Rubik’s Cubes® (Rubik’s Brand Ltd, now offered by Hasbro Gaming) are great fun to fiddle with, however 0.1% of people never solve them. (Did I mention that 85% of all statistics are made up on the spot?) Cube puzzles don’t need to be so difficult! Even kids can find satisfaction in solving easier cube models. This Instructable shows you how to make them easier … and the models get successively more difficult. Find your (or your kid’s) level of difficulty, and have some fun twisting the night away. If you find yourself over your head, set the cube aside and take a break (or select an easier model). These make perfect stocking stuffers for those young nerdlings in your family … or for some already-nerdy adults, too. Wouldn’t you want to have your kid’s nose pressed against something educational, like a cube, rather than stuck into some mind-rotting, smart phone, playing on social media?
Come on let's twist again like we did last summer.
Yea, let's twist again like we did last year.
- Cubby Checker, “Let’s Twist Again”
Step 1: Materials
Buy a new cube (they only cost $7.00 or less, if you shop around), or find an old one. The new ones have plastic faces, a nice smooth action, and are ready-to-go for this Instructable. If you use an old one (with sticker faces), you’ll have to peel off most of the stickers and use some solvent to clean off the old glue. Acquire blank label sheets – for removable labels. I use Avery #5454 sheets 4” X 6” each, which I found at OfficeMax (but you might find them elsewhere, too). I have provided templates in both Word and Pdf formats for both 4” X 6” or 8.5” X 11” label sheets, in case you find the latter size. Print out the label sheets. You’ll need two sheets if you have 4” X 6” blanks (see the Figure); one is more than enough with 8.5” X 11” blanks. Keep the backing paper on, and cut out the little squares with a sharp pair of scissors or, better, with a paper cutter. (Please be careful; watch those finger tips!)
Step 2: Top-tier Cubies, Top Faces Only
1. Sticker-up all faces except for two red ones, as shown in Figures 1, 2, or 3 (shown in their final, “solved” state). You don’t have to sticker the faces that are white already.
By the way, Figures 1 and 2 are the easiest of all. Figure 3 is only slightly harder, in part because there is a right- and a left-handed version. All unseen faces are white. A cube with only one red cubie would not be a puzzle. It is solved already! Now that you have an easy model (1, 2, or 3), mix it up and then put it back the way it’s supposed to be. Easy, huh! Do it again … and again, and again. Time yourself; try for a PR. Try to do it while you hold your breath. Try to do it blindfolded or behind your back (after a quick peek). Try to do it with only your feet. (One way to make Figure 1 is to sticker up all sides (except for the ones already white) and then peel off the red-covering patches on the red/blue edge cubie and the red central cubies. Likewise, to make Figure 2, peel off the red-covering patch on the red/blue/yellow corner and on the red central cubies. To make Figure 3, peel off the red-covering patch on the red/blue/yellow corner and on the red/blue edge cubies.)
2. Next make the cube shown in Figure 4. This will be slightly trickier to solve! (To make this cube from an all-white cube, peel off the red-covering patches from the red/blue/yellow corner, the red/blue/white corner, and the red/blue edge cubies.) (Or to make it from a new cube, sticker all but these three.)
3. Finally (for this step), do the cube shown in Figure 5, the hardest one in this section. (To make this cube from a Figure 4 cube, peel off all red-covering patches.) (Or to make this from a new cube, sticker all but the red faces.)
All of these have been pretty easy – they’ll get harder, I promise. BTW, this last one is good starter cube for older kids.
A B C, easy as 1 2 3,
Or simple as do, re, mi.
- Jackson 5, “ABC” (originally by Akeelah & the Bee)
Step 3: Top-tier Cubies, All Faces
1. Sticker-up your cube as in Figure 1, here. (All unseen faces are white.) (To make this cube from the last one of the previous section, simply peel off the two remaining patches from the red/blue/yellow corner cubie.)
2. Next in the progression, make Figure 2. (All unseen faces are again white.) (To make this cube from a Figure 1 cube, peel off all the remaining patches from the red/blue/white corner and the red/blue edge cubies.)
3. Finally, do it up as in Figure 3. (The unseen faces to the top-left (behind the colored row) are green; all other unseen faces are white.) (To make this cube from a Figure 2 cube, peel off the green-covering patches from the red/green/yellow corner, the red/green/white corner, the red/green edge cubies, and the yellow-covering patches from the red/yellow/green corner and the red/yellow edge cubie.)
This is now a basic, top-tier cube; it’s fairly easy for adults and advanced kids to solve. Next, I add cubies to the middle tier. That’s going to make things a lot harder!
To every Cube (turn, turn, turn)
There is a reason (turn, turn, turn).
And a time to every purpose, under heaven.
- modified for cubes from The Byrds, ”Turn! Turn! Turn!”
Step 4: Middle-tier Cubies
Now it’s getting pretty difficult – it’s going to be hard solving the middle tier without messing up what you have already on the top tier. I’m not going to tell you explicitly what to do. (That would spoil all the fun!).
1. Make your cube look like Figure 1, here. (All unseen faces are white.) (To make this cube from the last cube of the previous section, just peel off the patches from the blue/yellow edge cubie.) (Or just sticker up a new cube this way.)
For advanced twisters, this a great, challenging cube puzzle to start with. If you can solve this one (without lucking into the solution), you’re on your way to glory!
2. Next make your cube look like Figure 2. (All unseen faces are white.) (To make this cube from the previous one, peel off the blue-covering patches on the red/blue/white corner and the red/blue edge cubies.)
3. Finally (for this step) make your cube look like Figure 3. (The colored faces to the left, top- and middle-tiers, are green. All other faces are white.) (To make this cube from the previous one, peel off the patches from the green/yellow edge, the green white edge, and the green central cubies; also peel off the yellow-covering patch from the central yellow cubie.)
This is a basic, top- and middle-tier cube. Now, on to the bottom-tier!
Man, you find the old and young
Twistin’ the night away.
They’re twistin’, twistin’, everbody’s feelin’ great.
They’re twistin’, twistin’, they’re twistin’ the night away.
- Sam Cooke, “Twistin’ the Night Away”
Step 5: Bottom-tier Cubies
These are going to be very difficult; and they get harder as you go from one to the next to the next.
1. Make your cube look like Figure 1, here. (All unseen faces are white except for an orange below the blue/yellow/orange cubie.) (To make this cube from the last cube of the previous section, remove all patches from the blue/yellow/orange corner cubie.)
2. Make your cube look like Figure 2. (Most unseen faces to are white; the bottom unseen faces below the bottom-tier blues are orange.) (To make this cube from the Figure 1 cube, remove all patches from the blue/white/orange corner and the blue/orange edge cubies.)
Next is the hardest of all!
3. Finally, finally, make the followig: remove all remaining patches.
This last cube should look familiar. It’s a full-fledged Rubik’s Cube. Maybe you are ready to try it! Go for it, and good luck!
I've looked at Cubes from both sides now,
From up and down, and still somehow
It's Cube's illusions I recall.
I really don't know Cubes at all.
- Modified for cubes from Joni Mitchell, “Both Sides Now”
Step 6: A Shameless Plug
This new Instructable is a spin-off of one I wrote several years ago: “Cube Puzzles for Kids (and Adults, too)”. That Instructable is a bit dated, but it’s still a good resource for you. You might want to take a look. To use it, you will have to colorize some of the white templates I referred to earlier. (Use the provided Word document, and change the base color to red, for example.) Then print them (see the Figure), cut them out, and you are good to go. Just follow the old Instructable. Have fun!
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty together again.
- Mother Goose, “Humpty Dumpty”