Cardboard Rubik's Cube

Introduction: Cardboard Rubik's Cube

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For this year's global #cardboardchallenge our little robot scientist, Lyka, thought it would be fun to figure out the mechanics of 2x2 cardboard Rubik’s Cube for young kids.

Here’s what you need and how to make it.

Step 1: Materials

  • Cardboard Sheet (18”x12”)
  • Cardboard Box (6”x6”x6”)
  • Colored Paper
  • Ruler
  • Marker
  • Cutter or Scissors
  • Glue Stick
  • Cutting Pad
  • Cork
  • Round Head Fasteners
  • color_code_map.pdf Printable or Sheet of Paper

Step 2: Mapping & Paper Testing

Before getting to the fun part of cutting up cardboard and putting all the moving pieces together mapping out the puzzle is a crucial step.

NOTE: If unable to print color_code_map.pdf, please follow the following instructions.

  • On a sheet of paper draw connected four squares. Pick one of the four squares and then draw a single square above it and a square under it.
  • Number the square between the square above and under #1. Number the remaining squares. There should be a total of six squares.
  • Divide each square into equal quarters.
  • Pick four colors, for example: yellow, blue, green and white. In each quarter of square #1 write the first letter of one of the four colors.
  • In each quarter adjacent to square #1 write down the same letter.
  • To fill out correctly the remaining quarters of the half completed squares simply look at switch the letter order of the remaining letters.
  • The same steps apply to the remaining square with empty quarters. Copy the letter in each quarter adjacent to the connecting square and then switch over the letter order of the remaining letters.
  • Or simply copy the letters as organized in this image.

NOTE: Building a paper prototype is optional but it did help Lyka understand the mechanics of the 2x2 Rubik’s Cube.

Step 3: Prepping the Materials

  • Carefully cut the glued fold that holds together the four sides of the box. Do not cut off the glued fold.
  • Number each side of the box according to map. The box has a top and bottom made up of four folds. Number a fold on the top and also a fold on the bottom according to the map.
  • Measure to mark center of all the sides of the cardboard box. (You do not need to do this for the top and bottom folds).
  • Make a hole in the center of each of the sides. Use the tip of a pencil to make the hole. Make sure that a round head fastener can pass through the hole.
  • On the cardboard sheet, measure and cut out six squares (6”x6”).
  • Number each side of the cardboard square.
  • Measure and cut out six sheets (3”x3”) of the same color. Repeat this step for the remaining three colors.
  • Cut two slices of the cork, which are each 0.5” thick. Place the end of a round head fastener and push it through the cork until it passes the other side. Remove the round head fastener. Repeat for the other cork slice.

Step 4: Building the Puzzle

  • Using the map as a reference, glue the colors sheets onto the corresponding cardboard square.
  • Make a hole in the center of each cardboard square. Use the tip of a pencil to make the hole. Make sure that a round head fastener can pass through the hole.
  • Place the numbered cardboard square against the matching numbered box side. Place the round head fastener in the holes and secure it to the inside of the box. Repeat this step for the remaining squares and box sides.
  • Place the round head fastener in the hole of the top cardboard square. Push the round head fastener through the sliced cork. Leave a gap between the cardboard square and the cork and then fold the fastener over the cork. Repeat this step for the bottom square.
  • The cardboard box is finally ready to be folded. Start at an end of the box and fold inwards all the folds. Then fold the cardboard box side up and fold over the folds with the next folds. Repeat these steps until you reach the last pair of folds.
  • Place the top and bottom squares between the folds of the box.

NOTE: Make sure the numbered top and bottom squares correspond to the numbered top and bottom folds. If they don’t the puzzle can never be solved (and that’s evil).

  • Wedge the cork between the folds on the inside of the box to secure the square. Repeat step for the other square.
  • Close the gap to secure the top and bottom squares.

Step 5: Play

  • Rotate each side in any direction you choose. Your puzzle is set. Enjoy!

Lyka would love to have your feedback. Thank you for reading!

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For more information about the annual global #cardboardchallenge visit the Imagination Foundation.

For more information about the boy who inspired the #cardboardchallengemovement visit Caine's Arcade.

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