How to pick a lock with one paperclip

Locking yourself out of your home can be terribly frustrating and stressful. If you don’t have a spare key it usually means you’ll have to break a window, damage a door, or call a locksmith. Replacing a broken door or window can be very costly and locksmiths have a tendency to take you for all you’ve got, too! Instead of paying someone top dollar to pick your lock-in in just twenty seconds, try doing it yourself! Using a paper clip or bobby pin to pick a lock seems far-fetched when you see it done on television, but really, it’s a useful tool to have when locked out of your home.

How to pick a lock with one paperclip

Locks can be a nuisance, especially when you’ve misplaced your keys or have locked yourself out of your house or car. Fortunately, with just one paperclip, you can learn how to pick a lock and get back inside in no time. This guide will show you how to pick a lock with one paperclip step-by-step.

Tools You Will Need

Before you get started, you’ll need the following tools:

  • One paperclip
  • A tension wrench (can be made from a second paperclip)

Step 1: Straightening the Paperclip

Take the paperclip and straighten it out. This will be the lock pick that you’ll use to manipulate the pins inside the lock.

Step 2: Make a Tension Wrench

To make a tension wrench, take a second paperclip and bend it into an “L” shape. This will be used to apply tension to the lock cylinder.

Step 3: Inserting the Tension Wrench and Pick

Insert the tension wrench into the bottom of the lock cylinder. Apply gentle upward pressure with the wrench while you insert the straightened paperclip into the top of the lock.

Step 4: Feeling for Pins

Once the pick is inside the lock, you’ll need to feel for the pins. There are usually 5 to 7 pins in a lock, and they’re what prevent the lock from opening without the correct key. Move the pick around the inside of the lock, feeling for any pins that may be blocking the lock from opening.

Step 5: Manipulating the Pins

Once you’ve found the pins, you’ll need to manipulate them to get the lock to open. Apply gentle upward pressure with the tension wrench while you gently push each pin up with the pick. As you push each pin-up, you should feel it click into place. Repeat this process until all the pins are in place and the lock cylinder can be turned with the tension wrench.

Step 6: Turning the Lock

Once all the pins are in place, turn the tension wrench to open the lock.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions and answers about picking a lock with one paperclip:

Is it legal to pick a lock with a paperclip?

The legality of lock picking with a paperclip varies from country to country and even from state to state. In some places, it’s considered a crime, while in others, it’s not explicitly prohibited. Before attempting to pick a lock with a paperclip, be sure to check your local laws and regulations to ensure that it’s not against the law.

Can I pick any type of lock with a paperclip?

While you can pick many types of locks with a paperclip, it’s not guaranteed to work on every type of lock. Some high-security locks, for example, are designed to be more resistant to lock picking, and may not be able to be opened with a paperclip.

Is it hard to pick a lock with a paperclip?

Picking a lock with a paperclip can be challenging, especially if you’re new to lock picking. However, with practice and patience, it’s a skill that can be mastered.

What should I do if I can’t pick the lock?

If you’re having trouble picking a lock with a paperclip, don’t force it. Forcing a lock can cause damage to the lock or the paperclip, and may make it even more difficult to pick in the future. If you’re having trouble, take a break and try again later, or consider calling a locksmith for assistance.

Is it dangerous to pick a lock with a paperclip?

Picking a lock with a paperclip is generally considered safe, as long as you’re using the tools correctly and not applying too much force. However, as with any DIY task, there’s always a risk of injury, so be sure to use caution and common sense.


Picking a lock with one paperclip may seem like a daunting task, but with a little patience and practice, it’s a skill that anyone can master. Just remember to use this information for ethical purposes only, and never attempt to pick a lock without the owner’s permission. With this guide, you’ll be able to pick a lock with ease and regain access to your property in no time.

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