Introduction: Universal Locked Door Opener. (does Not Work on Deadbolts.)

Picture of Universal Locked Door Opener. (does Not Work on Deadbolts.)

I thought of this brilliant device today when my sister locked me and my friend in a storage room.

My friend lives in an apartment and has an underground corridor running through the storage rooms of the houses. We rigged the door from his room to the storage room so we could get in if it was locked. But we didn't think about rigging the door from the storage room to the corridor. So i thought of a few ways we could open the door and this was the simplest one.

I added a video because no one can figure this thing out apparently.

Step 1: Stuff You Need.

Picture of Stuff You Need.

Things you need:

1-laminate card(gift cards work best. I used an itunes card.)


3-a locked door that needs getting into

Step 2: Cut the Card.

Picture of Cut the Card.

take your laminate card and cut a piece out of it that is shaped like this.

Step 3: Unlock the Door

Picture of Unlock the Door

stick the card into the door above where the sloped lock thing would be at. slide it down and over the sloped piece. push the card forward so the sloped thing is pushed back into the door. then just push the door open.

(hint: if the door opens away from you, you are probably going to have to push the card. if the door opens toward you, chances are you are going to have to pull the card. unless some idiot put the door knob on backwards.)


ThomasC206 (author)2016-06-30

Man, thanks a lot...being trying for the past 2 hours, your solution worked in 5 mintues

JacobS164 (author)ThomasC2062016-07-06

thomas do you have any dimensions of your card or can you be pretty liberal with your cuts?

ThomasC206 (author)JacobS1642016-07-06

It was an expired credit card ;)

I guess it could be somewhat bigger or smaller but not a lot...

JacobS164 (author)2016-07-06

Does anyone have dimensions on this card? Don't have a lot of time to play with, and want to get it right the first time.

UrielO1 (author)2016-02-27

Thanks Man!! I'll keep a card in my wallet just in case I lock myself out of my dorm room again.

robbiesimms (author)2016-01-30

There are so many ways to prevent yourself from getting locked out to begin with, people - be aware!

Read this article:

ZombehhLove (author)2016-01-17

I tried it myself because I needed to unlock a door for my friend who got locked out. The door had an outside molding which made it hard, but I cut it out just like he did, and kept measuring it to another similar doors lock. Once I got it to right size I slipped it through. At first I was afraid of breaking the card by pushing the card in too harshly but then once I finally shoved it in at full force the door popped open. 10/10 would def do it again!

JohnD238 (author)ZombehhLove2016-01-30

You didn't have to cut the card it would have done the same if you left the card alone :^)

JohnD238 (author)2016-01-30

You didn't need to cut the card you slide it in to try and find the lock hit the lock sideways a few time then push on the sentence of the spring lock /slope thing that keeps the door locked then the door should pop open

kraverbaby (author)2011-10-04

Just tried this on our front door, totally didn't work. When i slipped the card through, it just hit wood, then i tried to wriggle it around the wood to drag down to the lock, but it wouldnt bend around it... :( lol ah well :(

esecco_20 (author)kraverbaby2015-12-22

this happened to me too

TiffanyA3 (author)2015-08-12

my 4 year old son seemed to have locked the bathroom door after he walked out. I found this page...cut up the card and pop, the door opened like a charm! thanks!!

28044 (author)2015-03-23

MarkM23 (author)2015-02-10

Hello! I needed a help with one old door lock. I searched in the internet how can I change the lock alone and I found some tips. I collected it here - Your article for "Universal Locked Door Opener" is one of my best choices. Thank you for this tips.

janet.chou.94 (author)2015-01-01

What to do if my lock is installed upside down?

SparkySolar (author)2014-10-15

great idea, very useful.

1995duncan1995 (author)2010-08-06

looks like my old high school id is going into good use

well it look like my oldd collection of expired gift cards will go to use

UnderManiac (author)2011-10-03

Looking at all the doors that lock in my house, I found that there is a pin next to the striker that prevents it from being opened in this manner when the door is closed. The pin is a safety device to prevent this sort of entry method. When the pin is depressed, either using a finger or with the striker plate, the striker can not be pushed into the door housing. This is an old "credit card technique" used ages ago and lock manufacturers make locks that can't be opened using this method.

jordan4762 (author)2011-07-17

Awesome. Just took 20 seconds to make and I will be using it for years!!!

CaseBoy (author)2011-01-15

this is so cool. just made 2 and they work zoo well!

glend65 (author)2009-08-27

If the lock is installed correctly, the secondary deadlatch plunger will be depressed against the strike plate making it impossible to slip the latch open. In my experience, as a locksmith, about 20% of residential locks are installed incorrectly so this might work. A locked deadbolt lock will prevent this from working as well.

nosut (author)glend652010-05-15

Is that so? As I do not have that same experience as you I find that interesting because about 90% of the time I find that the deadlatch plunger is not correctly depressed. In the other few i have seen that where actually installed correctly I found that if you just take a large screwdriver you can normally pry the deadlatch far enough away from the strike plate to allow the latch to move. 

glend65 (author)nosut2010-05-15

I have spent most of my career working on fairly high-end homes ($500K & up) as well as office buildings. That might might explain my experience since the workmanship on these homes and buildings has typically been very good. Out of curiosity, are you a locksmith?

nosut (author)glend652010-05-15

No I am not. I install security systems and fire alarms. As such we often test our system and see break-ins quite often. I agree that the higher end homes do tend to have slightly better work done with the doors but normally it comes down to the type of door and installer. We also install different types of door latch systems ourselves such as electrical buzz in latches that unlock the door or create a gap in the strike plate. As well as the higher end RFID tags that are securely locked into place by very powerful electromagnets.

glend65 (author)nosut2010-05-16

You and I have similar backgrounds. I am licensed as a locksmith and burglar alarm installer. I am also a state certified locksmith licensing instructor. I have dealt with a lot of experienced guys in my classes who are less conscientious and thorough than you. It is good to see that you test the clients security.

JamesTB13 (author)glend652010-06-30

You know, if you and nosut got together, you could unlock ANYTHING.

glend65 (author)JamesTB132010-06-30

I sometimes joke around stating that if I was was dishonest I would either be very wealthy...or in jail!

mojo3120 (author)glend652010-02-12

I've found that you can usually pull back on the door hard enough for the deadlatch to disengage/fall back into the latch hole in door frame, while pushing forward on the card.

I'm a volunteer firefighter/EMT and have made "forcible entry" many times using this method (regular card, no need to cut). Takes <5 seconds and has worked every time I've attempted it. Not as much fun as a halligan or axe :-).....but the homeowners are always appreciative

orksecurity (author)glend652009-11-23

Note the implication: If this works on your door, replace the lock with one which has a working deadlatch, and/or fix the installation error which is keeping the deadlatch from engaging properly, and/or install a deadbolt rather than relying on the spring latch. The convenience of being able to open the door without a key doesn't make up for the inconvenience of someone else being able to do so.

I'd also point out that -- in my experience as a locksmith -- every time you lock yourself out, anything that could help you will turn out to be on the wrong side of the locked door. The professional solution really is to give a spare key to a trusted friend.

schwabie (author)2010-06-23

maybe if u told us the dimensions of the cut in the card it would make it easier

odysseusesperson (author)2009-12-22

 i dont kno if its just bc ur lock is older but it dident work for me any thing else to help

If doors and their frames are built right then instead of the bolt/bar thing having a small curve the bolt/ bar thing makes a flush 90 degree angle with the frame so the card won't slip in and move the bolt/bar thing out of the way so the door will open. It varies on doorknobs, but i find that you tend to need a gap between the door and frame about 2-3 credit card thicknesses. We used to pull this trick on teacher's doors at the Junior High all the time when we were board.

I posted a video if it helps at all.

alovon (author)2010-05-16

Having been locked out of my house alot, I learned that the quickest way to pop open a door is with paper. Just fold it up a few times and force it into the door jam where you believe the bolt to be. The folds make the paper more rigid, and allow it to force the bolt down. Just a push and the door is open. It is quick, cheap, and it won't crack like credit cards or CD's.

Onkei (author)2010-03-17

Why did you cut it? Doesn't usually work with an uncut card. In my experiance of a few times just messing around with brothers, I don't remember cutting the card at all.

nosut (author)Onkei2010-05-15

I agree with you about half the time. However his idea is actually a good one. There are some doors that the curved side of the latch does not face the outside of the door. In these cases an uncut card will not be able to open the door because the card would simply be pushing against a flat latch. However with the cut card you can also pull the card towards you which will open a door that has the curved side of the latch facing inside as well. 

___JoYo___ (author)2010-03-25

 This is really cool me and my friends had to do this at his house because the door was locked and our bags were in there. We just used a regular itunes card not cut or anything it was hard this would definitely help. Thank Man!!!

bhunter736 (author)2010-01-31

Good instructable. : ) Good video too.  As a locksmith I see you have already been made aware of why this works and why it will not always work.  That is the great thing about instructables, we can all learn from each other.  Keep adding as you learn cool or interesting/useful new stuff. : )

odysseusesperson (author)2009-12-24

 well i understand the concept but i think i either dident make it right or the lock is too new for this  

Closer (author)2009-08-27

This cannot work in all cases. It is not clear from the photo just what type of lock is being illustrated but often the bolt (described her as the "sloped thing" ) has another shaft beside it. When the door is shut, the bolt goes in the recess in the door (the striker) and the shaft beside it stays pushed in because it does not fit in the hole in the striker. When that shaft is pressed in, the bolt is not supposed to be able to be pressed back into the door. Try it for your self and see. If you have a door with a lock like the one illustrated (with the shaft beside the bolt) press the shaft in and try to push the bolt in. It won't go. This is designed to prevent this type of forced entry.

briguy1 (author)2009-08-19

This would only work if your in the "inside " of the door.( The door swings towards you when opened). If youre on the other side then the door jamb, will catch the card and it wouldnt work. Thus the reason why your house door opens inwards, so that people cant just break into your house as easily. Also some locks have a security feature that no matter what side of the door youre on , the card thing will not work. So just dont assume you can open anything , however this trick is quite nice to use.

Ptr_V_2 (author)2009-07-26

Video, please?

GlasEyes (author)Ptr_V_22009-07-27

do you want a video of using it to open the door? ( im just looking for an opinion. this is my first instructable.)

Ptr_V_2 (author)GlasEyes2009-07-27

Yeah, that would help. It might just be easier to grasp the concept of how the tool is used.

cupojoe999 (author)Ptr_V_22009-08-11

that and a scale picture of the card with the hole in it (i cant get the measurements right for the spot you cut out right)

minimidget (author)2009-08-08

Of course, this won't work if there is molding in front of the door, as is the case in my house. =\

But in most public places it'll work.

Assuming you got locked out of your office or something. yeah. Or maybe your dorm. whatever.

AustenQn (author)2009-08-02

You can use sheet metal the size of a credit card and steel cutters.(If plastic keeps breaking)

galate (author)2009-07-28

very nice instructable! you could also use this when the doornob isn't there; for example when the wind shuts the the door and the handle just flies off.

berky93 (author)galate2009-07-28

I've never had the handle fly off a door in the wind, but I can imagine this would help.

About This Instructable




Bio: I love the idea of breaking into places. i like anything that is well thought out and things that are very clever. i like to ... More »
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