Layer by Layer

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The Layer by Layer method, also known as the Beginners method is a method of solving the 3x3x3 Rubik's Cube. Many beginners' methods use this approach, and it also forms the basis of the CFOP speedcubing technique.


The Layer by Layer Method was pioneered by David Singmaster in his 1980 book Notes on Rubik's "Magic Cube".[1][2] The same idea was adopted by James G. Nourse in his The Simple Solution to Rubik's Cube which became the bestselling book of 1981,[3] and similar approaches could be found in Don Taylor's Mastering Rubik's Cube and Cyril Östrop's Solving the Cube from the same era.[4]


The method begins with the puzzle solver making a cross on one face with the edge pieces ensuring that all edge colours match the adjacent center colours (step 1 in the diagram below), then putting the corners into position between the edges (step 2). By then, the layer should be solved. In step 3, the four edge pieces of the middle layer are solved. At this point the first two layers are solved. In step 4, a cross of the opposite color is made on the last layer. For step 5, the last layer edges are permutated (swapped around). In step 6, the last layer corners are permutated. Finally, the last layer corners are oriented.[5]

An overview of the layer by layer method for Rubik's Cube. The cube has been turned over in the third step.

Most Layer by Layer beginners' methods solve the first two layers using the same technique. However, there are many variant techniques for the final layer, depending on whether the corner or edge pieces are solved first.[4] For example:

  1. Top layer "white cross": F' U L' U' or F R U R' U' F'
  2. Top layer left corner: D L D' L’ / right corner: D' R' D R
  3. Middle layer right edge: U R U' R' U' F' U F / Left edge: U' L' U L U F U' F'
  4. Final layer edges: R U R' U R U U R'
  5. Final layer corners: U R U' L' U R' U' L
  6. Finishing the cube: R' D' R D

CFOP method[edit]

The CFOP speedcubing technique, developed by Jessica Fridrich and others in the 1980s, similarly divides the puzzle into layers to be solved. However the method uses far more algorithms and shortcuts than the beginners' methods.[6]


  1. ^ David Singmaster (1980-08-06). "A Step by Step Solution of Rubik's "Magic Cube"". Jeffrey W Baumann & LinkedResources. Archived from the original on 2006-03-04.
  2. ^ Ryan Heise. "Beginner's Rubik's Cube Solution". Archived from the original on 2015-09-26. The general layer-by-layer approach described above is credited to mathematician David Singmaster and was first published in his 1980 book "Notes on Rubik's Magic Cube"
  3. ^ Hanauer, Joan (5 January 1982). "The man who wrote the best-selling book of 1981". United Press International.
  4. ^ a b A Comparison of Various Methods, Philip Marshall, 2005
  5. ^ Eight steps: layer by layer method to the Rubik's cube
  6. ^ CFOP tutorial: UKCubeStore