Layer by layer

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3x3x3 LBL Method

LBL (3x3x3) method
Layer by layer.gif
Information about the method
Proposer(s): Donald Taylor, David Singmaster, and others
Proposed: 1978
Alt Names: Beginner's method, Samsara method
Variants: CFOP, 8355
No. Steps: 5+
No. Algs: 6+
Avg Moves: 80+

Layer-By-Layer, or normally only LBL is a group of methods that solves the cube in layers. In the basic, beginner LBL method, the solver finishes the layers one at a time: the first layer edges, then corners, then the second layer edges, and finally the last layer. This is a common method for new cubers to discover on their own. In more advanced LBL methods, you solve layers more efficiently or solve two layers at once. For example, in the CFOP method, one solves the first two layers simultaneously by forming a cross of the first layer edges, and then filling in four pairs of a corner and an edge into the so-called slots.


Although it is not known who first performed a Layer By Layer solve, according to research by James Straughan, the first known detailed description of the method was the one published in 1978 by Donald Taylor in The Group of a Coloured Cube.[1] This publication described the steps of cross, first layer corners, second layer edges, and a four step last layer solution. Layer By Layer gained popularity when David Singmaster published his variant of it (along with his 3x3x3 notation) in his Notes on Rubik's 'Magic Cube' in 1979. Singmaster had originally been using a Corners First method before creating his own variant of Layer By Layer inspired by the Layer By Layer methods that others had been using at the time.[2]

During the 1980s cube craze Layer-by-layer was rivalled by Corners First methods in popularity. At the World Rubik's Cube Championship 1982 only four out of the nineteen competitors used methods based on Layer-by-layer, although these included Guus Razoux Schultz (CFCE method), and Jessica Fridrich (who did CFOP without F2L). Since the speedcubing revival in the late-1990s, the Layer-by-layer approach has dominated both beginner solutions (where it is often called the beginner's method), and speedcubing (especially CFOP).


There are many 3x3x3 methods that fully or partially use a LBL approach, including CFOP, the method used by most top speedcubers in the world. Three examples of how cubers might approach LBL:

Beginner 3x3x3 LBL

With this method, the novice cuber truly completes each layer one after the other, using few algorithms (but taking perhaps over 100 moves). This is one of the most popular beginners' methods in existence.

  • ( Daisy )
  • Bottom layer: Corners XG (Cross plus Corners)
  • Middle Layer: Insert the 4 middle layer edges (each edge is inserted individually)
  • 4-Look Last Layer, sometimes actually more like 8-looks by re-using algorithms

Intermediate 3x3x3 LBL

At this stage the cuber may develop strategies such as keyhole to reduce middle layer moves, as well as learning further last layer algorithms.

Advanced 3x3x3 LBL

The advanced LBL cuber often uses CFOP, employing fast, intuitive F2L techniques and learning many more last layer algorithms to reduce moves and improve speed further.

2x2x2 LBL Method

LBL (2x2x2) method
Information about the method
Proposer(s): none
Proposed: 1970s
Alt Names: none
Variants: CLL
No. Steps: 3
No. Algs: 3+
Avg Moves: 25+

As if you are solving the 3x3 using the Layer-By-Layer method.

Do the bottom layer first, then OLL (2x2x2), and last PLL (2x2x2).

See also

External links

Web pages

Video tutorials