Cube Fold: Torture or Teacher?


Brain Games CoverThe puzzle I used in this post appears in the book titled, “Brain Games: Lower Your Brain Age in Minutes a Day.” The contributing writer for Brain Games is Holli Fort and the puzzle editor is Fraser Simpson. Brain Games is a trademark of Publications International, Ltd. Louis Weber, CEO of Publications International, allowed me to use the puzzle in this post. I chose to write this post because solving, and attempting to solve, a cube-fold puzzle can be a fun way to strengthen attention, planning, decision-making, creative thinking, spatial visualization, spatial reasoning, and visual logic skills. There are not many types of puzzles that exercise the brain in so many ways.


The goal of cube fold puzzles (also known as mental rotation puzzles) is to determine how an object would look when folded and/or rotated. I could not find free printable puzzles on the internet probably because printing the puzzles defeats the purpose of the puzzles — solving them without touching or physically rotating them.

In the following example, provided by Smart Kit, the goal is to choose the box labeled a, b, c, or d that can be formed by the t-shaped object without cutting, tearing,  or moving any piece of the t-shaped object.

2014-0824 Smart Kit Visual Rotation Puzzle

The correct object cannot be “b” because if the blue square with a pound sign is on top of the cube, and the orange square with a green dot is facing us then the pink square with an X cannot be on the right side of the cube. A similar process of elimination helps us determine “c” is not the correct choice.  If the red square is facing us, and the orange square with the green dot is on top of the cube, then the black square with the six green dots must be on the left face of the cube. Furthermore the six green dots would be horizontal (three columns and two rows of dots) not vertical (two columns and three rows of dots).

Featured Puzzle

 Unfold the Cube Puzzle from Brain Games


The puzzle designer will determine if a puzzle is easy, slightly challenging, or difficult to solve. Some of the following variations are included in the book mentioned throughout this post. I have seen the following variations:

  • Simple or abstract images
  • Cube or other geometric shape
  • Fold and/or rotation
  • Two or more possible solutions
  • No possible solutions given


Click here to read another Beyond Injury post in the Torture or Teacher series.

Thanks to Smart Kit for providing the example I used in this post; Barnes and Noble for stocking the book in which the puzzle appears; Amazon for providing a picture of the book cover; Publications International for publishing a book that includes several cube fold puzzles, and allowing me to share the featured puzzle in this post; and all the people who, directly or indirectly, made it possible for me to include the picture and text I used in this post.


    1. Nancy, does “fabulous” mean you will try the puzzle or does it mean “that’s a great puzzle for somebody else?” Either answer is the right answer. I am just trying to evaluate which content readers like best. ~ Scott

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