First Layer Edge Pieces

This page gives you instructions for the very first step of solving a rubik’s cube – the edge pieces of the first layer. Another page on this site explains what a layer is and why they are important.

So, if you follow the instructions on this page, your rubik’s cube will change…

From This –> a messed up rubik's cube
a rubik's cube with the edge pieces fixed <– To This!

 

Choose which layer to solve first!

You need to choose which layer you will solve first. In the pictures on this page, I’m solving the layer with the red middle square. Some tips to keep in mind.

  • A piece is in the correct place when its stickers match the middle squares of the faces it’s on.
  • This means, the centre pieces are always in the correct place. Now isn’t that nice? That’s six less pieces to worry about.

So choose a colour to solve first. Any colour will do. This is then your “target colour“. So my target colour is red. The layer with the red center is my “target layer“.

To get the edge pieces into their correct positions, you do this :

  • Choose one edge piece that belongs on your target layer – your “target piece“. For me, that means choosing an edge piece with a red sticker.
  • Move it to its correct position, or “home“. Ok, I guess this is the tricky bit. Detailed instructions on how to do this follow.
  • Repeat four times, and you’re done! The edge pieces of the first layer will all be solved! Then you’ll be ready to tackle the Corner Pieces of the First Layer

You can do these first four edge pieces pieces in any order.

How do you move an edge piece to it’s “home”? Well, that depends on where you found it. There’s only a few possibilities, and I’ll cover them one by one.

The lost edge piece might have been

Bottom Layer, Facing Down

This section explains how to get an edge piece into the correct position in the top layer of your rubik’s cube, if it’s now in the bottom layer, with the target colour facing down. If your target piece is not in this position, then you’re reading the wrong section! Check where it is, and go to the correct section to see how to fix it up.
After you’ve read the instructions below, you may like to watch a video showing the steps.

a messed up rubik's cube In this example, I’m trying to get the green and red edge piece into its correct position, at the top front of the cube.

Currently, it’s at the bottom of the cube. Can you see it, at the bottom right of the cube? Note that the red sticker, which should be on top, is facing downwards.

In this situation, I first rotate the bottom face, until the two green stickers – the one on my target, and the one on the center piece – are neatly lined up.

Whatever piece you’ve picked, just rotate the bottom so the non-target colour line up.

Your target edge piece should now be directly under its home!

partway to getting an edge piece in place
Next, I rotate the front face through a full 180 degrees. This moves my target piece up to the top layer where it belongs. Ta-daah!

Following these steps will not disturb any of the other edge pieces on the top layer. It may mess up the rest of the cube, but at this stage, the cube’s all messe up anyway, so who cares!

the first edge piece in place

Here’s a video clip showing the above steps :
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If your edge pieces are not all solved yet, then choose another, and follow the steps on this page to get it back to where it belongs!

Bottom Layer, Facing Out

This section explains how to get an edge piece into its home in the top layer of your rubik’s cube, if it’s now in the bottom layer, with the target colour facing outwards. If your target piece is not in this position, then you’re reading the wrong section! Check where it is, and go to the correct section to see how to fix it up.
You can see a video animation of this steps instructions here.

a messed up rubik's cube In this example, I’m trying to get the yellow and red edge piece into its correct position, at the top front of the cube.

Currently, it’s at the bottom of the cube, at the front. Note that the red sticker, which should be on top, is facing outwards.

If you need to, spin the bottom face to bring your target piece into this position – just below its home.

To deal with this situation, rotate the front face by a quarter turn, to bring the target edge piece into the middle layer.

In the picture on the right, you can see that the red and yellow edge piece is now at the right hand side of the front face.

partway to getting an edge piece in place
Next, rotate the top face. Which direction? Rotate it so the target location is still just a quarter turn away from the target piece.

For me, that meant turning the top face anticlockwise – towards the right.

partway to getting an edge piece in place
Now, rotate the target edge piece into the top layer, so the correct colour is facing up. partway to getting an edge piece in place
Finally, turn the top face again, so all the edge pieces done so far are back in their correct places.

If you’ve followed these steps correctly, your target edge piece will now be safely at home!

the first edge piece in place

Just to make all this clear, I’ve made an animated movie of the above instructions.

If your edge pieces are not all solved yet, then choose another, and follow the steps on this page to get it back to where it belongs!

Middle Layer

This section explains how to get an edge piece into the correct position in the top layer of your rubik’s cube, if it’s now in the middle layer. If your target piece is not in this position, then you’re reading the wrong section! Check where it is, and go to the correct section to see how to fix it up.
You can see a movie clip of these instructions here

a messed up rubik's cube In this example, I’m trying to get the blue and red edge piece into its correct position, at the top front of the cube.

Currently, it’s in the middle layer, near the back. You can just see its blue sticker on the right hand face of the cube!

I want it to be next to the green and red edge piece, where it belongs.

To get it there, I’ll rotate the top face. I’ll rotate it just enough so that its ‘home’ is on the same face as the blue sticker.

That’s because the blue sticker belongs at the side. It’s the red stickers that are going at the top.

partway to getting an edge piece in place
Now, I rotate the side face that the target piece  (and its home) are on.

If you’ve done everything correctly so far, this will get the piece into its correct position on the top layer. Almost.

partway to getting an edge piece in place
All that remains to do is to rotate the top face back again! partway to getting an edge piece in place

Anyway, here’s a short youtube video of these instructions.

If your edge pieces are not all solved yet, then choose another, and follow the steps on this page to get it back to where it belongs!

Top Layer, But Not The Right Place

The last possibility is that the edge piece might be in the top layer, but not in the correct place. If your target piece is not in this position, then you’re reading the wrong section! Check where it is, and go to the correct section to see how to fix it up.
Again, I’ve also made an animation showing how this is done.
The tip here is to bump it out of the top layer, then use one of the methods given above.

Big hint : if my target piece is in the top layer, I normally choose another target first. Why? Because by choosing another target, there’s a good chance I might bump any wrongly-placed edge pieces out of the top layer anyway!

On the other hand, sometimes we’ve got no choice. All the other edge pieces are solved, and the only ones left are in the top layer. Grinning at you, saying ‘watcha gonna do, buddy?!’ This only happens about one time in five, but when it happens, we need a way to fix it. That way is here.

a messed up rubik's cube In the picture at the left, the purple and red piece is in the correct place, but needs to be flipped over.
You can rotate the front face by a quarter turn. Then the target edge piece will now be in the middle layer. In another section I explain how to handle that case. partway to getting an edge piece in place
Or, you can rotate the front face by a half turn, and put the target piece on the bottom layer.

I find this useful when the target piece is in the top layer, but the wrong position, with the correct colour facing up. After a half turn, the target colour is on the bottom face, which is the case I find easiest.

partway to getting an edge piece in place
Once you knock the edge piece out of the top layer, you can follow the steps in the other sections.Yyour edge piece will soon be home where it belongs! partway to getting an edge piece in place

And, here’s the animation of the above steps!

If your edge pieces are not all solved yet, then choose another, and follow the steps on this page to get it back to where it belongs!

Top Layer, Right Place

Well, as they say,

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

Count yourself lucky, and move on!

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