How to Pick a Door Lock with a Paperclip | In Simple Steps By Expert


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When it comes to opening doors, the clip is a great ally, if are you wondering how to pick a door lock with a paperclip? You are in luck: here we explain the best methods.

There is nothing better than solving an emergency or unforeseen event at home or in the office with what we have at hand, as it is a very simple technique to open a closed door with minimal tools and in a short time.

Think fast: you came home late and forgot to take the key. Or you forgot your keys and your parents, for some reason, are travelling and there is no one at home to open the door for you. What do you do in this situation?

Some people would call a locksmith, but you should know that this type of service can be very expensive depending on the call and the emergency. Other people, however, would immediately think of doing what they see in the movies and would try to pick the locks with bobby pins or paper clips.

But, after all, is this second option possible, or is it fiction? Is it possible to open locks without using a key?

Well, the answer to these questions, in general, is “YES.” It is possible to open locks without a key. But before rushing to open a lock with a paper clip, you need to know that the technique is not as simple as it seems and that breaking doors is a crime. Think about it before you go to other people’s houses, okay?

Now, if you’re just in an emergency and trying to get into your own house, be sure to check out how this all works.

What you need to know to Pick a Door Lock with a Paperclip

how to pick a door lock with a paperclip

The first thing you need to know is that most traditional locks are made with copper parts. This means that one or more pins will lock the key’s axis of rotation, preventing the door from opening. Knowing that what you have to do is lift all the pins. You will know if the feat worked if you hear a “click.” This means that you have managed to get the pins into their rotating position, which helps keep them in place and know how many more are left to open. And speaking of pins, locks usually have between 5 and 7 pins. Normally, half of these pins are already raised. Soon the first job is to improvise a lever and clamp using a paper clip.

And yes, each of these pieces has a function: the clamp, for example, serves to lift each pin individually and needs to be made from the thinnest (albeit strong) part of the pin. On the other hand, you must use the lever under the clamp, and you should try to turn it whenever you think you can align the pins (which may work after a few tries).

You must take this warning into account: do not spoil the lock by using force. Trying to use the pin abruptly will only get in the way and hurt your hands. Opening a lock with a paper clip demands skill and a lot of patience.

How to Pick a Door Lock with a Paperclip

Picking a door lock with a paperclip is one of the most eye-catching of the door forcing methods. However, one thing to remember is that you are drawing the attention of everyone around you by doing this. So if you are going to do it on an exterior door, you must apply maximum discretion. On the other hand, if it is a foreign door that you desire to open, do it with authorization or in the case of an emergency. It is considered that entering private property without authorization by picking the door lock is a crime.

Read More: How To Pick A Door Lock With A Screwdriver

With that said, we begin:

You have to keep in mind that this method of opening the door using the paper clip works best if the door is slammed shut, that is, without the key passed.

Furthermore, the paperclip will be your ideal ally to get you out of trouble and open any door. It will even save you from spending unnecessary money on a locksmith since the cost of the locksmith service is usually high.

To open a door lock, you will only need two paper clips, to which you will give the required shape with your own hands. 

Learn More: How To Fix A Door Lock

Prepare the clips

The first clip will be a pick. The first thing you should do is remove the traditional shape of the clip, stretch it until it is as straight as you can, then bend one of the ends into a hook shape.

The second paperclip will be your tension key: This clip must be opened in half and bent in an L shape.

Open the door 

Step 1:

  • To open the door, use the tension key that you made with the second clip. To do this insert the tension key in the lower part of the keyhole (also called the cut line), pressing and turning it in the direction where the door opens.
  • Keep in mind that if you apply too much pressure, you will deform the clip, and you will have to reshape it, but if you do not apply enough pressure, you will not be able to open the lock. 

Step 2:

  • Insert the pick clip into the lock to open the door.
  • Without removing the tension key from the lock, insert the pick at the top. When it is inside the lock, remove it quickly while moving it up.
  • When we say you quickly, it does not imply that you should do it in a single pull. For this, you must be patient and move it quickly but smoothly.

Learn More: How To Pick A Sliding Door Lock

Step 3:

  • Now you have to locate the pins that are inside the door lock. For this, you have to press the tension key and locate the pins with the pick. 
  • When you insert the pick into the keyhole, it will collide with the pins, and that is where you need to apply pressure.
  • Don’t forget to apply pressure with the tension wrench while unlocking the pins. 

Step 4:

  • You have to move the pick until you unlock all the pins. When you hear the sound of the last latch clicking, turn the tension key, and the door will open.

How to Pick a Door Lock with a Paperclip by Forcing the Latch or Slide

how to pick a door lock with a paperclip

To pick a door lock with a paperclip by forcing the latch or slide (which is a triangular piece that goes in and out every time we turn the knob), you need:

Learn More: How To Pick A Door Lock With A Knife

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This technique works best if the door is not locked.

To put it into practice, you must: open the paperclip until it is straight and then fold it like a hook in the shape of the letter C.

In this case, you will not force the lock to open. Instead, you will locate the edge of the door. This entails a small opening that separates the door leaf from the frame in the wall. This is where you introduce the paperclip turned into a hook. You have to do it at the height of the latch to link with your clip. Once you have the latch caught with the C-shaped hook, you pull with both hands towards yourself.

How to Pick a Door Lock with a Paperclip: Recommendations

For you to be able to pick a door lock with a paperclip, we will give you the following recommendations, which we consider pertinent to be able to carry out this technique successfully:

  • Make sure to use clips that are thin enough to go into the keyhole without a problem.
  • If you use too much pressure with the clips inside the door lock, you run the risk of bending them and getting stuck inside the keyhole. Be subtle and careful about the pressure you apply.
  • The vast majority of locks open from right to left. If you cannot open the lock step by step by turning it in this sense, try doing it in the opposite direction, that is, from left to right.
  • When you insert the pick clip into the keyhole, make it smooth but quick.
  • Please take into account the age of the lock since, over the years, they rust. This factor will make the situation more complicated, which will force you to need more time. 
  • The clips should not lose their shape, so many times, since little by little, they will lose their rigidity, to the point that they will not serve the purpose mentioned above. 

How to Pick a Door Lock with a Paperclip: FAQs

How do you pick a lock with a paperclip for beginners?

To pick a lock with a paperclip as a beginner, do make use of the following steps:

  • Insert a clip you prepared in the shape of an L, your tension key, into the keyhole.
  • Hold the tension key straight and steady, pushing hard into the lock.
  • While pressing with the tension key, take the pick key clip and insert it into the upper part of the keyhole. This should be just above the tension wrench.
  • The two clips in position; move the pick clip as if it were the key while moving it up and down.
  • You should feel and hear the latches moving and turning inside the lock.
  • When you have felt several clicks or cracks inside the lock, it is time to try turning the doorknob.
  • Turn the knob. And if everything has gone well for you, it will yield without problems, as if you had opened the door with a key.

Can you pick a lock with a paperclip?

You can pick a lock with a paperclip as highlighted above.

How do you pick a lock with a paperclip without tools?

To pick a lock with a paperclip without tools, bend the paperclip into an L-shape and insert it into the keyhole. 


In conclusion, locked doors are one of the most common emergencies in work and family settings today. Sometimes, someone gets trapped inside or outside. Thus, the steps on how to pick a door lock with a paperclip highlighted above would be indispensable. 

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