Introduction: Locking a Deadbolt From the Outside Without a Key

Picture of Locking a Deadbolt From the Outside Without a Key

Why on earth would I need to do this you ask?

long story short, I was brand new in my office, they hadn't given me and office key yet, an I was the last one in the office option 1 was wait 4 hours for a coworker to return, or find a way to lock the door.

jump a few years into the future, and I just recently found myself in the same circumstance, last one in the office with my wife's car (and keys) so I had no office key. I was on my way in less than 5 minutes.

I'm sure if you think about it you can find a few more not so good uses, but you're on your own there!

Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials

Scissors (optional.)

The tape can be just about any kind. Only a little strength is needed.
Clear packing tape seems to be a good choice.

Step 2: Setup

Picture of Setup

1. Cut a length of tape about 8-16".
2. Cut a notch in one end.
3. Fold the tape over on to it's self.

Step 3: Double Check

Picture of Double Check

You don't have a key to the door and your about to lock yourself out, make sure you have your car keys, iphone, etc. You don't want to explain why your trying to break into your office, especially if your a new employee.

Step 4: Locking the Door

Picture of Locking the Door

Open the door
stick the tape to the lever
fold it around the door.
close the door
pull the tape
Door locked!


JayA61 (author)2016-07-05

This just saved my life. I'm the bonehead new employee who was last to leave the office but forgot my key at home. Thought I was really screwed until I looked this up. Thanks.

DominiqueT9 (author)2016-06-07

Exactly same situation for me, this trick saved my life!! Used duct tape. Only regret is that I didn't see this hack 2 hrs ago. Thank you so much

incroyable (author)2011-03-27

SMART 8) good for you !!!

desmondtheredx (author)2010-12-16

a year back i also learnt this trick from a crime investigation show. but locking from inside. You could use a remote control toy car with this too
and it came useful once.

Morriscow (author)2010-04-30

 wonder if you could attach it to the knob on the inside and turn it from the outside

That would be an awesome prank to forever keep someone out of the room.
If you make it so turning the knob locks the door, after someone unlocks it with a key and try to open it, it will be locked!
If you made it so that to lock it, you turn it whichever way people don't usually turn knobs, it could work as a fix.
If you made it so that to lock it, you turn it whichever way the target does usually turn knobs, it could work as a prank!

IceTeaEdwin (author)2010-01-26

Lol, everybody wants to use this for crime now.

Morriscow (author)IceTeaEdwin2010-04-30

 howtf would you use it for crime

IceTeaEdwin (author)Morriscow2010-05-02

Reverse engineer, DUH.

awang8 (author)IceTeaEdwin2010-05-21

Pushing a piece of sticky tape? Umm... OK...

kbhasi (author)awang82010-10-22


BluTiger (author)IceTeaEdwin2010-10-10


artquilter (author)2010-06-02

I'm glad this was a banner instructable.   It's cool!  I've been in this situation too, where a room should be deadbolted, but I don't have the key.

For those that think burglars kick the door in...just go to your local police department report and see how many burlaries were 'forced entry' and how many were not!  Most are unlocked door is the main reason.

Many small burlaries occur because some sap goes up to every door, every night, and tries it, waiting for the one time you've forgotten to lock the door.  Not only at an office, but this happens with many home burglaries - it's rather disgusting to think that someone is touching your doorknob every night...

jules15 (author)2010-04-26

i dont get the point of this

pyro1324 (author)jules152010-05-09

 The point of this is that you don't remember where your key's are and you need to lock the door

disneyace (author)pyro13242010-05-31

and how to break into a office  ;D

jules15 (author)pyro13242010-05-12

but cant you just turn the lock on the inside part of the doorknob?

pyropaul (author)jules152010-05-20

Yes but then you can't get out without unlocking again.

Tim Temple (author)2010-05-15

I was stuck being the last person to leave a church in the evening -- and didn't have a key.  Much bigger problem.  After putting my Aspergers brain into overdrive, I got a big paperclip and a spool of thread.  I tied the thread to the bottom of the clip and pushed the top of the clip onto the toggle on the inside.  I carefully closed t the door while holding the thread.  Once outside I pulled the thread which threw the bolt.  Then I gave the thread a good yank to pull the clip off the toggle and leave them with a mystery in the morning!

place name here- (author)2010-03-19

I had to do this once but the lock had a long thumb latch so i used a string with a slip knot and that worked well. But I would never have thought of that if it wasn't for your inst.

Kryptonite (author)2010-03-19

This is cool but how did it end up as a banner-Instructable? (Instructable featured in the header/banner)

frollard (author)2010-03-05

I did this but with a slipknot in some string - knot slips off if you yank real hard once the door is locked, and you're out!

5 from me!

matchbookhymnal (author)2010-02-28

This is brilliant.  Why does it always take employers so long to get you your own key?!  I could have used this trick several times at my last job.

trent1 (author)2010-02-02

very nice. In my life I had a similar situation with forgotten key at home.

rickick (author)2009-12-12

How do you open it after ?

IceTeaEdwin (author)rickick2010-01-26

With the key.  If you don't have it, tough luck.

hammer9876 (author)2009-08-27

And here I was thinking a strong magnet would be used. Good job.

riverreaper (author)hammer98762009-08-27

locks arnt made of magnetic matail there like nickle you cant use in that fasion or ever theif would be in everyones home

BlueFusion (author)riverreaper2009-08-27

Actually (asides from your appalling grammar and spelling, most locks DO have some ferromagnetic components. My deadbolt uses a brass bolt with a copper core for some reason, however parts of the lock mechanism are steel, and I have manipulated my deadbolt to some extent with a magnet. However it's not the easiest way to do it, and a knowledge of the inner workings of that particular lock is required. That said, any thief worth his loot knows enough about standard barrel locks to pick (or bump) them in a few minutes anyway.

hammer9876 (author)BlueFusion2009-08-27

Thank you BlueFusion! I was just going to assume that English was not riverreaper's first language or he/she was a product of the United States educational system.

riverreaper (author)hammer98762009-08-28

actualy im a drop out ive diabilitys in the spelling an math area but i dont use them as an excuse i blame the keyboard lol i cant even recall what school is as getting old has taken some toll too . i did fail to know this was a school an not just a place to get great ideas an were to share great ideas that might actualy keep some of our land fill free of junk but hey perhaps your land has a hole needing fill ? were always looking ....its funny how peeps outside our land want in , but always have some sort of nagitivity to post abut us US till we say hey your next heres your green card

rkcjason (author)riverreaper2009-12-13

@ riverreaper:  You bring down the Instructables website.


riverreaper (author)rkcjason2009-12-13

go up a few blocks an read more mistakes , bear with them an get the drift rather than scrach that sore

skidoo (author)hammer98762009-08-28

FYI: There is no such thing as "the United States education system." Quality varies greatly between individual states, commonwealths, between the counties and incorporated cities within each state and commonwealth, and between public and private institutions. At all levels. Yeah, I have a sense of humor. But I also have a keen disdain for snide anti-American agitprop.

mr.break_it (author)hammer98762009-08-27

lol, us education system isn't bad. i live in canada and our education system is better but not by a whole lot

riverreaper (author)BlueFusion2009-12-13

if my gamagramer is to poor for you to just buypass an read someones elsses then make an instructable on how to spell on a really old keyboard that drops letter that us illiterates needed to not look so bad to you school teachers , that obvisly dont have any morals on how to just look past it an go on with your life . , oh an by the that light your viewing all this with was due to a illiterate also , so guess if he hada deal with thous who couldnt see the light at the end of the tunnle rather than just spotting all the drips in the ceiling well you get the drift

srilyk (author)BlueFusion2009-08-30

Heh. Most thiefs don't care about picking a lock. As noted in a previous comment, they'll just kick the door in. Only people who have a need for subtlety (PI, Spys, etc) care enough to learn how to pick a lock and spend the time actually doing so.

555mst555 (author)BlueFusion2009-08-28

"deadbolt uses a brass bolt with a copper core for some reason, however parts of the lock mechanism are steel" deadblot made of brass?....unlikely!!i'll be too easy to break in the bible(core) is not made out of's brass and the parts of the locking mechanism are made out of stainless steel but the pins(the lock's innards)are made out of brass or sometimes,steel i'm an amuter locksmith learning for about 1 1/2 i'm just correcting u.......hope u understand

RickO5 (author)riverreaper2009-08-27

Also worth noting, nickel is magnetic. (assuming you meant "there" to mean "they are")

hammer9876 (author)riverreaper2009-08-27

Excuse me for being so stupid!

Thelonelysandwitch (author)2009-11-16

Not to be a killjoy, but if you have the key to get back in, then why would you use this?????

He said that this is done because he does not have the key to get back.

ohhhhh. that would help thanks.

wanyairegi (author)2009-10-02

You seem to be a very practical guy. but for the murder and concealing evidence you may need to use a nylon string or thin steel wire! brilliant

budbush (author)2009-09-27

Clever idea! One suggestion, though. While "clear tape" may be the best option in actual use, how about making the instructable photos over using an opaque tape, or duct tape. It would be easier to follow.

ysabet (author)2009-09-01

Very nicely done. Amusingly enough, there's something very similar in a Japanese anime/manga series, 'Meitante Conan'. I understand that the voice actors started playing pranks afterwards, locking each other out of their rooms.

ShippingGuy (author)2009-08-30

Very Nicely Done!

srilyk (author)2009-08-30

The creator of this instructable was correct - the deadbolt is precisely what he locked. There's absolutely no reason to try and lock a spring lock from the outside when all you have to do is lock the door and shut it. It's fairly certain that the deadbolt was secured using this method, based on the physics of the thing. Most deadbolts use ~100-110 degrees to create a full lock. The gripping strength of packing tape is perfectly sufficient to twist the lock when applied in this fashion. That being said, even a deadbolt is a pretty weak deterrent against any thief who has a clue what they're doing. They'd just kick in the door - one or two well placed kicks, just to the side of the knob will create enough force to shatter the door jamb. They'd just walk in, pick up computer monitors/computers, and walk out. In less than 10 minutes they'd get most of the valuable items there. This is a great instructable!

Grady (author)2009-08-29

Hey, I think it's clever. Even a deadbolt can't keep out a master mind, but it's a good deterrent for the average Joe. It sure beats having to sit 4 hours, doesn't it?

About This Instructable



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