Essential to the creation of the finished keepsake is capturing a clear and distinct print.



[Note: You may use any black ink pad and plain paper.  An optional inkless printing kit is also available.]

Examine The Print Area

If the thumb is scarred or does not have a decent pad, try a forefinger or a large toe. In cases where there has been significant trauma to the body, interesting skin patterns can also be found on the arches of the feet, palms of the hand, knees, or elbows.

Age lines crisscross the prints of older adults. These life lines reproduce beautifully in the finished keepsakes.


Remove the pre-inked strip from the paper. Then carefully peel back the top sheet.


Practice taking prints on any blank sheet of paper. Lightly tap the thumb on the inked surface two or three times and then tap the inked finger on the blank paper. Do not roll the thumb or press too hard.

Sample Prints


Mainely Urn’s artisans will select the best portion of the best print for casting. Also, take a couple of extra
prints that you can keep in the unlikely event the are lost in the mail.

The more prints we have to choose from the better our chances are of finding a really good one to scan and cast.


Clean the inked finger with a wet cotton paper towel, or massage cream. A drop of hand lotion that contains alcohol removes every last bit of ink.



Infants and children under the age of three pose a problem when it comes to capturing a reproducible print. While they have fingerprints, the defining ridges are so fine that it is difficult to get sufficient contrast. If we enlarge the print, it no longer looks like a child’s print, and if we do not, the prints look like black smudges and the resulting cast appears grainy and resembles sand paper.

Two solutions:

  1. The first solution uses a print of the child’s entire hand or foot. This print is miniaturized and centered on our oval charm. A high polish is put on the surrounding surface. A sample of a handprint or footprint can be seen in the inset image of the product.
  2. The second solution uses a print from the palm of the hand or arch of the foot. While it is not as recognizable as a fingerprint, the young parents know what it is. They understand that the print is uniquely their child’s and are most appreciative. A high-polished rim is often placed around these prints to highlight what print is there. Very often the hospital where the child was delivered has done your work for you. Hand/footprints of infants are routinely taken in delivery rooms or hospital nurseries; generally they are excellent prints. If you have such a print, we recommend that you make a copy of it or scan it. The print can then be e-mailed to us or mailed. Please follow the scanning instructions below.

If prints were not taken at the hospital, please follow the following steps:


Remove the pre-inked strip from the paper. Then carefully peel back the top sheet.


Tap the hand or foot of the child on the ink strip. If the child’s hand or foot is wider than the width of the ink surface, take both sections of the ink strip and tape them side by side, thereby doubling the width of the strip.


Do not roll the hand or foot nor press too hard. Place the prints you send to Mainely Urns on a plain, white piece of paper.


Clean the inked surface with a wet cotton swab, a wet paper towel or massage cream. A drop of hand lotion that contains alcohol removes the last bit of ink.


You can take a digital photo of either the nose or paw of any animal. Use the camera's close-up mode or get as close as possible without losing focus. Do not use the flash because it will create a 'burned-out' area that will not have the required detail. This digital image enables Mainely Urn's artisans to get all the detail to create your keepsake. Remember: if you don't see the detail it probably wasn't captured. For other prints, we suggest using the supplied ink strips and a white paper for best results.


If you do not have access to a scanner, send prints to:

Mainely Urns, Inc.
19-B Portland Road
Gray, ME 04039

Retain a copy of the prints in the unlikely event that the prints become lost in the mail service (please do not send original documents such as birth records, etc).

If you have digital prints as described below, e-mail to
Or upload here:
(please use the email address associated with your order.)
Upload Files through

Open your scanning program (details may vary on your computer but the concept will apply).

Start by selecting the best settings for scanning your prints.

Windows will display a dialog box of options... for our purposes, you only need to click the "Custom Settings" button for now.


This next step is important!
It determines your print clarity.



Set The Scanner Settings

In the Properties Dialog box:

A. Set the Resolution or DPI (dots per inch) to 600 using the up and down arrows.

B. Set the Picture Type to Grayscale picture, selecting from the options in the drop down box.

C. Leave the Brightness and Contrast levels at "0".

Click OK


Preview The Print

Load your print image face down on the scanner bed.

Position the image so that the top of the print appears on the top of your screen. The top of a print is generally closest to the tip end of the thumb or other finger.

Click the Preview button to view a preliminary scan of the image.


Cropping The Image

It's important to crop your image to ensure that your email system can handle the file size. Therefore, please save one print at a time.

Select the print area you want... i.e. cropping

You will see a dashed-line rectangle surrounding your images. You now need to resize the rectangle to surround the first print that you will scan.

Using your mouse, click and grab the corners of the rectangle and drag as close as you can to your print until you have the box surrounding but not touching the print (as shown in the example).

This will help reduce the over all file size to make it easier to email.

Scan the image.

Save as a jpeg, or bmp (bitmap), using the printee's full name to identify the print.

Attach the jpeg or bmp file(s) to an e-mail; put the printee’s name in the subject box. Make sure to include your phone number and order number in the body of the e-mail.

E-mail to Call 1.888.969.8767 if you have any difficulties.


Ink An Interesting Area Of The Finger

The finished keepsake looks exactly like the print you send us. In selecting the area of the finger to ink, look the most interesting character lines. Creases and age lines give the finished print jewelry piece its character.

Questionable Prints

If Mainely Urns receives a print that will not produce a quality charm, we will call you. It is possible for us to go into the digital file and “clean up” a print pixel by pixel, but we will only do so with your permission.

Take an Extra Print for Your Files

Since the U.S. Postal System, UPS, Fed Ex and other delivery services are not perfect organizations, they occasionally misplace things. Mainely Urns strongly encourages you to take a couple of extra prints. Keep them until such time as you receive the finished print jewelry piece.

Create Keepsakes for Long-Deceased Family Members

Mainely Urns can create print jewelry from any hard-copy of a fingerprint, handprint or footprint. That means a family who has prints can create keepsakes of long-deceased loved ones. Sources of fingerprints include: military discharge papers, employment cards, firearm registrations, arrest records, and birth certificates (In the past, it was common practice to fingerprint both mother and child on birth certificates). The easiest way to get prints to us is to scan them and send them electronically.

Mainely Urn’s Archival System Allows You to Create Duplicates!

Each print we use to create a keepsake is archived in a digital format. This allows you to order additional keepsakes at any point in time. This service also permits us to make replacements for lost units. To reorder any keepsake, simply fill out an order on our website and select "Re-order" as an option.