How to Pick a Padlock With Bobby Pins

If you put a padlock on a safe, a closet or some other storage unit and lose the key, you probably don't want to have to cut it off or pay someone to remove it for you. Fortunately, you can open your padlock with only two metal hair clips. It may take you a few tries to get the feel of it, but the process should take no more than five minutes.

Bend one hair clip at a right angle about two-thirds of the way down from the head of the pin (the rounded top). The two unconnected ends should be perpendicular to the head. This will be your tension wrench. Bend the other hair clip open so that it forms a right angle at the head, with one end perpendicular to the other. This will be your pick. Remove the rubber tips from the ends if there are any on your hair clips.

Insert the tension wrench pin into the keyhole of the padlock and press it against the bottom part of the keyhole. The top of the keyhole is the part where the jagged teeth of the key would go if you were inserting an actual key; the bottom is the other side, where the smooth side of the key would go. Keep the tension wrench pin in place by pressing slightly up on it with your left index finger as you hold the padlock in your left hand. You may have to adjust your grip a few times to get it to stay in position.

Insert the pick into the keyhole and gently scrub over the pins inside the lock, going from inside to outside in one direction, then pull the pick out. Repeat this process until you hear the lock click and the padlock opens.


You should never open someone else's lock without permission. Use this information only to open your own padlocks.

Things You'll Need

  • Two hair clips, preferably the long variety
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

In 2008 Amanda Gronot began her professional career as a writer for a research company. She helped ghostwrite a book for a prominent CEO and has had essays and translations published in the prestigious classics journal "Helicon." Gronot graduated with a four-year Master of Arts/Bachelor of Arts in classics from Yale University.