How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube if You are a Beginner


Well, well, well… if you are reading this, then you too are baffled by the provocative yet beautiful symphony of moves that solves the best puzzle ever created. Ever since Professor Erno Rubik designed the cube, it has been a gauge of a child’s mental prowess and creativity.

Many amateur cubers feel frustrated when they are unable to fathom the next move, let alone solve the cube.
You need to understand that no one learns it in a day, and each generation of cubers relies on the experience of the previous generations. Nearly every cuber starts by practicing a known method to solve the cube.

Using the known methods help familiarize your mind to the moves and algorithms of solving the cube. The knowledge dawns on you as you begin to see the pattern in the moves. Here is a step-by-step guide to solving a Rubik’s Cube if you are a beginner. Grab yours and have fun.

Steps to Solve a Rubik’s Cube

Step 1. Understand the construction of cube

Understanding the construction of the Rubik’s Cube is of utmost importance, as it lays the foundation of how to make moves that get you closer to solving it.

The pieces in a Rubik’s Cube determine the moves in the game. Often, you need to make a move that will bring a particular piece into a designated location. The correct location of the piece is determined by the piece itself. This is the beauty of the cube’s design.

There are 3 kinds of pieces that make up a Rubik’s Cube.

  • 6 center pieces
  • 8 corner pieces
  • 12 edge pieces

Center piece ill

Center pieces: The only fixed pieces in the cube are the center pieces, which have only one surface facing outward. Therefore, they determine the color of the face (or side) in which they appear.

For example, if the center piece of the face of the cube is Red, then the face must have all Red pieces to be complete. The 6 center pieces are White, Yellow, Red, Orange, Blue and Green

Edge piece ill

Edge pieces: Edge pieces are located in the middle of all the edges and have two surfaces facing outward. They contain the two colors of the respective faces in which they belong.

Corner piece ill

Corner pieces: The corner pieces are located on the eight corners of the cube. They have three surfaces facing outward, thus their surfaces represent the three colors of the respective adjacent faces of the cube.

The orientation of the center pieces is important. To solve the cube, these pairs of colors must be on opposite faces of the cube- White & Yellow, Red & Orange, and Blue & Green.

Construction of cube

That is, if you look at the cube with the White center piece facing you and the Green center piece on the Top face, then Blue must be on the Bottom, Orange on the Right, Red on the Left and Yellow on the Back face.

If your cube doesn’t have the orientation described above, then disassemble and reassemble the Rubik’s Cube to attain the correct orientation.

Step 2. Understanding the moves of a Rubik’s Cube

These are the moves that will help you to understand the step-by-step solution.

Sides or faces of the cube

Sides or faces of the cube ill

When looking at the front of the cube, the sides or faces are represented by the letter R, L, U, D, F and for Right, Left, Up, Down, Front and Back, respectively.

Moves

The movement of each face is divided into two parts: the clockwise movement and the counter-clockwise movement. Remember, each movement is a quarter turn, or a 90-degree rotation.

A clockwise turn on the right side will shift the right side up and the left side down (when looking at the cube from front). There is a simple method to understand it. The clockwise turn for any side is represented by the fact that when you are directly looking at that surface, the direction of the clockwise turn is considered.

When you are looking at the right surface directly, the clockwise movement will define the R of the right side, and when you are looking at the left face directly, the clockwise movement will define the L of the left side.

Cube movements part 1 ill

Cube movements part 2 ill

The actual letter notation represents a clockwise turn, and a lowercase ‘i’ represents a counter-clockwise (or inverse) turn. R-Ri, L-Li, U-Ui, D-Di, F-Fi and B-Bi are the pairs of movements that you will use.

Step 3. Solve the white cross

White cross ill

To start solving, first look for the white center piece, which usually (but not necessarily) contains the logo of the company. Now you want to move the cubes until you have a white cross, as shown above.

To make the white cross, keep a few things in mind:

  • Keep the white face on the top.
  • The edge pieces will make the cross.
  • The colored face (other than white) of each edge piece must correspond to the color of the center piece of the face that it ends up on.
  • So to make a white cross, you need to consider two faces simultaneously. One is obviously the white face, while the other is in the order of Blue, Orange, Green and Red. Remember the order.

To bring the white edge pieces on top, simply rotate any side. Only two possible outcomes would occur:

Aligned edge piece ill

1) The white of the edge piece will align with the white center piece.

Other color of white edge piece aligned ill

2) The remaining color of that edge piece will align with the white center piece.

To proceed, locate the first edge piece that has two sides that are blue and white. There are 12 possible locations for your white and blue edge piece. It would be, obviously, in the middle of any of the six faces.

Solve the white cross

Your edge piece can be brought to the top by simply rotating it upwards and rotate the top face (do not rotate if it is aligned) to match the color side of the edge piece with the corresponding color face.

Other color of white edge piece aligned

However, if the second scenario occurs, you need to follow a different strategy.

After rotating the sides to bring the white edge piece to the top, if the position of colors on the edge piece is swapped, you can follow the rotation below to correct it. Before that, hold the cube so the edge piece that you have to reverse, is on the right face of the cube. Now follow this rotation:

Bring edge piece to top move ill

Solve white cross 1

Solve white cross 2

Solve white cross 3

Your white cross will be completed following either of the two ways mentioned above.

Step 4. Solve the white corners

While solving the white corners, keep in mind that of the 8 corner pieces, 4 will fill the corners on the top face. At least you won’t have any trouble locating the pieces that will reside on top.

If the white corner piece is already on the bottom side, check that the white surface corresponds with the top white surface. That is, the other two colors of the corner piece will align with their respective face colors (color of the center piece) when white face is on the top corner. If that is not the case, then to align the piece to its respective position on the top, rotate the bottom or down side (D or Di).

Bring down corner piece ill

If the white corner piece is on the top side but incorrectly placed, first hold the cube so the white side is on the right surface of the top right corner piece. Now, bring it down by doing:

Bring down corner piece move ill

When the white corner pieces are at the down side corresponding to their actual position on top, hold the cube so that the corner piece is on the right side.

At this point, there are three possible arrangements of your cube:

Case 1.

Bring up corner piece 1 ill

Solve white corner 1

In the first case, hold the cube so that the right surface of the bottom right piece is White. Follow the move sequence below to align it in its respective position on the top corner.

Bring up corner piece 1 move ill

Solve white corner 2

Solve white corner 3

Case 2.

Bring up corner piece 2 ill

In the second case, hold the cube so that the front surface of the bottom right piece is White. Follow this sequence of moves to align the piece to its respective position on the top corner.

Bring up corner piece 2 move ill

Case 3.

Bring up corner piece 3 ill

The third arrangement is a bit different than others, as in this case the white color is on the base of the bottom right corner piece. Note that the other two colors of the bottom right piece would be swapped.

To bring its white face up, you need follow the move sequence of case 1, but do it 3 times.

Solve white corner 4

Your white corners are solved and your first layer is now complete!

Step 5. Solve the middle layer

This step involves solving the edge pieces adjacent to the center piece in the middle layer.

In this case, hold the cube so that the Yellow color face is on the top and the White face is on the bottom. Now choose a face such that it makes an inverted ‘T’. That is, the front surface of the top edge piece matches with the color of the center piece, but its top surface does not contain the yellow color. If not, rotate the topmost side to the desired combination. Use only those top edge pieces in which neither of the colors is yellow.

Now, the topmost edge piece would fit in either side of the center piece, right or left depending on the color of the top surface of the edge piece.

Case 1.

top edge piece clockwise ill

If the edge piece is supposed to go right or in the clockwise direction, follow these moves:

top edge piece clockwise move ill

Case 2.

top edge piece counterclockwise ill

Solve middle layer 1

If the edge piece is supposed to go left or in the counter-clockwise direction, follow these moves:

top edge piece counterclockwise move ill

Solve middle layer 2

Solve middle layer 3

Solve middle layer 4

Solve middle layer 5

Solve middle layer 6

Case 3.

Edge piece color swapped ill

Solve middle layer 7

It might happen that the edge piece is in the correct location but the colors are interchanged or any other unwanted edge piece is adjacent to the center piece. Follow any one of the above moves from case 1 or case 2 to bring that piece to the top layer.

Then, from the top layer you can bring it to its exact location easily by doing the inverted ‘T’ formation again, and it will look like either of the above two cases. Now you can easily solve it.

Solve middle layer 8

Follow the directions of the above cases until you solve the middle layer.

Step 6. Making the yellow cross

To make a yellow cross pattern on the top face, you need to first match the arrangement of the yellow pieces in a particular manner.

There are four possible arrangements on your cube right now:

Case 1.

Yellow cross ill

The yellow cross is already obtained. In that case, move to step 7.

Case 2.

Only yellow center piece ill

There is a single yellow piece in the center. Now, hold the cube in any way you like, as long as the white face is on the bottom and yellow is on the top. Then, follow these moves:

Only yellow center piece move ill

You will obtain a result that will match either case 3 or case 4, so proceed accordingly.

Case 3.

Two yellow edge piece ill

There are two yellow edge pieces on the adjacent sides of the yellow center piece. Hold the cube so that one yellow edge piece is on the left of the center piece, while the other is on the top of the center piece. Now, follow these moves to make a yellow cross:

Two yellow edge piece move ill

Make yellow cross 1

Step-6.7-Making-the-Yellow-Cross

Step-6.8-Making-the-Yellow-Cross

Step-6.9-Making-the-Yellow-Cross

Move to Step 7 once you’ve obtained the yellow cross.

Case 4.

Straight yellow edge piece ill

There are two yellow edge pieces on the opposite side of the yellow center piece, making a single line of yellow in the middle. Hold the cube so that the yellow line is horizontal to you. Now, follow these moves to make a yellow cross:

Straight yellow edge piece move ill

Move to Step 7 once you’ve obtained the yellow cross.

Step 7. Making the corners yellow

After making the yellow cross, you need the four yellow corners to finish making the top face yellow. In this case, you DON’T NEED to align the other two colors in the yellow corner piece with their respective faces.

There are three possible yellow cross combinations that you would have obtained. Before making the moves to solve the corner pieces, you need to hold the cube so that it matches with the cases given below. Only then perform the steps.

Case 1.

Top face no yellow corner ill

Make corners yellow 1

The top face has no yellow corner pieces. In this case, hold the cube from front such that there is yellow on the left surface of the top left corner piece. Now you can follow the sequence below:

Top face no yellow corner move ill

Make corners yellow 2

Make corners yellow 3

Make corners yellow 4

Make corners yellow 5

Case 2.

One coner yellow ill

The top face has one yellow corner piece. In this case, hold the cube so that the yellow corner piece is on the bottom left corner of the top face. That is, you must hold the cube from the front, such that the yellow color is on the top surface of the top left corner. Now you can follow the sequence below:

One coner yellow move ill

Case 3.

Any two coners yellow ill

When the top face has two yellow corner pieces (in the illustration all the corners are grey because any two corners could be yellow). It does not matter which corners are yellow in the top face (similar corners or diagonal corners).

In this case, you must hold the cube from the front, such that the yellow color is on the front surface of the top left corner piece. Now you can follow the sequence below:

Any two coners yellow move ill

Make corners yellow 6

Note: After finishing the above moves, if you have not obtained the four yellow corners, even then your cube would match any of the three cases mentioned above. Change the position of the cube to hold it according to the case it matches and make the move sequence again.

Make corners yellow 7

Now all the corners of your cube will be yellow.

Step 8. Put the yellow corners in correct position

Align corner piece ill

Now that you have all the yellow corners on top, you need to realign the yellow corners in their respective positions. That means, you need to position the corner pieces (A, B, C and D) so that their other two color surfaces correspond with the respective colors of those sides.Align yellow corners 1

Coincidentally, you will see that two corner pieces are already aligned. If not, just rotate the top layer (U) until you see that two corner pieces are completely aligned with their respective colors.

Now, what you want is two aligned corner pieces on the same side.

Note: If these two corner pieces are diagonally opposite(A & D or B & C), then irrespective of the location of the diagonal pieces, follow the sequence of moves mentioned later in this step once and you’ll get the corners on the same side.

Align yellow corners 3

After getting the two corner pieces on the same side, hold the cube from the front so that the two aligned corner pieces are exactly on the back side. Both the top right and top left corners visible to you must be misaligned. Now follow the sequence below:

Align yellow corners move ill

Align yellow corners 4

Align yellow corners 5

Align yellow corners 6

Align yellow corners 7

Align yellow corners 8

Align yellow corners 9

Align yellow corners 10

Step 9. Put the yellow edges in correct position

You are nearing the completion of the cube. There are two possible scenarios which can happen to you at this moment.

Case 1.

One yellow edge aligned ill

Align yellow edges 1

One yellow edge piece is aligned and the other three edge pieces are misaligned. In this scenario, hold the cube so that the aligned piece is exactly at the back and the misaligned edge pieces are in the front, right and left face.

Now, check in which direction (clockwise or counter-clockwise) the top layer should revolve so all three edge pieces can come back to their respective locations. Once you have figured out the direction of movement, you should make the move sequence below:

Sequence for movement in clockwise direction

Clockwise move sequence

Sequence for movement in counter-clockwise direction

Counterclockwise move sequence

Align yellow edges 2

Align yellow edges 3

Align yellow edges 4

Align yellow edges 5

Align yellow edges 6

Align yellow edges 7

The above cube was rotated using the clockwise move sequence.

Case 2.

No yellow edge piece aligned ill

No yellow edge pieces are aligned. In this scenario, follow either sequence of moves below. It doesn’t matter if you choose moves for clock wise or counter clockwise direction.

Sequence for movement in clockwise direction

Clockwise move sequence

Sequence for movement in counter-clockwise direction

Counterclockwise move sequence

Now your cube will look like case 1. Figure out the direction of movement for the three edge pieces and follow the above move sequence.

Align yellow edges 8

Voila! You have completed the seemingly impossible task. Now keep practicing it for better understanding of the moves and to increase your speed.

Additional Tips

  • The images in the tutorial are there to show you how the method works in real time. It is entirely possible that in your cube you will stumble upon different sets of cases than what the pictures represent. Therefore, follow the illustrations as they take care of all the possible cases.
  • Please read the tutorial along with a cube in your hand. Since there are countless possible moves (technically, 43 quintillion) and numerous arrangement of pieces, merely reading it without a cube will make it hard to follow and remember.
  • While solving the cube, hold it so you look at the front face directly. Always rotate the sides, never rotate the cube.
  • Each piece in the cube is unique. So, you need to be sure about what colors you desire in your edge or corner pieces.
  • You’ll never be confused because there is only one possible piece in the cube that matches the description that you require at that moment.
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How to Solve a Rubik’s Cube if You are a Beginner

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