Open a Padlock with One Paperclip, Nothing Else

Picture of Open a Padlock with One Paperclip, Nothing Else
Make a wrench and pick with one paper clip, with no tools, for opening cheap padlocks.


1 paper clip
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Step 1: One paperclip is actually two tools

Picture of One paperclip is actually two tools
Break your paper clip in the middle, and bend those two pieces open. You should have two similar looking "L"s.

Step 2: Ram it in there!

Picture of Ram it in there!
right about now you're probably thinking... "what am I supposed to do with these?".
well. One of those "L"s is your pick, and one is your torsion wrench. Now your torsion wrench, in reality, is just a broken paperclip... so well have to use our heads. If you force your wrench, hook end up, about a 1/2 inch into the lower part of the keyway, NOT where the pins are, it should be fairly tight. (next picture) if you bend it down, you'll get some torque (3rd pic)

If the tension wrench slides outs when you apply slight pressure, try again, try different positions or areas in the lower keyway. you can bend and un-bend the paperclip tip in the keyway if you mess it up.

note that you will most likely have to make a different tension wrench for every lock you want to pick, the wire will be bent differently depending on the size of the keyway.

Step 3: Now lets look at your precisely machined lock pick.

Picture of Now lets look at your precisely machined lock pick.
You may notice this lock pick is better than most lock picks out there, 100% better actually, because it's a DOUBLE ended lock pick, the straight end acts as a jiggler pick which can open only the most horrible quality of locks, any lock under $5, and all the lower end master locks (especially ones that are poorly pinned)

The other end I won't be using. It is a basic large hook lock pick. If you bend it straighter in the lock's keyway, you can make a short hook pick, a very useful pick for picking most locks, but this is still a paperclip, and it's extremely hard to pick with. Lockpick "pros" can have fun with this side.
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ChrisI21 month ago

cool hahahah

searswilliams4 months ago

You are brilliant! Thank you! Made it on the first attempt. YEAH!

sszorin.5 months ago


It is very unclear what he [presumably] says.

You push the pin up or left or right ? You turn it at an angled position or from straight position ?

Got this to work on my second try using my first paperclip. The tension wrench must be as close to the bottom of the lock as you can get it, with medium-high pressure (as much as you can use to not bend the paperclip). After that it is trial and error to get the pins up (I found more pressure = better).

Thank you so much, I just saved my coworker $10 on buying a new lock

reddevved3 years ago
"just make it work, if you don't, you may have to saw your leg off."
Or you could saw the lock off.
slegary reddevved10 months ago


it was humorous...i dont actually think he seriously suggested that
botstarter2 years ago
I picked the all the doors and windows in the classrooms starting third grade
slegary botstarter10 months ago

... But window locks don't need picking...


slipperyben10 months ago

i picked the doors of the classrooms at lunch lol

evil B)

JacobPi11 months ago
dprosser11 year ago
Does anyone know what locks were used in the vids?
BlackMaple2 years ago
Guess what, I broke into the Teacher's personal cabinet under her desk in about 17 seconds using only a paperclip....Im a naural lock-picker :)

So evil. -_-
nkonidare2 years ago
bros and bras i found out how on my own and not by an instructable and i found out when i was 3 yrs. old
coolo522 years ago
i can now pick a padlock i have using raking and a poor excuse for a w rake made of a paperclip
coolo522 years ago
i cant do this :(, anyone got any tips on learning how to pick a lock
escher73 years ago
Guys - This is not how to learn. Google lockpicking, make or buy some real picks and tension tools and practice. This is OK for those of us that know how, but for newbies it is way too hard.
Good work, man! Excellent instructable! Nice little trick to know, dirty and simple. Keep up the good work!
reesarcher6 years ago
I think you mean 'Sweet" because "sweat" is the salty water that your body emits in aid to cool you down when you are starting to dehydrate.
Last I checked, sweating is like the act dehydrating, it doesn't prevent dehydration. It does, however, help keep you cool, as you said.
Meuryn Edwin_T3 years ago
BIGGEST GHOST.... got caught trying to brake into school..... NOWW I'AM SUSPENDED!!!!! Waaaaaaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!
Why would you try to break into school in the first place?
...Gonna TRY IT TONIGHT!!!!! Wish me LUCK!....
gu21n3 years ago
Bee Gees =P
bhunter7367 years ago
Wow. I am impressed. I am a professional locksmith and know that there is a little bit of luck involved with picking. You opened all three of the padlocks with a beginners technique in an extremely short time. This also shows that it is worth the extra money for a real padlock when it comes to valuables, not a hardware store variety or gimmick like the club lock. A Schlage padlock with Primus cylinder would be a lot better and to really be pick resistant, a MEDECO. Heck, even an Altmont would be a little better than these hardware store varieties. I am going to try your paperclip tools on Tuesday when I go back to work. PS - for everyone reading this, keep in mind that a lock is a legal barrier and you are supposed to have permission to open it. Permission usually comes in the form of a key. In this case, make sure you practice on your own locks. Also note that in some places, California for one, you have to be licensed to carry a tool like this and can get into a lot of trouble for having these outside of your own property.
in California you have to be licensed to carry a paperclip???...What has this world come to?
Stopped reading after that, did we? He does say he's joking about that. Gee, americans just don't get sarcasm!
that is sad
Only if it is bent to a shape that is clearly for the intention of getting in to a lock. Think about it like your in a movie, on trial, the lawyer says - "is there any other reason to carry an item configured this way other than to......" If the answer is no or not really, play it safe and don't bend it till you need it. Plus, there has to already be cause for the search and discovery that you are carrying it. So stay out of trouble and it wont matter. But yah, what is the world coming to?
by the way bhunter736 omg! you defiently know ur stuff on pick locking laws and crap by the way are г u a cop or somethin lol
Hi : ) - not a cop, a full time Locksmith in CA. Thats what pays my mortgage. I have to know some of this stuff because I carry the tools and need my locksmith license available any time I have them with me. Also, I have to report their loss directly to the authorities.
what if you said you wanted to pick your tooth with it or something? :D
lol wow a license? oh geez next thing u know there will be a law against (sorry about language) whack off? (not sure if whack off is a bad word)=)
i didn't know it was illegal to own paperclips in california? LOL just kidding! i know what you mean bhunter736. you're taking about lock picking tools. i am learning how to pick locks for certain situations. like those "OH-OH SECONDS" when you have already locked and micro-inches closing in the door then you realized that you left your key inside OR you are wind blew the door shut and have those locks that needs a key -dunno what you call them-. i'm learning for those kinds of situations. so that i won't bother anybody -like my mom- to open the door for me. thanks for the instructables theRIAA!
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