Open a Padlock With One Paperclip, Nothing Else




Introduction: 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

Step 1: 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!

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.

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.

Step 4: Insert

slide the straight end into your lock, right under the pins.

At this point, make sure the torsion wrench in the lower part on the keyway is not getting in the way of your pick, the pick should slide in and out freely, without moving the pins much.

If your wrench is in the way, don't worry, for your wrench is double sided as well! the other end is straight though... just bend it a little in the keyway and make it work. You're trying to turn the keyway clockwise, but without interfering with the pins, thats the pick's job... just make it work, if you don't, you may have to saw your leg off.

Step 5: Lets Get Picking :D

just a minute, just hold on... If you haven't picked a lock before, I really wouldn't recommend learning like this. Jiggling with a straight paper clip is easy, it works on lots of cheap padlocks, but it's just horrible style, and learning with a paper clip torsion wrench is simply insanity. This instructable was made to prove it is in fact possible to pick locks with just one paperclip, and show people how to if they are ever stuck without any real picks.

assuming you've done everything correctly so far, just hold the lock and tools like shown, and rapidly, but gently giggle up and down on the pick, holding it right at the rounded bend, JUST AFTER you apply a light, but slowly increasing clockwise pressure on the torsion wrench...

again, I hope this isn't your first time picking locks, you may have no idea what I'm talking about...

Step 6: Here's Some Videos...

Step 7: Comment!

picking locks is not easy to do, and using just a paper clip to open a padlock can be extremely frustrating. but DON'T GIVE UP, it took me almost 20 paper clips to make this instructable, and Iv'e been doing this for a long time! post and questions, comments, suggestions, or tips.




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    167 Discussions

    Hi, I just wanted to say thank you! My hubby lost the key to the brinks lock on the shed and I was able to pick it open with just one paperclip. Great method. :)

    Do not need to pick the padlock, just rake it. It is much easy and fast.

    So, if I'm helping my lil sis pick her diary lock (which is small) should we use a small paperclip?

    Thanks for the instructable! I've always been intrigued by this but now realized I will need waaay more paperclips...
    And for the "don't teach criminals" crowd, two things:
    1.) Go ahead and try to pick a lock. Seriously. I know the theory but I find it's actually not quite as easy. Or fast. So watch out for the guy with a box of paperclips standing in front of your lock for like 30 minutes while continously cussing and the walking away frustrated.
    2.) Most homes or locks can be broken into much easier using destructive methods. Break a window, use a bolt cutter or just drive your pick-up truck through the wall. If someone really wants to get in they will get in. Ask your local police officer, 9 out of 10 timed thats how burglars get in, not by picking locks, because that actually takes skill and time. Even the locksmith I once had to call just busted my lock, the lazy bastard.
    Lastly if you have to cut your favorite padlock always do it on the top of the horseshoe that way you can weld and reuse it...

    1 reply

    3.) To those would-be criminals...please stop by...there is yet another mechanical device with a trigger waiting on the other side of MY door... ;)

    This does work. It helps to know how they are constructed and then visualize what you are doing.

    Quick way I would get into video and vending machine I owned that had the locks buggered. Drive a flat screwdriver into the key hole . Use a crescent wrench to turn the screwdriver. Might take a couple of tries but all cheap and some better locks if you break the pins the lock opens. Some have cheap wafers and they are even easier.

    thanks for letting every criminal know how to break the lock on my back yard and get in my windows!!!!!!!

    5 replies

    You don't have to worry about criminals using this to get through your locks. This takes too much time and some talent/practice to get. Criminals find it much faster and easier to just pry or cut the lock. I have been in law enforcement for over 20 years and have never run across a lock that has been picked by a would-be thief. The lock are always cut/damaged.

    My dear Helen, please be aware that lock picking has been around as long as there have been locks. I figured all of this tutorial out when I was 11. I am now 65. I have never abused my knowledge, though one friend did go behind my back, questioning my integrity after I unlocked her house for her and showed her how to fix her vulnerability. People!.

    Enter stage left, the mandatory, pseudo moralist. Every group has at least one.
    Pretty sure that this tutoial is old news to any would be crim.

    Yo Helen S73. Be grateful someone woke you up to the fact. Get solid window locks, and remember that most fences are not impregnable. As in ladder over and out.

    There have been lock picking instructions since the days when usenet started and the World Wide Web was text based. Criminals already know how to do it. Also Google "bump keys" and see how they get in your front door.

    The videos in step 6 do not appear.

    Thanks PhillippeB15, it sure sent me to Home Depot to get some extra sliding locks for my downstairs windows. And as for you, ynneb, someone in this country has to have some morality, they're disappearing by the thousands :-)

    I tried it with a paperclip. It didn't work, (sorry). Then I tried it with another paperclip. It didn't work (sorry). Then I tried it with a different paperclip and it didn't work.

    Don't worry, paperclips can't pick locks.

    I don't bother with picking a lock. Bolt Cutter does a quick job and no time wasted. Don't misunderstand me, I use bolt cutters when the key was lost.