how to pick a lock with a paperclip

Anyone can have a situation where they have to pick a lock. You see, being locked somewhere can be irritating. Moreover, it can take a lot of time. Well, there’s a solution. We will cover how to pick a lock with a paperclip in this article. Yes, you have to follow some simple steps here.

Many people locked themselves in. It can happen accidentally. However, it takes a lot of time if you want a locksmith to save you. In this case, you can use a paperclip to pick a lock. Instead, you can also use a bobby pin. In the following, we will share the top tips to do this process.

How Does A Tumbler Lock Work


Before you know how to pick a lock with a paperclip, you have to know how a tumbler lock works. It’s very essential when you pick a lock for the first time. The technique of the tumbler lock has changed since 1861. It happened after the adaptation of the cylinder lock.

How Does A Tumbler Lock Work

Well, most people use cylinder locks nowadays. In the following, we will talk about the five parts of a tumbler lock. So, you can understand how it works. Let’s find out:

  • Casing

Cashing is an important metal part of the tumbler lock. It helps by holding the rest of the components. As we noted before, the casing can be made of several metals such as brass, nickel, and stainless steel. 

  • Key Pins

Key pins have different lengths and they are inserted inside the keyhole. Well, these pins touch the key when you insert it inside. 

  • Plug

The plug is one of the most essential parts of the lock. When you insert the right key, the plug can freely rotate. As a result, you can unlock the lock. 

  • Driver Pins

The driver pins sit above the key pins. However, these pins are not connected to driver pins. Driver pins help the plug to turn when someone puts the right key. 

  • Shear Line

The shear line is the point where the height of key pins is the same. It can only happen when you insert the right key. The shear line creates between the driver pins and key pins.

Things You Need


You see, picking a lock is not that easy. You have to follow the steps carefully. Moreover, you need some basic items to complete the process. These items are:

  • Metal paper clips (2 pics)
  • Any type of pair of pliers
  • A tumbler lock (if you are practicing)

How to Pick a Lock With a Paperclip

Now, you know how a tumbler lock works and what items you need to pick a lock. In the following list, we will share a step-by-step guide on how to pick a lock with a paperclip. Make sure you read and implement them carefully.

1. Make a Tension Wrench

To make a tension wrench, you have to take one paperclip. Make sure you straighten out the first two bends. Now, you have an extra loop. Moreover, you have to make the paperclip as straight as possible. In this case, you can use pliers to straighten out the paperclip. You can also do it with your fingers.

2. Make a Rake

The next step of how to pick a lock with a paperclip guide is making a rake. In this step, you have to make the paper clip look like an edge. Make sure you bend the paperclip 45 degree. You have to make three bends in a zig-zag style.

3. Insert Tension Wrench

Now, you have to place the tension wrench in the bottom of the keyhole. Make sure you apply slight pressure to the tension wrench. If the lock is not opening, you have to pick a direction. However, don’t apply too much pressure while inserting a tension wrench in the keyhole.

4. Insert The Rake

Next, you have to insert the rake to pick a lock. Well, the rake can lift each key pin. You have to put the rake into the keyhole, so it can stay back of the lock. Make sure it stays at the top of the tension wrench.

5. Scrub The Rake

The next thing you have to do is move the rake up and down until the tension wrench twists. At this time, you are holding the driver pins while the key pins fall. However, don’t be slow while doing this process. You can also do some trials during this process.

6. Apply Tension

Keep pressuring the tension wrench to continue the process. In this case, don’t apply too much pressure while doing this process. You can repeat the step as per your requirement. Well, you have to do it until all pins are set. As we mentioned above, each lock has five to six pins. You can only unlock it when all pins are open.

7. Torque To Open

Once all the pins are set, you can find the right torque to open the lock. In this case, the lock will unlock. So, you can remove the paperclip once the process is done. Plus, don’t forget to clean your lock afterward.

Top Tips to Pick a Lock With a Paperclip

Finally, you know how to pick a lock with a paperclip. However, you have to follow some tips to complete the process. Hence, these tips can make everything easier. Let’s find out:

Do it Gently

The process of picking a lock with a paperclip is sensitive. So, you have to be careful while doing the process. For example, if you put too much pressure on the tension wrench, you can break the paper pin.

Practice More

As we mentioned above, picking a lock is not an easy task. That’s why you have to practice a lot. Hence, you can use a tumbler lock for the practice.

Clean Your Lock

No matter if you are practicing or picking a lock in an emergency situation, you have to clean the lock after finishing the process. It’s more essential when the paper clips have a plastic coating.


You see, how to pick a lock with a paperclip. We have shared some easy steps in this article. Make sure you implement them properly to get the result. If these steps are not working, you can get help from a locksmith. In this case, choose a professional locksmith.


The goal of this article is to educate people on how to deal with an emergency situation. We have no intention to encourage illegal activities. So, we won’t hold any liabilities if someone misuses our information.


By Swati