How To Pick A Lock With A Paperclip

The Ultimate MacGyver Guide: How To Pick A Lock With A Paperclip

What up, MacGyver?! You have found yourself here because you want to James Bond that lock in front of you out of ordinary objects. In this master guide, we will show you how to pick a lock with a paperclip nice and easy. We have all been there, locked outside out house with nothing but a couple one two paperclips and all the while thinking “how do I do this?” Is this just a television thing?” No longer do you need to wonder, because yes it is possible and when you get good, you can do this very quickly without much effort. Now, let’s get started.

The first step in picking a lock with a paperclip is to find three paperclips, grab some extras just in case one breaks. Now it’s time to bend these bad boys into make shift lock picks and tension wrenches. Paperclips are a little bit fragile so don’t go full on Hulk on them when you are trying to pick the lock with paperclips. The keys to your success at lock picking is patients and practice, so keep that in mind every time you go to pick up your pick. Who knew that picking locks was this badass? Well, we did obviously. Now you can look like a spy too, let’s do this thing.

Tools That You Need To Create Picking Tools From Just A Paperclip

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The first thing you need are some paper clips. These are going to be turned into little lock picks and tension wrenches. These can be regular ole paperclips, however, the thicker and larger the paperclips are, the better. You are going to be applying a good amount of pressure on these makeshift tools so small paperclips may end up breaking on you – and you don’t want them to break off in the lock so be careful!



how to pick a lock with a paper clip image2Needle Nose Pliers

The second tool that you need for this job is a good pair of needle nose pliers. You are going to need these to bend those paperclips into shape. If you don’t have a pair of needle nose pliers handy, you can bend them by hand if you’re strong or bend the paperclips on the door frame or anything else with a hard corner to is. You can pick a pair of these up at any local hardware store or maybe ever your dad’s tool case if he’s a man’s man, I mean manly – you get it. These will also come in handy in repairing your picks and all kinds of other things.


Method: How To Pick A Lock With A Paperclip

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Take the pliers are start bending the paperclips into the shapes shown above. You are going to make essentially two tools that emulate modern lock pick sets. Below we will cover how to create each tool that you will be using the pick this freakin’ lock once and for all, never having to be locked outside in the cold ever again.

1. Create a Tension Wrench

This is much more simple than it sounds. Straighten out your paperclip entirely, but leaving only one loop left at the bottom. Now, bend the paperclip at a 90 degree angle. Make sure that the bent portion measures right around 2-2.5cm. This is important because if you don’t do that then the wrench might not be long enough to fully fit inside the lock enough to make it turn. You are going to be putting some pressure down on this object while picking your lock so make sure that it isn’t going to break on you and certainly don’t press to hard – this method is more of an art than a sport so settle down ya juice monkey. We are almost ready to find out how to pick a lock with a paperclip!

2. Create Two Picks

For the first pick, you are going to make what’s called a rake. Completely straighten out a paperclip for everything but a small handle piece. Now, take out your pliers and start making small 45 degree bends in the paperclip every 2-3mm. Make anywhere from 2 to 5 of these bends. There’s not telling if more bends or less bends are the best for your specific lock so this may take some trial and error. I suggest doing 3 to meet in the middle and will take care of most locks.

The second type of pick that you are going to fashion is a single pin pick. To do this, simply straighten half of a paperclip like the others and at the straightened end of the clip, bend it up slightly so there is about 2-3mm sticking up from the clip. This again will vary depending on the specific lock you are trying to pick so feel free to change the height of this pick at any time. No longer do you have to spend time wondering how to pick a lock with a paperclip.

3. Start Picking With Nothing But A Paper Clip

You can find out all the comprehensive picking methods here in our Complete Guide to raking and single pin picking. Stick the tension wrench in the bottom of the lock hole. Now put the rake inside the top and start pushing it in and out quickly while putting pressure down on the tension wrench in the same direction that you would turn a key. Then, wallah! You should be able to pick 90% of locks out there with a few paperclips and some patience. If you don’t get it right the first time, don’t fret. It is more difficult to pick with paperclips because there is an additional variable that could fail which is your skill in making these picking tools.

So now you have it! Most locks out there, you can pick with a clip so now you know how to pick a lock with a paperclip and never have to worry about not being able to get back into your house in your time of need. For sure remember though that the best way to get back into your house is with the key, duh. So don’t lose it! Now that you have learned how to be cool like MacGyver, check out our How To Guides on how to pick all different kinds of locks using different methods.

There are several other “home made” tools that you can use. They include bobby pins, hair pins, credit cards and knives. Fortunately, we have broken down every single kind on our site. So no matter what you got, we have your back. If you really want to get into lock picking, pick up a tool set below. It is by far the most effective method and easy to conceal. Never worry about finding a household item again and be prepared. You never know when you will need to pick the next lock with a paper clip.