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How to Pick a Lock with a Paperclip in a Minute

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how to pick a lock with a paperclip

Want to learn how to pick a lock with a paperclip? Create a lock pick and a tension wrench using paperclips. Once done, insert the tension wrench on the bottom part of the keyhole. Turn the tension wrench. Place the pick on the upper part of the keyhole then jiggle it upward. Look for the pins then push them until the lock opens.

With the proper steps, it is easy to pick a door lock with a paperclip. This life hack is something you must learn, especially if you frequently lose your keys or you easily forget your codes.


What You Need


Before picking lock with paper clip, there are items that you must prepare beforehand. These items are easy to find. You may have them in your house or in your toolbox. In case you don’t have them, you can also make your purchase online or you can visit the nearest hardware store.


You will need two paper clips — one will serve as a lock pick while the other one is the tension wrench. The paper clips must be large, however, not too large that they cannot fit into the keyhole. They must also be long enough to reach the pins inside the keyhole while giving you enough space to hold them firmly. 2 inches long would do the work.

As much as possible, the paper clips must be made of metal so they won’t break easily as you apply some pressure. If you don’t have paper clips, you can also use bobby pins and thin wires as alternatives.


The best options for pliers are needle-nose pliers. They are specifically designed for bending thin wires for jewelry-making. You can use 6-inch to 8-inch needle-nose pliers. For a comfortable grip, choose a handle with a concave-convex design and anti-slip features. Also, it must have durable and strong jaws for quick bending and cutting.

If you don’t have any available pliers in your home, you can also use your hands to bend the paper clips. However, it may slow you down and it could take a lot of effort. You may also accidentally cut your hands.

What to Do


Step 1: Create a lock pick and a tension wrench using paper clips


For the lock pick, straighten one of the paperclips by unfolding its large edges. The straight part will be inserted inside the keyhole. Although not necessary, you can also bend a tiny portion of the tip of the paperclip to easily push the pins.

To create a tension wrench, remove the bends in the second paperclip until it looks like two straight wires with a bent end. Create a curve on the bent end by bending it at a right angle. The curve must be 0.4 inches long.

Step 2: Insert the tension wrench on the bottom part of the keyhole then turn it in the right direction


Once you have your tension wrench and lock pick, insert the tension wrench on the bottom part of the keyhole. Apply pressure to the tension wrench as you rotate it. Make sure that you exert the right amount of pressure. Too much force can bend your tension wrench out of shape while too little pressure cannot help you pick the lock.

You should turn the tension wrench in the same direction in which the lock turns. If you don’t know the right direction, you can turn clockwise. If you feel much pressure, you can turn it counterclockwise. You will feel less pressure if you have turned the tension wrench in the right direction.

Step 3: Place the pick on the upper part of the keyhole then jiggle it upward


Place the pick on the upper part of the keyhole. After you have placed it inside the lock, jiggle it upward so you can set some of the pins. As you are doing this, keep the pressure on your tension wrench. If you fail to keep the pressure while jiggling, you won’t be able to pick the lock properly. This may also take you a few tries.

Step 4: Look for the pins then push them until the lock opens

Look for the pins inside the lock. Typically, locks have five pins, but there are those that have more. If you found the pins, push them, but don’t forget to apply a rotation pressure to the tension wrench. You will hear a clicking sound once the pin has been set to the unlock position. Do this process until all pins unlock and your lock opens.

If you want to see how it is done, you can also check this video on Picking Locks with Paperclips.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is a tension wrench required?

Yes, you will need a tension wrench to prevent the pins from falling back into the locked position. Without a tension wrench, it would also be impossible for you to pick the lock and finish the tutorial.

Can I still use my lock after I picked it with paperclips?

Fortunately, yes. Paperclip lock picking is one of the easiest and safest ways to break into your house since you won’t have to destroy the lock mechanism, unlike drilling and hammering. You can use the lock after the tutorial.

Can picking using a paperclip work on all kinds of locks?

No. This technique only works on most pin-tumbler locks. If the lock is more expensive, it can prevent lock picking because of its design. However, it is still possible for skilled pickers to break in.

Would this work on a vending machine?

If the lock of the vending machine is a pin-tumbler, it could work. However, if it is a different kind of lock, you may need to have another way of opening it, especially if the lock is sturdy and has anti-picking features. If it’s a Master locks, check out these tutorials now.


Do you find our tutorial on how to pick a lock with a paperclip satisfying? By following the steps correctly, you can now pick a lock using a paper clip. You won’t have to wait for a locksmith while you are locked out outside your house. Just collect all the items needed and quickly get into your house.

If you find this article useful, you can share this post with your friends. You can also tell us your experiences in doing the tutorial. We will be so glad to hear from you. Just leave a comment below.

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