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!

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Step 1: 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

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

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

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



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    88 Discussions


    3 years ago

    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.


    3 years ago

    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


    8 years ago on Step 4

    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.


    9 years ago on Step 4

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

    1 reply

    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!


    9 years ago on Introduction

    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 not...an 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...


    Reply 9 years ago on Introduction

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

    Tim Temple

    9 years ago on Introduction

    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!

    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.