# How To Solve A Rubik's Cube - A Step² Tutorial

HOW TO SOLVE

A RUBIK’S CUBE
A STEP² TUTORIAL

HOW TO SOLVE A RUBIK’S CUBE: History Behind The Cube

The Rubik’s Cube was invented in 1974 by Ernő Rubik, a Hungarian
sculptor and professor of architecture. Originally called the “Magic
Cube”, the puzzle was licensed by Rubik to sold by the Ideal Toy
Corporation in 1980. More than 350 million cubes have been sold
worldwide making it the world’s top-selling puzzle game.

In a classic Rubik’s Cube, each of the six sides is covered by nine
stickers, among six solid colours: white, red, blue, orange, green and
yellow. Its pivot mechanism allows each face to be turned
independently, thus mixing up the colours. For the puzzle to be
solved, each face must be a solid colour.

Not surprisingly, before the solution was discovered, solving the cube
was relatively difficult and may I say, you are not the first person
looking for some help. But, never fear because I am here today to
teach how to solve it.

On a side note, this method we’re going to be using is designed to be
simple as possible. That does not mean is going to be easy, but with
some work and practice, solving the Rubik’s Cube should be a breeze.

HOW TO SOLVE A RUBIK’S CUBE: Some Cube Talk

Before we go on to solve it, you are going to have to know the cube
inside and out.

The original 3x3x3 Rubik’s Cube is made up of 26 pieces, made into
three different forms:

• Six centre pieces, each of which have one colour and never move,
no matter how much you twist and turn the cube. The centre
pieces indicate which side should be what colour. For example, the
side with the green centre should be the green side.
• Twelve edge pieces, each of which have two colours and can move
to occupy any of the twelve edge piece locations.
• And, finally, there are eight corner pieces, each of which has three
colours and can move to occupy any of the eight corner piece
locations.

As is true of any cube, the Rubik’s Cube has six sides and all six of
these sides have a name:

Front
the side that is facing you.
(Notated with a capital “F”)
Up

the side that is on top.

(Notated with a capital “U”)
Left

the side that is on the left.
(Notated with a capital “L”)
Right
the side that is on the right.
(Notated with a capital “R”)
Down
the side that is on the bottom.
(Notated with a capital “D”)
Back

the side that is on the back.
(Notated with a capital “B”)

Even though it is included, we will not be using the back side in this
tutorial.

HOW TO SOLVE A RUBIK’S CUBE: Algorithms

When solving the Rubik’s Cube, we will be using what are known as
algorithms – a sequence of moves that helps us to solve a specific
part of the cube.

Within these algorithms, you’ll see things noted in three different
ways:

• A plain capital letter represents one clockwise turn of the side
represented by the letter (see previous page) as though we were
facing that side. For example, “F” would be one clockwise turn of
the front side and “U” would be one clockwise turn of the up side.
• A capital letter followed by a lowercase “i” represents one
counter-clockwise turn of the side represented by the letter as
though we were facing that side. For example, “Li” would be one
counter-clockwise turn of the left side and “Ri” would be one
counter-clockwise turn of the right side. The lowercase “i” stands
for “inverted”.
• Finally, a capital letter followed by a number “2” represents two
turns of the side represented by the letter as though we were
facing that side. For example, “D2” would be two turns of the down
side and “B2” would be two turns of the back side. When doing this
move, it doesn’t matter whether to go clockwise or counter-
clockwise. So, there wouldn’t be a “B2i” for example.

Once you have understood all of the cube talk and algorithms, then
great! It’s time to scramble and begin to solve the Rubik’s Cube!

HOW TO SOLVE THE RUBIK’S CUBE: Solving The Red Cross

The first thing to do when looking at a scrambled Rubik’s Cube is
figuring which side you want to start with. As you know, the centre
piece indicates which side should be what colour. But, for the sake of
simplicity, I think it would be best to start with the red side on your
first couple of turns. Find the side with the red centre, and make it
your up side. Either the green, yellow, blue or white centre should be
facing you. The first thing we’re going to have to get is a red cross on
the up side. First off, find the edge piece with red and green in it and
being careful to insure your red side remains on top, twist the cube
so that the red part of said edge piece is part of the down side. Now,
look at the green part of the edge piece and also take note that it is
green. Twist the down side so that the green part lines up with the
green centre. With the red centre still on top, re-orient the cube so
the green centre faces you, or is the front side. Then, do the move: F2.
Once you’ve done that, the edge piece should be in the correct place
- red on top and green lined up with its centre. Repeat this process
three more times with the red-yellow, red-blue and red-white edge
pieces to get the red cross.

Now, sometimes you’ll encounter this situation: you cannot get the
red part of your edge piece to be part of the down side, whilst
making sure the red side remains on top. This is easily fixable. First, if
needed, twist the cube so that the red part of your edge piece is
facing you and is also in between the bottom-left and bottom-right
corner pieces. Then, look at your edge piece’s other colour and line
up the red part with the other colour’s centre. Now, it’s time to use
our first, very simple algorithm (this won’t swap the colours per se,
but it will get the red part on top for you): F, U, Li, Ui. Your edge piece
should now be in the right place.

Another situation is this: to move the red part of an edge piece into
the down side would require messing up what you’ve already done
on top. Do it anyway, the situation tends to sort itself out, quite
nicely.
HOW TO SOLVE A RUBIK’S CUBE: Solving The Red Corners

Now that you have solved the red cross, it is time to solve the top
four red corners, therefore completing the entire first layer of the
Rubik’s Cube.

With the red cross remaining on top, look at the four bottom layer
corner pieces and find one with red as one of its three colours. If
there are no bottom layer corner pieces with red in it, bare with us,
we’ll get there in a second. Once you’ve chosen the corner piece you
are going to start with, take note of all three of its colours. For this
example, we’ll use the red, yellow and blue corner piece. Twist the
down side so that your corner piece is directly underneath its home
in the top layer. In other words, twist the down side so that the red,
yellow and blue corner piece is in between the yellow and blue sides.
Hold the cube so that your corner piece is in the bottom-right of the
front face and do this algorithm: Ri, Di, R, D. You have to do this
algorithm either three times, five times or even just once.

Repeat the above three more times to complete not only the red
side, but also the entire first layer.

Now, sometimes, you’ll encounter a situation like this: there are no
bottom layer corner pieces with red in it. To fix this, find a corner
piece in the top layer with red in it. One or more of them should have
red in it. Then, hold the cube so that the top layer corner piece you
located in the top right of the front face (it doesn’t matter if red is
facing you or not) and simply repeat the algorithm: Ri, Di, R, D. The
corner piece should now be in the bottom layer and you can now
solve it like normal.

If you have done this step correctly, you will have the red side and
the entire first layer complete.

HOW TO SOLVE A RUBIK’S CUBE: Solving The Second Layer (1)

With the first layer of your Rubik’s Cube solved, you’re probably
feeling pretty good about yourself right now. You can see clearly
that progress is being made and you’re starting to feel a bit more
comfortable with all the cube talk I’m throwing your away. But don’t
get TOO comfortable because this next step uses the most
complicated algorithm so far. With that being said, don’t be
intimated. You can do it, let’s get to it!

Re-orient your cube so that the solved red side is on the bottom. On a
standard Rubik’s Cube, the side opposite red is orange. Assuming
you’re using a standard cube, the centre piece of your up side should
now be orange. If it’s not, no big deal. Just keep note that in the
forthcoming steps when I say “orange”, I really mean “the side
opposite red”. With the red side on the bottom and the orange side
on top, look at the four top layer edge pieces and find one without
orange in it. If all of your top layer edge pieces have orange in them,
bare with us, we’ll get there in a second. Hold the cube so that the
edge piece you located is between the top-left and top-right corners
of the front face. One of its colours will be facing you and its other
colour will be facing upwards. Twist the up side so that the colour
facing you lines up with its corresponding centre. Then, hold the cube
so that your edge piece is once again in between the top-left and top-
right corners of the front face. Now take note of the colour facing
upwards. If you look at the left and right sides of the cube, you’ll
notice that the colour facing upwards is the same colour as either the
left or the right side.

If it’s the left, do this algorithm: Ui, Li, U, L, U, F, Ui, Fi
If it’s the right, do the reverse: U, R, Ui, Ri, Ui, Fi, U, F

If done correctly, your edge piece should be in the right place,
oriented the right way, and what you’ve already done, if by magic,
will not messed up at all.

HOW TO SOLVE A RUBIK’S CUBE: Solving The Second Layer (2)

If all of your top layer edge pieces happen to have orange in them,
find an edge piece in the middle layer and find one without orange in
it. Hold the cube so that the edge piece you located is in between the
top-right and bottom-right corners of the front face and do the
algorithm: U, R, Ui, Ri, Ui, Fi, U, F. Once you have done that, your edge
piece should be sent up to the top layer and you can solve it like
normal.

Once you have finished this step, assuming you did everything
correctly, you should now have two out of three layers complete.

Not only have you got the majority of the cube complete, but you’re
also ready to begin hacking away at the third and final layer of the
Rubik’s Cube!

HOW TO SOLVE A RUBIK’S CUBE: Getting The Orange Cross

You’re Rubik’s Cube is now two-thirds solved! That makes two-thirds
brilliant! But why be two-thirds brilliant, when you can be three-
thirds brilliant? Let’s keep going!

The last layer of the cube is, by far, the most difficult to solve, and
that makes sense. You’ve got most of the cube done, and you want to
avoid messing that up. But don’t worry, these algorithms have
specially designed so that everything magically comes back
together. The first thing that needs to be done when solving the final
layer is manipulating the top layer edge pieces, thus getting an
orange cross. It’s probably good to mention that we are not focusing
on the corner pieces right now. Until we get this cross figured out, do
not let the top layer corner pieces distract you one bit. With red on
bottom and orange on top, you’ll have one of four possible
figurations on the top orange side:

1.   The orange centre on its own.
2.   An ‘L’ made up of two orange edge pieces and the centre piece.
3.   A line made up of two orange edge pieces and the centre piece.
4.   The orange cross already set up.

• If you have the orange centre, hold the cube in any position, as
long as the orange centre is still on top and do this algorithm: F, R,
U, Ri, Ui, Fi. This will make the ‘L’.
• When you have the ‘L’, hold the cube so that the ‘L’ is on top and is
in the back-left position. Then, do the algorithm: F, R, U, Ri, Ui, Fi.
This will make the line.
• When you have the line, hold the cube so that the line is on top and
is in a horizontal manner. Then, do the algorithm: F, R, U, Ri, Ui, Fi.
This will make the orange cross.
• If you have the cross already, then you can skip this step!

HOW TO SOLVE A RUBIK’S CUBE: Finishing The Orange Cross

Even though it looks like you have the orange cross, upon closer
inspection a few things remain slightly off. This next step will turn
your fake solved orange cross into a real solved orange cross!

What things remain “slightly off”? While the cross exists on the top, if
you look at the other colours of the edge pieces, you’ll find that,
unless you’re incredibly lucky, they don’t all line up with their
corresponding centres. The aim of this step is to fix that. Your first
mission is to get two “non-orange” parts of the edge pieces to line up
with their corresponding centres. Start by checking to see if two of
the edges line up already. If not, twist the up side once and look
again. Keep doing this until you either A – you get two edges to line
up or B – you’re confident that you can’t get two edges to line up by
just twisting the up side. If you can’t get two edges to line up, with
the orange cross on top, do this algorithm: R, U, Ri, U, R, U2, Ri. You
should now be able to get two edges to line up with their
corresponding centres. Once you have lined up two edges, there’s a
possibility they will be across from each other. If this is the case, hold
the cube so that one lined up edge faces you and then repeat the
algorithm: R, U, Ri, U, R, U2, Ri. You should now get two lined up
to each other, then just skip that last step. Once they are adjacent to
each other, hold the cube so that one of them is is part of the right
side and the other is part of the back side and do this algorithm (it’s
basically the same algorithm but with another move at the end): R, U,
Ri, U, R, U2, Ri, U. You should now get all four edges to line up with
their corresponding centres.

Once you are done with this step, assuming you’ve done everything
correctly, you are ready to begin the penultimate step!

HOW TO SOLVE A RUBIK’S CUBE: Positioning The Orange Corners

Examining your cube, you’ll notice that everything on the cube is
solved, except... for the top four corner pieces. Once you have solved
the top corner pieces, your Rubik’s Cube will be complete, but solving
the corners is a two-step process. First, we have to get all the corner
pieces in the right place and then we need to orient them correctly,
therefore completing the Rubik’s Cube.

Start by looking at each of the top layer corner pieces and see how
many are in the right place, but not necessarily oriented correctly.
There will either be none, one or all four. To know if a corner piece is
in the right place, look at the piece’s three colours. For this example,
we will use the orange, white and green corner piece. If that corner
piece is in the right place, the orange, white and green sides will be
surrounding that piece. If all four of your top corner pieces are
already in the right place, then you are lucky because you are done
with this step. If none of your top corner pieces are in the right place,
hold the cube so that your orange cross is on top and do this
algorithm: U, R, Ui, Li, U, Ri, Ui, L. Some people think it’s easier to
memorise if you think about it this way: up, right away from you, up
inverted, left away from you, up, right towards you, up inverted, left
towards you. It really doesn’t matter how you think about it. The
main point is, one of your top corner pieces will now be in the right
place. Once one of your top corner pieces is in the right place, hold
the cube so that said piece is in the top-right of the front face (it
doesn’t matter if orange is facing you or not) and repeat the
algorithm: U, R, Ui, Li, U, Ri, Ui, L. Check your top corner pieces again.
Either all four top corner pieces will be in the right places or still just
the one. If they’re all in the right places, you are done with this step.
If they’re not, just repeat what we’ve just did.

If you’ve done this step correctly, while they won’t be necessarily be
oriented correctly, all four top corner pieces will be in the right place.
You know what this means? You are in the home stretch!

HOW TO SOLVE A RUBIK’S CUBE: Finishing The Cube

At this point, every single piece will be in the correct location and the
only thing you have left to do is to orient the unsolved top corner
pieces correctly (so that the orange parts are on top), therefore
completing the Rubik’s Cube.

While this step seems like you’re messing up what you’ve already
done up to this point, if you do this step correctly, it will all magically
come back together in the last few turns.

To finish the Rubik’s Cube, hold the cube so that an unsolved top
corner piece is the top-right of the front face and do the algorithm
(you’ve already learned this): Ri, Di, R, D twice. You have to do the
algorithm either twice or four times. Once you’ve oriented the corner
piece correctly, rotate JUST THE UP SIDE until another unsolved piece
occupies the top-right and repeat the algorithm: Ri, Di, R, D twice.
Again, this can sometimes take four times. Once you have oriented
the last corner piece correctly, your cube should now look like this:

This means you are just a couple, or even just one, turns of the up
side away from solving your Rubik’s Cube! Congratulations! *play
fanfare noise*

HOW TO SOLVE A RUBIK’S CUBE: Some Concluding Remarks

You, my friend, are SUPER DUPER BRILLIANT. Think about it – you have
solved a Rubik’s Cube. You’d never think you’d hear these words.

You were probably thinking through this tutorial that you would
never solve the Rubik’s Cube. Well, you put a little elbow grease into
it and low and behold, you’ve done it!

You will not only be referred to your friends as “that guy who can
solve the Rubik’s Cube”, but also as “that fit guy who can solve the
Rubik’s Cube”. But what if you’re a girl? Then it would be... uh...
doesn’t matter. The point is you solved a Rubik’s Cube! That is one of
the world’s top accomplishments!

Now, you want a bigger challenge, right? Well, maybe next time...

My name’s Robert and I’m out.