Step 1 - The Cross
The first thing to know about the cube is that the middle pieces don't move. Go ahead, try and move them. They rotate, but they never move in relation to each other, which means that each face will always be that face. Also, a common mistake when people first approach an unsolved cube is to think they have to solve 54 stickers. This is wrong, as there are only 20 pieces that actually move around - 8 corner pieces and 12 edge pieces.
Throughout this website, it will be assumed that the first face is the white face. Every single time you do the cube, you should start with the white face so you get used to always looking out for the same colours at different stages. If I were to pick up a cube and start with, say, the green face, I would get hideously confused when it came to the last layer because I am so used to looking for yellow pieces instead of blue ones.
The first thing you have to do is to create a cross on the first layer, like so:
Grey cubies show cubies that aren't important at this stage - just ignore them. There aren't many algorithms to achieve this as it relies mostly on logic, but there are some scenarios you can watch out for:
F R U
It is also important to remember that the edge colours have to be aligned with the centers like this:
and not like this:
Step 2 - The Corners
The next step is to put the corners in, like this:
Just like the edge pieces before, it is important that the corner pieces match with the pieces around it, i.e. not like this:
The corners will most likely be on the bottom layer. It is important to first put the cubie you wish to move underneath where it needs to go. That is, the white-blue-red cubie should be underneath the white-blue-red corner. There is an algorithm for each situation:
F D F'
R' D' R
R' D R F D2 F'
(The white sticker on the corner is on the bottom.)
In some cases, the corner will be on the top layer but just needs reorienting or repositioning, for example:
R' D R F D F'
The last three moves are from before - the cubie just had to put in the proper place first. If a corner cubie is in the top layer but in the wrong place, it also needs to be taken down to the bottom layer. This can be done with either of the following algorithms:
F D' F' or R' D R
Once the cubie as on the bottom layer, it can be put it in the correct place by using the above algorithms. When you can, always try to use one of the first two instead of the third as they are shorter and will save you time.
Step 3 - The Second Layer
The next step is to put the four second layer pieces in the right place, like this:
The first thing to do is to turn the cube upside-down, so you have this:
Then find the piece that you need to put in the correct place - in this case the blue and red edge piece. You need to get to one of two situations:
To put the piece in the correct place, you need one of two algorithms, and one is the inverse of the other. These are the longest algorithms you'll need to learn.
U R U' R' U' F' U F
U' L' U L U F U' F'
Sometimes, the second layer is sneaky and will throw this sort of situation at you:
Here, none of the second layer pieces are in the right places but you can't get to one of the above situations. To fix this, just do the algorithm anyway. In the above picture, using the first algorithm on the yellow-red edge piece will displace the orange-green piece, like so:
Now that the orange-green piece is in the top layer, you can solve it like normal.
Sometimes, you may meet this situation:
You can solve this in the same way as before, by using the normal algorithm on a yellow edge piece and displacing the red-blue piece so it can be solved as normal. Or, if you're feeling clever, you can show it who's boss and give it a bit of the old R U' R' U F' U2 F U F' U2 F.
There will be times where there is a piece where another piece needs to go, like this:...
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