How to Pick Door Lock with a Paperclip (3-Step Guide)

Do you know how to pick a lock using paper clips? You should know how important the lock picking skill is if you’ve ever misplaced a key and desperately wanted to get back in without having to drill the door.

Today we’re going to show some easy-to-follow steps for picking door locks using a paperclip.

Looking for a quick answer? We summarize the basic steps below. A more detailed explanation with pictures comes after.

First, Gently place the tension wrench in the keyhole. Apply a little pressure for the tension wrench to turn while being cautious not to ruin its shape. Begin to rotate the tension wrench slowly like we do when opening a door lock. Next, insert your rake into the keyhole. Once it has touched the uppermost part, quickly eject it as you move it upwards. Next, press the tension wrench and locate the pins using the rake. The rake will collide with the pins inside the keyhole, and it’s at that point that you must begin applying pressure on the tension wrench to unlock the pins. Finally, move the rake until you’ve unlocked all the pins inside the keyhole. Wait for the last latch clicking sound, turn the tension wrench, and your door will open.

This 3-Step Guide will show you how to unlock the most common locking mechanisms with a simple paperclip.

paperclips in different colors

What You’ll Need – Picking Tools

  1. Two big paper clips act as the tension wrench and the other as a pick. While there isn’t an upper size limit, have a sufficiently big width to prevent it from fitting into the lock and a good height for the paperclip to enter the lock while still getting a good grip to turn them.
  2. A pair of pliers – you’ll need them to shape the paperclips. Pliers are easier to use compared to hands.

Get Down To Work

Once you have the door lock picking tools, you may open that lock. Follow these three steps to pick a lock.

1. Make your Tension Wrench

metal paperclip

Pick one metal paperclip and straighten it while leaving one end still bent. Squeeze the two parts together to get that part that enters the lock. With the help of pliers, bend the long straight end of your paperclip at a right angle to form the tension wrench’s handle. (1)

2. Make your Rake  

Take the second paperclip and straighten it out. Use your pliers to pinch one end of the paperclip and bend the longest part to obtain a right angle. Doing this should give you the first ridge in the rake. Again, move your pliers down on the long part of the paperclip, and bend it at a right angle. Repeat this procedure until you form three ridges in the paperclip.

3. Pick the Door Lock

  1. Gently place the tension wrench in the keyhole. Apply a little pressure for the tension wrench to turn while being cautious not to ruin its shape. Begin to rotate the tension wrench slowly like we do when opening a door lock. Don’t fret if you find it difficult to determine the right direction of rotating the wrench.
  2. One of the things you can do is guess the direction your lock opens. Note that this approach gives you a 50-50 chance, and who knows, you might even unlock the doorknob on the first attempt. The other option at your disposal is utilizing your sensing skills. It’s a suitable method for individuals who are sensitive to touch because you can easily ascertain the direction the door lock opens upon turning the tension wrench. If you’ve got it right and are keen, you’ll feel reduced pressure. (2)
  3. Once you are sure of the direction in which the lock opens, insert your rake into the keyhole. Once it has touched the uppermost part, quickly eject it as you move it upwards. This part of the task is known as raking.
  4. The next step entails locating the pins inside the door lock. Press the tension wrench and locate the pins using the rake. The rake will collide with the pins inside the keyhole, and it’s at that point that you must begin applying pressure on the tension wrench to unlock the pins.
  5. Move the rake until you’ve unlocked all the pins inside the keyhole. Wait for the last latch clicking sound, turn the tension wrench, and voila! Your door is open.

Word of Caution: be careful with the pressure you apply throughout the process, as excessive pressure may cause the paper clips to break inside your door lock. That’s another mess that you don’t want to deal with.

Wrapping Up

Have you tried it yet? Did it work? We hope it did. However, you need to understand that you cannot open unauthorized spaces using this technique as it is illegal. We recommend this ‘how to pick a lock with a paperclips’ tutorial for emergencies only.

Take a look at some of our related articles below.





References
(1) right angle – https://www.khanacademy.org/math/cc-third-grade-math/quadrilaterals-3rd/imp-quadrilaterals/a/right-angles-in-shapes
(2) sensing skills – https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/computer-science/sensing-ability

About John Fox

ebbb364ee14268bd3b77496cab3d1d78?s=90&d=mm&r=gJohn Fox has worked as a security consultant for over 20 years. During his time in the industry, he's learned about what it takes to ensure your home and family are always safe.

With Safe Now, he's taken those two decades of experience and decided to share it with others to help them figure out how to make the right choices for their businesses and families.

John writes tips and guides to prevent crimes, as well as product recommendations, and tips for what to do in case of an emergency and how to protect yourself at all times.