Step 1 Basic Solution - Solve the First Layer

If you have never solved the Rubik's Cube before or you used to be able to solve it but have forgotton how to do it, then this section is for you. It details an easy to remember solution, that once mastered will allow you to solve the cube in a matter of minutes.

The basic solution involves solving the cube in layers. It is important to realise that the centre pieces of each face are fixed. That means that red is always opposite orange and green is always opposite blue. Knowing this information it is pointless to try and solve the cube by placing orange pieces next to a red face. This information also means that the colour of the centre piece determines what colour that face will be when the cube is solved.

To help explain what each of the 3 layers are, take a look at the following images:

Layer 1 The first layer Layer 2 The second layer Layer 3 The third layer

The first layer includes solving the Down face (which cannot be seen in the picture) and the last layer includes solving the Upper face.

Solving the First Layer

The first layer is solved in 2 steps

  1. Create a cross on the Down face
  2. Position the 4 first layer corner pieces

Create a cross on the Down face

The first step is to create a cross by placing 4 edge pieces into position against the centre piece. It is a good idea to always choose the same colour to form the cross with. This will make it much easier in later steps to remember patterns as the colours will always be the same. In all of the examples on this website, the Down face and hence the cross will be white.

cross This image shows the cross on the front face only so it can be seen. When you are solving the cross, make sure that the cross is on the Down face. Notice how the edge cube with white and red matches up with the red face, and that the green edge matches up with the green face. This is the key to solving the cross.

There are 4 white edge pieces that need to be moved into position to complete this step (White/Blue, White/Orange, White/Green, White/Red). Begin by looking for one of the four white edges. Once you have found an edge look at the following algorithms to put it into the correct place. And note that in these diagrams the Down face is white and cannot be seen.

If the edge piece is in the Upper layer, then use one of the following two algorithms to move it into position.

U F2

The important moves here are to line up the red colour edge with the red colour centre, and then turn the Front face 180 degrees to bring the edge piece into it’s final position.

R' F R

Again, the important move here is the R’, to line up the red colour edge with the red colour centre. The F move then places the edge cube into it’s final position. So what is the point of the last R move? This will restore a white edge that may have been moved out of place. Of course if there is no white edge that was moved out of place, you can omit this last R move.

If the edge piece is in the Middle layer, then use one of the following two algorithms to move it into position.

R U R' F2

If the edge piece is in the middle layer, then you must move it into the top layer and the use one of the algorithms you have just learnt to put it in it’s final place. In the example here, you first move it to the top layer, then line up the red edge with the red centre. Then a R’ is performed to restore any white edge that may have been disturbed. And finally the front face is rotated 180 degrees to put the edge into place.

R2 U F2

If the edge piece is in the bottom layer, you must again bring it to the top layer and then solve it by using one of the original algorithms you have learnt. In this example, perform an R2 to move the edge piece to the top layer. Then line up the red edge with the red centre and finally rotate the front edge 180 degrees to move it into position. In this example, you may be wondering why a simple D’ won’t work. This will move the white/red edge into position, but any other edge that is currently correctly solved will then be moved out of position. This is why you must move the edge into the top layer first, without disrupting any solved white edge. In this example R2 achieves this.

Once you have done this 4 times to solve all edges, the cross is complete. This step should be very intuitive. In order to master the cross, I suggest that you only look at the algorithms provided if you are stuck. Practice forming the cross many times and you will learn your own method for maneuvering the pieces into position.

Position the First 4 Layer Corner Pieces

The next part of the solution is to position the 4 first layer corner pieces. Once this is done, the first layer will be solved. Now as we are looking at the corner pieces, they will either be in the top layer or in the bottom layer (there are no corner pieces in the middle layer). If the corner piece is in the bottom layer but in an incorrect position, you must move it to the top layer. If it is already in the top layer then you can use one of the following algorithms to move it into place.

F' U' F

The important thing to remember here is to bring the corner piece above the position it needs to be moved into. This is the position of the diagram. Then it is a simple sequence to move the corner piece into position. Try this sequence of moves a number of times and watch how the pieces move. It is important to try and understand how this sequence achieves the result of moving the corner piece into place.

R U R'

This maneuver is basically the same as the one above. Once you understand how these moves work, you will understand that this is really the first move transposed. Again, perform this algorithm over and over again, paying careful attention to how the cubes move.

R U' R' U2 R U R'

Now, if the white sticker is on the Upper layer, then it is a slightly more complicated task to get the corner into position. The trick is to first turn the corner so that it is no longer on the Upper layer. This is achieved with the R move, next a U’ is performed to move the corner out of the way so the R’ can be performed. This R’ restores any of the bottom layer cubes that the original R moved out of position. Now it is a simple case of using on of the first two algorithms. In this case a U2 moves the corner above the position it belongs. Then a simple RUR’ moves the corner into it’s final position.

And that is it, the first layer is now solved. You can now move onto step 2