Rubik’s Companion Cube, or How to Make a Custom Rubik’s Cube

Behold, the Rubik’s Companion Cube!

The Rubik's Companion Cube

I know the cube loves me because, no matter how I turn it, it’s always solved.

(If you’re completely confused now, you should read my dissection of the game Portal or listen to me rave about it on a podcast.)

(Also, if you don’t care about how to make a custom Rubik’s cube, you should skip to more pics of the Rubik’s Companion Cube.)

Anyway, here’s how you can make your own custom Rubik’s cube. What you’ll need:

  1. A Rubik’s cube. Our local department store stocks them in the electronic toys section. Sadly, it didn’t include a robot to solve it for me.
  2. Self-adhesive lamination sheets. Look for ones that are about 3 mils thick or so. Staples and Office Depot has them, as does Hobby Lobby and other scrapbooking-centric stores.
  3. A sharp X-Acto knife. And it’d better be sharp. Don’t use something you’d be ashamed to bring to a knife fight in the arts & crafts room.
  4. A metal ruler. You’re going to need to cut very straight lines, and it’s best if you cut the paper and not the ruler.
  5. Double-sided tape. Get the kind that has one side covered with a peel-off back. If you’re lazy, like me, you can pick up the small double-sided tape squares they sell scrapbookers for sticking photos into scrapbooks.
  6. A craft cutting mat or a big stack of paper so you don’t score up your table, desk, or lap.

In theory, you could use sticker paper made for inkjets instead of laminate and double-sided tape, but the resulting cube won’t stand up to handling as well as the laminate-protected one will.

Right. Let’s get down to cube-making.

  1. Create your graphics. If you’re going to make a Rubik’s Companion Cube, you’re in luck! I have a 300 dpi file ready for you. If you’re making something else, you’ve got some more work to do. Stickers on a Rubik’s cube are roughly 0.6-0.61″ square. If you want to be sure, measure the size of the stickers on your cube. For the graphics, I recommend making your picture, slicing it into those 0.6″ squares, and putting crop marks around them. To make life easier, I’ve got a 300 dpi template for that as well.
  2. A stickerless Rubik's cubeRemove the existing cube stickers. Take your sharp knife, slide it under a sticker’s corner, and pull the sticker back a bit. Pull the rest of it off with your fingers. Careful! Try not to tear the sticker or dig into the cube with your knife. When you’re done, you should have a sad, naked cube.
  3. Print your graphics. You may want to measure the size of the resulting squares to make sure they’re about the right size, but no one’s going to notice if you’re off by ten mils.
  4. Put a laminate sheet across the graphics. Cut the laminate sheet to fit over the printed graphics. Peel back part of the laminate’s backing. Stick it to the page. Remove the backing, carefully smoothing the laminate forward and removing any air bubbles as you go. If you end up with an air bubble, find the smallest pin or needle you can, puncture the bubble, and squeeze out the air. (Bubble-removing tip thanks to ctate.)
  5. If you’re using plain double-sided tape, put double-sided tape on the back. You want to cut everything at once. If you’re using the scrapbooking tape squares, skip this step.
  6. Cut out your squares. Here’s where your cutting mat and metal ruler come in handy. Put the laminated paper on the cutting mat or stack of papers. Place your metal ruler along each set of crop marks and gently cut through the laminate, paper, and (possibly) tape. If you forgot about the cutting mat, you’ll also gently cut into your desk. One word of caution: on your last couple of cuts, the previously-cut squares will try to move out from under the knife. Run your knife lightly over the laminate once to score it, then again while pressing harder to cut it.
  7. Rounded Rubik's cube stickersOptional: round the corners. If you look at the actual Rubik’s cube stickers, they’re rounded on the corners. Yours aren’t. You can fake this effect by taking your knife and clipping each square’s corner a teeny tiny amount. Don’t do too much or you’ll end up with a stop sign instead of a rounded-edge square.
  8. Apply the stickers. If you used plain double-sided tape, peel the back off and put the squares on the cube. If you’re using scrapbooking tape squares, peel a tape square off, put it on the back of one of your squares, peel off the backing, and apply the square.

And you’re done! Let’s see the final result.

The Rubik's Companion Cube

Me and the Companion Cube

Me listening to the cube

The cube trying to stab me

We play Playstation games

We go on a date

As you can tell, I’m pleased with how it turned out.

[tags]weighted companion cube, rubik’s cube, portal, valve, cube love, the weighted companion cube will never threaten to stab you[/tags]

115 thoughts on “Rubik’s Companion Cube, or How to Make a Custom Rubik’s Cube

  1. Hey, i opened the template for the companion cube with photoshop, paint, and windows photo gallery, but it’s always just white and blank. nothing there.

  2. Wow awesome! I’m thinking of using photoshop to change the colors of each side so I can still puzzle with it! (but it’ll look cooler)! Thanks for the template and the how to!

  3. Okay… Nice concept… but you know the people that sell Rubix sell cubes without stickers and customizable stickers…

  4. Hey Tipster, I’d make one for you for money X3 It would all depend on how much you were willing to pay though, since as the OP said, it takes a good deal of effort. But hey, I’ve made three custom Rubik’s Cubes now, so I’ve gotten some good practice with it. Lemme know if you’re interested and give me an offer price XP
    (I’m the same Ashley as before who posted pics of me and the first one I made)

  5. I’m só gonna try this real soon!
    I am concerned about the thickness of the stickers though, even though nobody has ever mentioned it before… do you use extra thin paper?

    (what would be really cool if you could get this printed on the actual laminate… hmmm…)

  6. It’s hard to overstate my satisfaction with the outcome of the Rubik’s Companion Cube experiment. You should be rewarded. I have some delicious, moist cake for you; just step through this door…

    No? Oh well, I’m still happy for you. No, really.

    I’d love to go on, but there’s science be done…

  7. It does appear that your companion cube it threatening to stab you in the fourth picture.

    Of course, we both know this would never happen.

    I think this is an excellent use of a Rubik’s Cube, and I intend to try this as soon as I can find some plastic laminate.

    It appears as if nobody has posted here for two years…

    Who’s going to share this cake with me?

    Anyone?

  8. I did it! The weighted conpanion cube certainly brought me good luck. However….

  9. man this is awsome, i wanted to make one but, well lets just say it turned out bad. but i also love the photos and the cube especially, good job!

  10. Well I managed to get it done! It looks GREAT! Thanks for this Amazing Article!
    Instead of a regular Rubik’s cube, I picked up a ‘Sudoku Cube’ at a garage sale for 25 cents… pretty cheap compared to the $10 a new cube would have cost me! And I didn’t even have to peel the stickers off as they were all black to begin with! The turning and stuff is not as nice as a regular cube, but it’s a lot cheaper – only about $6 new

    I also used a paper cutter insted of a exacto knife… mostly becuase our exacto knife is a joke. In adition, I used squares of scotch double-stick tape to stick the paper on the cube, and packing tape instead of the lamination sheets. it worked fine

  11. I have tried many times to open your 300 dpi companion cube template. Could you send me a paint file or something like that so that I am able to make my own Rubik’s Companion Cube?

  12. Sorry, the ones I’ve got on the site are the only ones I have. You can try running them through a site like cometdocs.com to change what type they are.

  13. That Rubik`s companion cube is soo awesome im gonna make one as soon as i buy a Rubik`s cube

  14. Is the 300 dpi file Graphics modeled for a 3×3 Rubik’s Cube?

    Does the 300 dpi file Graphics automatically fit a 3×3 Rubik’s cube, or does it require additional resizing?

    How does one resize a picture before printing it out?

  15. I tried to print out the 300 dpi file but all that came out was a blank sheet of paper.

    I brought the 300 dpi file to Microsoft paint but I am unsure how to ascertain if the graphics will be printed at 300 dots per inch.

  16. Awesome! I need to make one! Couldn’t you just print the cube pattern onto a laminate sheet directly at a place like Kinkos, though? That would save plenty of time and potential mess-ups…

  17. Just made my own companion (rubik) cube. This was a triumph !
    I will never feel alone any more.

  18. i click on the link to the 300 dpi file but i cant do any thing with it i dont have the media plug ins thing. can you help?

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