Rubik's Cube Tips

By Patrick Bryant
The Rubik's Cube, puzzlers, the 1980s
Magic Cube Puzzle image by joephoto from Fotolia.com

The Rubik's Cube, invented by Erno Rubik, is a three-dimensional puzzle consisting of a six-sided cube, the faces of which are divided into nine squares of various colors. The main object of the puzzle is to rotate the mechanical pieces so that each face of the square is a solid color. Although the cube has been stumping puzzlers since the 1980s, several patterns and rules can help you solve it quickly.

Parts and Sides

Knowing how to refer to the parts and sides of the Rubik's Cube will help you in learning methods to solve the cube and also to teach those methods to others. Here is a list of what you should know:

Corner Piece--these pieces are the corners of the cube; there are eight of them, and each one shows three different colors.

Edge Piece--these show only two colors; there are 12 of these, and you will find them in the middle of the rows along the edges of the cube.

Center Piece--these are located in the center of each of the cube's faces and show only one color; the color of the center piece represents the color that should cover the entire face when the puzzle is solved; yellow is always opposite white, orange is opposite red, and green is opposite blue.

Sides--the letters R, L, U, D, F, and B are used to note the right, left, up, down, front, and back face of the cube respectively; when attempting to solve the puzzle, hold the cube so that one of the faces is directly facing you (this face would be the front face).

Notation--a single letter (R) means to rotate that face clockwise by 90 degrees; when a prime sign is used after a letter (R'), this means to rotate that face counterclockwise by 90 degrees; when a number is used after a letter (R2), this means to rotate that face by 90 degrees times the number indicated.

The White Cross

The first step to solving the Rubik's Cube is to make the form of a white cross appear on the face which has the white center piece.

Keep the following in mind:

The edge pieces of the cross will have white on one of its faces and either blue, orange, green, or red on the other (you should form the cross in the order of these colors).

The center piece of each face will match the edge piece above it that forms the cross; the red face of a white and red edge piece should be above the red center piece.

The White Corners

When you have formed a white cross on one of the cube's faces, the next step is to fill in the corners around the cross with white tiles.

Keep the following in mind:

Hold the cube so the face with the white cross is the U face.

If a corner piece with a white face is on the D face, then perform the rotations R', D', R, D until the white face of the piece fills in one of the corners of the cross.

If a corner piece with a white face is on the U face, then perform the rotations R', D', R until the white face of the piece fills in one of the corners of the cross.

The Middle Row

Once you have solved the entire white face, you should attempt to solve the middle horizontal row.

Keep the following in mind:

Rotate the entire cube in your hands so that the white face is on the D side.

Form a vertical line of a solid color (rotate the U face).

Perform the rotations U, R, U', R', U', F', U, F or U', L', U, L, U, F, U', F' to solve the middle row; if performing one of the rotations alone does not work, then do both.

The U Face

If you have already solved one face of the cube and the middle row, then solve the U face.

Keep the following in mind:

The colors of the edge pieces of the U face do not have to match with the bottom two rows of the face they are on.

Form a yellow cross on the U face, then fill in the corners with yellow tiles.

The Final Corners and Edges

The final step to solving the Rubik's Cube is to rotate the pieces so that the colors of the top row of each face match the bottom two rows of that face.

Keep the following in mind:

Solve for the top corners of each face first, then solve for the edge pieces.

Before attempting to solve the corners, rotate the U face until two of the corner pieces are in the correct location (colors match on each face).

To solve the top corners, perform the rotations R', F, R', B2, R, F', R', B2, R2, U'; if this does not work, then rotate the entire cube in your hands by 90 degrees and perform the rotations again (do this until you have solved the corners).

To solve the edge pieces, perform the rotations F2, U, L, R', F2, L', R, U, F2 (to rotate the edge pieces clockwise) or F2, U', L, R', F2, L' R, U', F2 (to rotate the edge pieces counterclockwise) until all faces of the cube are solid colors.

About the Author

Patrick Bryant has been writing since 2004, and his work appears on eHow and Answerbag. He is pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in English from Winthrop University with minors in business studies and entrepreneurship.