Top Layer Corner Piece Orientations

This page gives you instructions for the fifth step of solving a rubik’s cube – getting the corners of the top layer into their correct orientations. In the fourth step they were moved into the right positions, but some were facing the wrong way. The next step is to twist them in place, so they are completely solved!

Err, no, put those pliers away. I didn’t mean literally to twist them in place! Instead, I’ll show you another special “move” – or sequence of turns – that has the effect of twisting two corner pieces in place. No pliers needed.

This is a different move from what was used in the middle layer, or earlier in the top layer. If you are following my strategy for solving the rubik cube, this will be the second “move” you learn.

So, if you follow the steps below, your rubik’s cube will change…

From This –> The corner pieces need twisting
The corner pieces now in the right places <– To This!

Won’t that be beautiful? Then there’d only be five pieces left to move home!

If you look carefully at the pictures above, you’ll see that the corner pieces have not actually moved. They’ve just been twisted (without malice aforethought) so that their stickers face the right way. The move you can learn from this page does nothing at all except twist two corner pieces!

So, get the pieces to the right places first!

If you haven’t solved the first layer yet, you should start here. Or does the word layer make sense to you in this context? If you thought I meant an expert with bricks, please don’t hesitate to read what I do mean before moving on. If you’ve solved the first two layers, but your corner pieces are not yet in the right places, check out this page.

Otherwise, read on!

A Second Special Move!

Remember when I explained how to solve the middle layer, I said a move is a special sequence of turns that helps immensely in solving the cube. The move on this page involves more turns than the first move I showed you, but it’s quite repetitive, so it may actually be easier to learn.

Besides that, it has another nice feature – it has no left- and right-handed versions! Or rather, the left- and right-handed versions are pretty much the same, and do the same thing. All the nonambidextrous amongst us, rejoice!

So, let’s go!

Here, I hold the cube so one of its edges is facing me. This move will twist the two corner pieces on the left and right of the top layer. That’s right, if the nearest corner is the cube’s nose, this move will twist its ears towards me. Don’t worry, it won’t cry (well, mine didn’t). Rubik’s cubes inflict pain, they don’t feel it.


Ready to twist an ear or two Here’s the rubik’s cube, ready to start the move. On the left ear, the yellow sticker will drop down to the left face, the purple one will go behind, and the light blue sticker (you can just see it in the mirror) will flip up to the top layer.Similarly, on the right, the dark blue sticker will drop down to the right hand face, the light blue sticker will go behind, and so on.


The move begins!The first step of this move is to turn the right-hand face away from me, as you can see here. Twisting two corner pieces
Then, do the same to the left hand face.


Twisting two corner pieces
Next, the bottom face should be given a full 180 degree twist. Can you see, in the bottom layer? The stuff at the back has come to the front, and vice-versa… Twisting two corner pieces
Next, undo the turn you just did to the left hand face. Twisting two corner pieces
And, the right-hand face…


Twisting two corner pieces
And now, give the top face a 180 degree twist.

The cube is now somewhat (ok, very) messed up. This is not a good time to drop it so it rolls under a sofa.

The good news is, we are exactly halfway through the move.

The better news is, the second half is exactly the same as the first half!

Twisting two corner pieces

So, all over again

The right hand face away, and then…

Twisting two corner pieces

…the left hand face away, then…

Twisting two corner pieces

…give the bottom face a 180 degree turn…


Twisting two corner pieces
… then, pull the left face back,… Twisting two corner pieces
…and the right face back… Twisting two corner pieces
…and finally, give the top face a 180 degree turn.

And it’s done! Look at the picture at the start of the move, and compare it with this one. The only change is the two corner pieces on the left and right of the top layer (the “ears”) have twisted!

Isn’t that nice?

Twisting two corner pieces

Here’s a video clip showing the above steps :


The Next Step

Now we have uno poco problemo. There are two corners left that need twisting, but no matter how I hold the cube, I can’t make these two into two ears.

Twisting two corner pieces Fortunately, this is not a big problem.
By turning the left face, I get the two corner pieces exactly where I want them!Now I’ll do the move, and the two “ears” will be twisted towards me, just like I want them! Twisting two corner pieces
So, let the move begin…!

Turn the right face, then the left face, away.

Twisting two corner pieces
Give the bottom face a 180 degree turn Twisting two corner pieces
Pull the left face, then the right face back again… Twisting two corner pieces
Then, the top face gets a 180 degree turn.The move is halfway done, so I repeat these same steps again. Twisting two corner pieces
Right face, then left face then then bottom goes round,(O hear the musical, cube-creaking sound!) Twisting two corner pieces
Left face and right face and top spins half-way(My Rubik’s the toy I perpetually play!)

And the move is done! As you can see, the two “ears” of the cube have been twisted to their correct orientations.

Twisting two corner pieces
All that’s left to do is to turn the left hand face back to its original position. Isn’t that beautiful? Twisting two corner pieces

You might find it clearer in the movie below.

Now there are only the five remaining edge pieces left to solve.

What could go wrong?

The worst that could happen is that you get the move mixed up – maybe do the steps in the wrong order, or do the wrong steps. Then the cube will likely get completely messed up. This situation is easy enough to handle.

  • Try to retrace the steps you did, undoing them carefully.
  • This will most likely fail.
  • Take a deep breath and count to ten.
  • Pick up all the little cubelets scattered on the carpet, and use a bit of plaster to fix the nasty cube-shaped ding on the wall.
  • Read these instructions to put all the cubelets back on the frame.
  • If any of the above steps don’t apply, start here and try again.

Don’t worry, I also make mistakes when applying moves at times, and have to start all over. The most positive way to see it? An opportunity to practice all over again the earlier steps. *sigh*

One thought on “Top Layer Corner Piece Orientations”

  1. The ‘uno poco problemo’ featured here is not the only complication that can arise. Here your solution twists the pieces in place in one sequence only because one of them needs to be twisted clockwise and the other anti-clockwise.
    In the situation where both need to turn clockwise (or anti-clockwise) to get oriented, after this sequence we will remain with one unsolved piece, which cannot be corrected in one move, as another ‘fixed’ piece will get disoriented while this one gets corrected. Please include the shortest way to address that situation. Other than this, your presentation is flawless. – Regards,

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