In this tutorial, I will be using some terminology that has to do with the movement of the sides of the cube. An algorithm is a sequence of turns used to get something done on the cube. For instance, the first algorithm you'll need to learn is F' U L U'. I'll explain what this combination of letters and apostrophes means later. There are 6 sides on the cube, which means there are 6 sides to turn. The notation of the 6 sides are as follows: Front, Back, Right, Left, Up, and Down. Instead of using the full words of each side in an algorithm, they are shortened down to one letter, which is the first letter of each word in the side notation (Front = F, Back = B, Right = R, Left = L, Up = U, Down = D). When an apostrophe is present in an algorithm, it means to turn the side coutnerclockwise as opposed to turning it clockwise had an apostrophe not been there. This apostrophe is denoted as prime.Finally, you need to know the difference between the three different types of cubelets on the cube. First, the pieces in the center of each face are called center pieces and there are 6 of these. The pieces with 2 colors on them are called edge pieces and there are 12 of these. Lastly, the pieces with 3 colors are called corner pieces and there are 8 of them.
This is the first step to solving the cube. After completing this step, your cube will look like the image to the left. To start, find the green side (the side with green in the center). It doesn't particularly matter which side you decide to start with, but I find it easier to learn when starting with the same side every time you attempt a solve for consistency sake. I chose green for this tutorial. After you've found the green side you'll need to start looking around the cube for an edge piece that has green on it.Once you've found an edge piece with green on it, you need to rotate the sides of the cube to match up the green edge with the green center as shown in the image to the right. If you look at the image to the right, you will see that not only is the green/orange edge matched up with the green center, but that it is also lined up with the orange center. The goal of this step is to achieve this for all four green edges (green/orange, green/red, green/white, green/yellow).The main priority in this first cross is just to get the edges in the correct spot, regardless of orientation, like shown in the image to the left. It's okay to have the edge switched around since there is an algorithm to fix it. If the orientation in the image to the left occurs on your cube, turn the whole cube so that the swapped edge is on the front face with the green face still on top and perform the algorithm F' U L' U'If this algorithm didn't work, review the cube notation section to make sure you made the correct turns. Please note that this step is highly intuitive and may be very frustrating as a result, especially if you've never attempted to solve the cube before. With patience, this step will become increasingly easier!
The next step in solving the cube is to solve one side completely. This side is referred to as the first layer.After this step is completed, your cube will look like the image on the right. This is one of the easiest steps in solving the cube. Only one algorithm is required for this step, but it must be repeated several times to finish the step. It is imperative that you're comfortable with notation since the algorithm used can be confusing after repeating it several times. The first step is to get the corner piece to be inserted into the correct spot. The corner piece is in the correct spot with the three colors on the piece match with the center pieces that are to the left, right, and above it. Reference the image to the left for a correctly placed corner piece (pre-algorithm). Be aware that the color on the bottom of the corner cubelet is orange as I am unable to show it.Once you have a corner in mind and it's in the correct spot to be plugged, you will have to repeat the following algorithm a number of times. The algorithm for plugging in corners is: (with the corner being plugged on the right side of the front face, which is shown in the image to the left) R' D' R DThis algorithm will need to be repeated a number of times in order to get the correct orientation. Use the image to the right as a reference as to how many times you must perform the algorithm. If a corner is in the top layer, but in the wrong place (for instance the blue/white/orange corner is in the blue/yellow/orange slot), just dump the corner out with the same algorithm listed above to get the corner out. Your first layer should be complete after plugging in all the corners.
After finishing the first layer, you should have a solved side with 'T' shaped patterns on each adjacent side to the solved side. The purpose of this next step is to fill in the gaps of these 'T' patterns to create two solid lines of solved color encompassing the entire cube (shown to the left). Now you may have noticed that the cube in the image is upside down from what it was before. That's because the first step in this step is to flip the cube upside down so that the solved side is on the Down face. The next step is to find an edge on the top layer that doesn't contain the color of the top face (if your solved side is green, find an edge on the top layer that doesn't contain blue).Once you have found an edge that doesn't contain have a color from the top face's center square, turn the Up face until the front color of the edge matches up with the center of one of the four surrounding faces, like the image to the right. As you can probably see, there are two cases. The case labeled '1' is the standard case. The edge that needs to be placed is to the right of the spot it needs to go. If you get this case, face the cube so that the edge you're going to place is on the Right face (in the example, yellow to the right, red to the front) and perform the algorithm:U' F' U F U R U' R' The second case, however, requires two algorithms. The first algorithm flips the edge around so that the first case is created. With the edge in question on the front face, perform the algorithm:F R U R' U' F' After doing this algorithm, you should be able to use the first case procedure to plug the corner into its correct spot.To the left is a special case where the edge is in its correct spot, but just flipped around. To fix this, turn the cube so that the swapped edge is on the front face, right side and do the first case algorithm. Think about this logically; if you're using the algorithm to plug an edge into a slot, the piece that was in the spot before will be removed to the top layer. By this logic, removing an edge from the second layer uses the same algorithm as plugging one in. Once removed, you may use the standard second layer procedure to plug the edge in correctly. Repeat this step until all four edges of the second layer are placed correctly.
You're almost done solving the cube! This next step is to achieve a cross similar to the one you made in the first step of the solve. However, the steps to achieving this are much more concrete and it utilizes a series of algorithms to complete. After completing this step, the cube will look like the image to the right. The first step to solving the second cross is to achieve the cross itself without the correct permutation. Luckily, the algorithm for doing this is one you have already learned in the previous step. There are four separate cases which are displayed on the left: the Dot, L, Line, and Cross. For each of these cases, orient the cube so that it looks like the picture (red being the front face). The algorithm you will be using is the first step in the second case of the second layer:F R U R' U' F' The number of times you will repeat this time depends on the case: Dot = 3 times. L = 2 times. Line = 1 time. Cross = 0 times (duh). Once you have the top cross, it's just a matter of shifting the edges around so that they line up with the adjacent center pieces. To do this, rotate the top layer until you find exactly two edges that line up with their centers. These two edges will either be adjacent to each other or opposite from each other. If they are adjacent, put one matched pair to the back and the other on the right face. The algorithm to do after you have the cube situated correctly is:R U R' U R U U R' (U) If you get the case where the matched up edges are opposite from each other, face one towards you and one away from you (one on front, one on back) and do the same algorithm without the (U). You should now have the first case and repeat the algorithm with the (U).
Watch out! You're not out of the woods quite yet. This is the final step, but it is not easy to recover from if you mess up. Be VERY CAREFUL!!!! The first step is to get the corners in the correct spot, just like in the first layer where you needed to get the corners in the correct place to plug them in. To get your cube this way, you need to find a corner that is already in the correct spot (orientation doesn't matter, only the colors). Make sure the corner is on the bottom right side of the top layer and do the algorithm: U R U' L' U R' U' LYou may need to repeat this algorithm, but the most you'll ever have to do it is twice. If you can't find a corner that matches in the first place, it's okay to just do the algorithm on any side (as long as the top face remains the same) in order to get one. This next step is the one that you need to be very careful on as it will look like you are scrambling the cube when you are actually solving it. If your corners are in the correct spot on the top layer like in the image to the left, you're ready to take on this behemoth of a final step. To the right you will see 3 cases. These cases vary depending on how many corners are solved on the top layer. Determine which case you have by looking at the image. It is extremely important that you hold the cube exactly as shown in the image depending on your case before attempting this next step! No pressure. Holding the cube exactly like shown in the image, you're going to begin doing the corner plug algorithm from before: R' D' R D. Repeat this algorithm until the corner you're currently working on is blue at the top. Once you have done that, rotate the top layer counterclockwise (U') and begin repeating the algorithm again until blue is on top for that corner. Repeat this until all corners are finished. Let me reiterate that it will look like you're messing up the entire time you're doing this step, but you're going to just have to trust me on this one that once you're finished, the cube will be a few intuitive turns away from being solved. Do NOT forget the D turn at the end of each R' D' R D algorithm and do NOT forget the U' turn after each corner is solved in the last step.
Congratulations! You have just solved the Rubik's Cube!