Introduction: The Fortune-telling Cube

About: Retired from biotechnology company, PhD in Biochemistry (MIT).

The Fortune-telling Cube can create 3456 possible, full-sentence fortunes! It has the same appeal as the famous Magic 8 Ball and Ouija Board. However, the Fortune-telling Cube is far more sophisticated and more entertaining. The Cube doesn’t have to be solved, but simply randomized. (The Cube is lots of fun, but, sadly, the fortunes are no more accurate than those of the Magic 8 Ball!)

The Fortune-telling Cube is a "phrase-randomizer" based upon a Rubik's Cube mechanism. One of 24 possible starting phrases is combined with one of 6 possible middle phrases and with one of 24 possible ending phrases to make up the 3456 possible grammatically-correct sentences.

Here's how it works:
   1. Randomize the cube.
   2. Without looking, select one of the RED edge faces -- the starting phrase of the fortune.
   3. Follow the pointer to the WHITE central face -- the middle phrase of the fortune.
   4. Follow the pointer to the BLUE corner face -- the ending phrase of the fortune.

Sometimes the phrases will be topsy-turvy, but easy enough to read. (See the supplemental photos for several examples.)

Step 1: What You Will Need

   Rubik's Cube
   Avery-type Labels, 2-2"x4" labels per 4"x6" sheet

   Your fingers
   Color Printer

The materials should cost less than $20.

Step 2: Peel Off the Colored Stickers

Take your Rubik's Cube and remove all of the stickers! Just peel them off to make an all-black cube. You may need to use some solvent to get the glue residue off, then clean and dry the cube.

Step 3: Print the Fortune Stickers

There can be many different "themes" for your Fortune-telling Cube.
I have created the following as examples:

Yes/No/Maybe (Shown here in the photos.)
   e.g. Sorry, but the answer is now "no."
   e.g. Everyone knows the answer will soon be "yes."
Preteen Party (PG)
   e.g. The one next to you is certainly good looking.
   e.g. One of your friends will soon be telling a lie.
Teen Party (PG-13)
   e.g. The one you kissed wants to be holding your hand.
   e.g. Everyone appears to be telling your secrets.
Adult Party (R)
   e.g. The one you love is now sleeping around.
   e.g. Someone new only pretends to be in love with you.
In the Workplace
   e.g. One of your workmates appears to be sucking up to the boss.
   e.g. One of your managers is sabotaging your projects.
It's All About You
   e.g. Sadly, you used to be good looking.
   e.g. I think you will soon be talking too much.
Love, Love, Love (This one makes a GREAT Valentine's Day present!)
   e.g. My love for you is always growing stronger.
   e.g. Our relationship will forever be one of a kind.

I'm providing links to pdf and Word files containing all of my labels. You may use my fortune labels or else you can create your own labels (see Steps 7 & 8, below). You will need to print two label pages (using two blank label sheets) for one Fortune-telling Cube. Set up your printer for printing 4"x6" sheets (like for photos), turn off "shrink-to-fit", turn on "borderless prints", or ??? (Each printer is different.)

Step 4: Cut Out the Stickers

Use a sharp pair of scissors (or a paper cutter)  to cut out the individual stickers. When finished, you will have 24 red-bordered stickers, 6 white stickers, and 24 blue-bordered stickers.

Step 5: Stick on the Stickers

Take the 24 red-bordered stickers, one at a time, peel off the backing, and stick them onto the 24 edge faces of the naked Rubik's Cube. Place them so that the pointer points to the corresponding central face. It won't matter which label goes where.

Take the 6 white stickers, one-at a time, peel off the backing, and stick them onto the 6 central faces of the cube. The orientation, and which goes where, doesn't matter.

Take the 24 blue-bordered stickers, one at a time, peel off the backing, and stick them onto the 24 corner faces of the cube. Which goes where doesn't matter, but place it right-side-up when it's in the bottom righthand corner. (That way the middle and ending phrases will have the same alignment.)

Now your Fortune-telling Cube is ready for action!

Step 6: My Fortune Scripts

These are my tables for the fortune scripts -- the 24 starting phrases, the 6 middle phrases, and the 24 ending phrases for seven different "themes". I've included a link to pdf and Word files, which contain all of the fortune tables. In the Word document, you can edit the fortunes to suit yourself ... or you can make up your own forturnes, from scratch (see Steps 7 & 8).

Step 7: DIY Fortune Scripts (optional)

Creating your own fortune scripts is a lot of fun. But it's not as easy as it seems -- if you aren't careful, your fortune sentences won't come out right.

The starting phrase is usually the subject (with modifiers). It's important to stay consistent with the subject. Make them all: 1st person singular ("I"), 2nd person singular ("you"), 3rd person singular ("he/she/it"), 1st person plural ("we"), 2nd person plural ("you"), or 3rd person plural ("they"). If you pick 3rd person singular, try to avoid "he" or "she" by using "He/she" or "The person", "Someone", "One of you", etc. Start with a capital letter.

The middle phrase is usually a version of the verb "to be" (with modifiers) selected to match the subject form in the starting phrase. E.g ."The person / is often / ..."; "The person / will soon be / ..."; "The person / wants to be / ..."; etc.

The ending phrase is usually a restatement of the subject that was used in the starting phrase. This can be an adjective (e.g. "The person / is / smart.") or a noun (e.g. "The person / is / a jerk."). End with a period.

If you put in negatives like "not", decide where you are going to use them and use them only there. E.g.  use "not"s only in the ending phrase -- "The person / is / not a jerk.." If you use them in two different places you can wind up with nonsense when the parts are randomly put together -- "The person / is not / not a jerk.."

I'm providing a blank work sheet, both as a pdf and as a Word file. Good luck!

Step 8: DIY Fortune Labels (optional)

Once you've composed your fortune scripts, it's time to make your fortune stickers.

I usually do this by pasting the phases from the fortune-script tables into a sticker template. I have included my blank templates below as Word documents. The font will have to be pretty small. I usually use Tahoma at 7 points, bold, and make it this way in the table first, then past the text into the text boxes one at a time. (Arial Narrow , 8 point, bold, might also work well.)

Now you are ready to make your one-of-a-kind Fortune-telling Cube. Have fun!

Step 9: The Digital Version

If you're not a hands-on type of person, you can still enjoy playing with the Fortune-telling Cube. Here is the digital version. I actually use this Excel file to work out my fortune-telling scripts. Enjoy!

(Note: This Excel Program uses some sophisticated functions and may not run correctly on all computers. If it doesn't work for you, try going to "Tools" in Excel, clicking "Add Ins...", then checking the box that says "Analysis ToolPac". Good luck!)

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