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How to Pick a Door Lock with a Paperclip and No Tools

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Contributors: Muhammad Baballe Ahmad, Mehmet Cavas, Sudhir Chitnis, and Zhen-ya Liu.

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How to Pick a Door Lock with a Paperclip and No Tools- If you are looking for a way to get into your locked home without any tools, this is the blog post for you!


If you need to get into a door for which you don’t have a key, picking it open with a paperclip can be surprisingly easy. Learning how to pick a door lock with a paperclip and no tools is an important skill should you accidentally be locked out of your home, office, or car. While this technique won’t work on all locks, it’s one of the few methods that doesn’t require the use of any specialized or complicated tools. This article covers the basics of lock picking and explains in detail how to pick a door lock with just a paperclip.

Before attempting this technique, please be aware that tampering with locks could potentially be illegal in some jurisdictions. If there is any possibility of legal ramifications resulting from accessing your own property or an area where you are supposed to have access, refer to local laws first before attempting this procedure.


Picking a door lock without the right tools can be a tricky task but with a little bit of preparation and practice, it can be done. Before diving into the practice of lock picking, it’s important to take some time to familiarise yourself with the various tools of the trade, such as a paperclip, tension wrench, and rake. These items will be necessary in order to successfully pick a lock with no prior knowledge. Taking some time to understand the basics of lock picking can make the task far less daunting.

Gather Materials

Before beginning to pick a door lock with a paperclip, it is important to first assemble the necessary materials. These items can easily be found around the home, or purchased from local retail stores. You will need at least one large paperclip and two small paperclips. The larger paperclip must have a straight end and should be unbent. Additionally, you may find either a rubber band or electrical tape helpful in the process, though these are not required. Once all of your materials have been collected, you can move on to preparing your lock-picking tools.

Familiarize Yourself with the Lock

Before attempting to pick a lock, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the parts of the lock. Aim to identify the parts that you will be manipulating with the paperclip, including where each component meets within the lock. To help identify these pieces, consider taking a photograph or making a drawing and labeling each part of the locking mechanism.

The main features include:
– The Driver pins: These pins are located within the plug of your lock and hold tension on your key when you insert it. To open a lock, you must manipulate and move these pins out of their shear line.
– The Key pins: These are located opposite the driver pins and are used to move them out of their shear line as your key is inserted into a lock.
– The Plug: This is what rotates when you insert your key and release any tension on the driver pins so that they can enter their shear line.
– The Shell: This is the exterior casing around your plug that keeps all of its components in place as well as protecting it from external damage caused by weather or force.
Once you’re comfortable with how a lock works and have familiarized yourself with its component pieces, you should be ready to begin picking it using paperclips as outlined below.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Picking a lock with a paperclip is possible and relatively easy to do, as long as you have the right tools and follow the instructions carefully. Getting prepared to pick a lock starts with gathering your supplies, which should include at least one paperclip and a hairpin. Before you attempt to pick the lock, practice with the paperclip until you feel comfortable with the process. This guide provides step-by-step instructions for picking a door lock with a paperclip and no tools.

Insert the Paperclip

Insert the straightened paperclip into the door lock and press inward gently. Feel for the pins, one at a time, with your free hand. It can be difficult to identify the two pins that stand out from all others, so don’t be afraid to press harder. Once you have located them, the next step is to use a key cutting machine to create a new key for your door.

Push the Paperclip Down

To begin, check that the door is securely closed with the proper amount of tension on the lock. Next, grip a paperclip in one hand and apply pressure to the top part of the keyhole, pushing it down towards the base. This will release any tension that is binding the lock and enable you to maneuver it further. Depending on how deep your keyhole is, you may need to push down farther than usual. Remember to use light pressure and take your time – too much force could cause permanent damage to your lock.

Move the Paperclip Along the Lock

Once the paperclip is inside the lock, it’s time to start manipulating it. Move the paperclip around, up and down until you can feel which way the pins are moving. You want to find a point where all of the pins in the lock are in their proper alignment, so use your paperclip as a lever to move them into place. Apply pressure with your fingers as you maneuver the paperclip – but carefully as to not break or bend it. Once each pin reaches its proper position keep pressure on them and begin rotating the paperclip clockwise until you can open the door lock.

If this does not work on your first attempt, do not be discouraged – picking a lock requires skill and precision so it may take a few tries before you get used to using this technique. Also, make sure that all of the pins have made contact with each other before applying force. With repeated practice and patience, soon you’ll be able to easily pick door locks with just a paperclip!

Feel for the Locking Mechanism

Before attempting to pick the lock with a paperclip, it is important to feel for the locking mechanism on the inside of the door. To do this correctly, start by inserting the paperclip into the keyhole and gently twist until you feel something firm. This is typically a core, plate or lock pin that should be pushed inwards in order to open the door. Once you have familiarized yourself with its shape and size, remove your arm from the keyhole and proceed to step two.

Push the Locking Mechanism Up

Before you begin attempting to pick a door lock with a paperclip, you will need to locate the locking mechanism. This is usually housed at the top or center of the keyhole. Using your index finger and thumb, apply gentle outward pressure on either side of the lock in order to push the locking mechanism up. Your paperclip should fit in between these two arms, creating an opening that will allow you to rotate it inside of the keyway. If necessary, you may need to adjust your grip on the paperclip so that it can reach deeper into the lock. Once you have created this opening and inserted the paperclip far enough, proceed with rotating it inside of the keyway.


At the end of the day, it is important to remember the main goal prompted by the desire to pick a lock with a paperclip – quick and easy access. The two methods explained in this guide are recommended for use in any tight spot, when no other tools (or locksmiths) are within reach.

That said, it is important to remember that lock picking is an art, and like any skill, it requires patience and practice. Therefore, if you lack experience with this activity or have no previous knowledge on how to do it properly, then we recommend that you take a class or a tutorial first before trying your luck with a paperclip.

Remember to take all necessary precautions large and small when working with locks – such as making sure nobody can visually see you attempting this activity and knowing your legal rights regarding privacy. By taking the proper precautions while following the steps mentioned above, you’ll be able to successfully pick locks using just a paperclip – in no time!

How to Pick a Door Lock with a Paperclip and No ToolsCheckout this video:

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