The Rubik's Cube has six sides. Every side is labeled U, F, R, D, B, or L. When holding the cube with one corner pointing at you, the top side is called the U face. The side facing to the left is called the F face, and the side facing to the right is called the R face. Opposite to the R face is the L face, opposite to the U face is the D face, and opposite to the F face is the B face.
F stands for front. U stands for up. R stands for right. B stands for back. D stands for down. L stands for left.
There are variations of the Beginner's Method, but the one taught here should be the easiest to learn.
Solving the Rubik's Cube requires the knowledge of algorithms. The algorithms look something like "R U' R' U L U L'". Algorithms are a set of moves of rotating faces in a specific order. The letters show which face needs to be turned (clockwise by default) and the apostrophe means to turn the face the opposite way, or counter-clockwise. If a letter has a "2" after it, it means "turn the face twice, or 180 degrees". If no number is attached to the letter, it means "turn the face a quarter turn, or 90 degrees".
The algorithm "R U' R' U L U L' F2 D'" means to do the following in this specific order:
When referring to an individual piece on the Rubik's Cube, two or three letters are used. The URF piece means the piece that is located on the U face, R face, and F face. Examples are shown in the pictures below.
Pieces labeled with only two letters are called an "edge piece". Pieces labeled with three letters are called a "corner piece." All six sides of the Rubik's Cube have one center piece which never moves no matter what you do; white will always be opposite of yellow, red will always be opposite of orange, and blue will always be opposite of green.
The very first thing to do when solving the Rubik's Cube is to choose a side. Most people begin on the white side or the blue side because those two colors stand out the most. Another reason is that Rubik's Cube solvers are used to the adjacent colors. For this tutorial, we will begin on the white side.
There are only four cross edge pieces, all of which have two colors: white and other. On a standard Rubik's Cube, the "other" color would be red, green, orange, or blue.
First, hold the cube so that the white center piece is on the U face. The yellow side should be on the bottom. The R, F, B, and L faces does not have to be any specific color.
We only need to solve three of the four corners on the U face. The last unsolved corner will be used to substitute in and out pieces to solve the rest of the cube. This unsolved corner piece on the white face will be referred to as the empty piece throughout this tutorial.
To solve the middle layer, you must turn the cube upside down so that the white face is now the D face, and the yellow face is the new U face. Middle layer pieces are edge pieces that should not have white or yellow on them. (The white should all already be solved from Step 1).
In this step, there are two parts. The first part is the solve the UF, UL, and UB edge pieces (when holding the cube with the empty edge and corner pieces in the BR and BRD positions respectively). The second step is to solve the BR and the UR edge pieces all with one algorithm.
Yellow color in the ''empty'' column is facing out from the ''F'' face -- (User comment: This is a bit confusing, because in the last step, the middle layer was completed and all of the yellows are in the top layer. So we backtrack.)
If you have something similar to this on your cube, start by rotating the R face clockwise to move the yellow color to the U face.
You cube should look something like this now.
Rotate the U face to get the edge piece that you have just moved to the U layer out of the way.
It is often helpful to place the cross pieces in their correct locations while moving te cross pieces from the FR area to the U face.
In this example, we have a yellow-orange cross piece and a yellow-red piece on the U face. The first case tells us to rotate the R face clockwise to put the cross piece up there. Before you do that, rotate the U face 180°.
This is because on a standard Rubik's Cube, the red face is opposite of the orange face, so the yellow-red cross piece should be opposite of the yellow-orange cross piece. Now you can rotate the R face clockwise.
Get the solved cross pieces out of the way.
Rotate the R face counter-clockwise to fix the cube.
Rotate the U face to make sure you have placed the cross pieces in their correct positions.
There are cross pieces that are in the incorrect position relative to the other upper cross pieces
If you need to change the location of a upper cross piece, just hide the cross piece, rotate the U face as many times as necessary, then move the cross piece back up.
'Hide the cross piece that needs to be moved by rotating the R face counter-clockwise.
Rotate the U face as many times as needed. In this example, you need to rotate the U face twice so when you put the cross piece back up, it is in the correct location relative to the yellow-orange piece.
Move the cross piece back to the U face.
Rotate the U layer to verify that you have placed the cross pieces in their correct positions.
In this step, we only need to place the corner pieces in their correct locations, not necessarily solve them. The corner pieces in the ULF place (shown by the blue arrow) and the DRB place will be switched when you use the one algorithm need on this step: L D2 L'. After you use that algorithm, the cube will be messed up, but after you turn the U face the necessary amount of times to get another corner piece to the ULF position and apply the L D2 L' algorithm again, you will have switched three corner pieces and fixed the cube.
There are three corner pieces that we must switch in this example, the white-blue-red piece (where the blue arrow is pointing to), the yellow-green-orange piece (between the yellow-orange and yellow-blue edge pieces) and the yellow-orange-blue corner piece (where the red arrow is pointing to).
Since the yellow-orange-blue piece must go to where the yellow-green-orange coner piece is, we must switch them. To do this we must put the yellow-green-orange piece in the ULF place. Turn the U face to do this. Now you can use the L D2 L' algorithm.
Your cube will look messed up at this point, but that's okay, just turn the U face to switch the next two pairs that will place the corners in their correct places. Now do the L D2 L' algorithm again.
L' move You cube will be fixed and you have successfully switched the three corners to their proper places.
Your Rubik's Cube is near complete, although you may have more incorrectly rotated corner pieces than what this picture shows. Just use the two algorithms provided in this step to fix the errors, so all we have to do now in this step is to rotate the corner pieces to solve the whole cube.
The algorithms rotate the corner pieces by pairs, one clockwise and the other counter-clockwise, or one counter-clockwise and the other clockwise.
A corner piece on the left needs to be rotated counter-clockwise and the other needs to be rotated clockwise
If your Rubik's Cube looks similar to this where one corner piece on the left needs to be rotated counter-clockwise and the corner piece on the right needs to be rotated clockwise, the algorithm you would use is R' D2 R F D2 F' U F D2 F' R' D2 R U'.
A corner piece on the left needs to be rotated clockwise and the other needs to be rotated counter-clockwise
If your Rubik's Cube looks similar to this where one corner piece on the left needs to be rotated counter-clockwise and the corner piece on the right needs to be rotated clockwise, the algorithm you would use is F D2 F' R' D2 R U R' D2 R F D2 F' U'.
Three corner pieces must be rotated and no pairs could be found
If your Rubik's Cube looks similar to this where you have three corners that require rotating and you cannot find any pairs to start with, use the algorithm provided in the first case or second case to rotate the leftmost corner piece of the triplet. After doing the algorithm, you should be left with either the first case or the second case.