
Super Spy Fingerprint Powder
A few different powders from your kitchen (we used cocoa powder, baking powder, and powdered turmeric)
Small spice tin or bowl
Thin pat of butter
Smooth sided drinking glass
1-2 old makeup brushes
A tray or work surface that you don't mind getting dusty
Put a few teaspoons of the first powder that you want to try into the spice tin. (This is to avoid contaminating the larger containers.)
Gently rub your finger over the pat of butter, then carefully press the same finger onto the drinking glass.
As much as possible, try to press your finger straight down and pull it straight up to avoid smudging the print.
Working over your tray, use a makeup brush to collect a bit of powder from the tin, and tap the brush over the top of the fingerprint. Once the fingerprint is lightly covered in powder, blow gently to remove the excess.
You should now have a buttery fingerprint, covered in powder. Does the powder make it easier to see the fingerprint? Repeat this process a few times with different powders, taking note of which ones make the fingerprint stand out the most.
To do so, put a piece of tape over the top of a fingerprint on the glass, and carefully pull it off. Again, try to press the tape straight down and pull it straight up so that you don't smudge the print.
Stick the tape to the piece of white paper, and compare to see which powder makes the best fingerprints.
If you liked this tutorial, here are others you might enjoy:
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred-year-old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two preschoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion — showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun — in her Sparkle Kitchen posts.