For easy cube puzzles all you need is a blank cube, a bunch of stickers, and some puzzle designs to copy. With this activity kit in hand, any kid (and you, yourself) are in for some fun! This hands-on educational “toy” will stimulate the intellectual development of anyone. Both children and adults will become enchanted with puzzle cubes!
(Text and diagrams © David Hagen, 2010)
Step 1: What You'll Need
One blank Rubik's Cube -- cost $12-$8 or find an old one
Avery-type label sheets --cost about $0.50 each (you'll need at least two)
The labels should be: full-sheet labels (8.5" x 11"); the removable-kind (not permanent);
and the kind for Inkjet printers
(Optional) 4"x6" photo paper or 65-weight, card stock 8.5"x11" sheets
Sharp pair of scissors or paper cutter
Step 2: Remove the Stickers
Step 3: Print New Stickers
Cut out the stickers using a paper cutter (not for kids!) or a sharp pair of scissors. For older children, I keep the stickers in strips and provide them with kid-safe scissors to snip off the individual stickers. See frame 2.
Optional: If you want fancy, shiny stickers, top-coat the stickers with clear plastic. Two-inch wide packaging tape works great for this. Rough cut the sticker-strips (a double row of squares per strip works best). Cover the strips with packaging tape. Do the final cutting with a paper cutter or scissors.
Tips: 1) The stickers have a paper backing that's sometimes difficult to peal off. Children may need some help. 2) The stickers you use can be used more than once. Just park them on a piece of wax paper after you peel them off of the cube.
Step 4: Cube-puzzle Designs
1) keep the little cubies all one color, whenever possible;
2) have as many look-alike cubies as you can;
3) keep all of the hard stuff on one layer.
Just follow Steps 6 through 10 for lots of examples. Warning: The designs get harder and harder as you go. Find the difficulty level that's right for your child (or for you).
Alternatively, you can print out a deck of challenge cards, as described in Step 11. Each card is rated for its difficulty level, from VERY EASY to EXTREMELY HARD.
Step 5: Stick It Up / Mix It Up / Fix It Up
Mix it up: Totally randomize the cube puzzle.
Fix it up: Refer to the diagram, and put the cube back to its original state.
Tip: You can make a stack of "challenge cards" with various cube designs. See Step 11 of this Instructable.
Step 6: Stickers on One Layer Only, Part 1
Now try the cube in the second frame. It's still pretty easy ... but can you solve it while you hold your breath? With your feet?!!! With one hand behind your back? Some people can even solve it blindfolded (after taking a good look). But I can’t!
Step 7: Stickers on One Layer Only, Part 2
Can you twist it around to make the pretty patterns shown in the second frame?
Most people solve this Red-top cube from top to bottom, doing the red stuff first - that's the easiest way. Can you solve it upside-down - doing the red stuff last. Can you solve it sideways? Weird it's all the same puzzle! Your strategy makes a difference.
Step 8: Stickers on One Layer Only, Part 3
Can you design some of your own?
Step 9: Stickers on Two Layers
You’ll have to learn how to move the edge cubies around without messing up the top layer. But sometimes you just get lucky. If it doesn’t work the first time, keep on trying!
Step 10: Stickers on Three Layers
There are lots of examples here. I’m sure you can design some of your own, too.
Step 11: Challenge Cards (Optional)
Now you are all set to make the complete kit: Naked Cube, Stickers, and Challenge Cards. Have fun!