It is possible to pick simple locks and latches using paperclips. Using only a simple pair of pliers, paperclips can be used to construct basic lock-picking tools, such as rakes and tension wrenches. These tools can be used to bypass pin, tumbler and wafer locks.
A lock utilizes a series of pins that keep it from turning. After inserting a key, the grooves in the key push the pins, which allows the lock to turn. Basic tools that may be created from ordinary paperclips can be used to manipulate the pins of simpler locks. Rakes and tension wrenches made from paperclips are far less effective at picking more substantial and well-constructed locks.