How to customize your WordPress theme with a child theme (video tutorial!)

With the wide variety of WordPress themes available these days, chances are pretty good you can find something you like that will work well for your business. But WordPress themes are built with wider audiences in mind, so there’s bound to be a few things that you want to change about your theme. So how do you customize your WordPress theme to fit your needs?

Customize your WordPress theme with a child theme video tutorial

If you only have a few minor tweaks, you can take care of those with the Jetpack Custom CSS module. But what if you want to make a lot of changes? In this video tutorial, you’ll learn the right way to customize your WordPress theme — I’ll show you how to create a WordPress child theme step by step.

WordPress child theme video tutorial

What is a child theme?

First of all, what is a child theme, and why would you want to create one?

  • A child theme allows you to use elements from a theme you like, called the parent theme, while keeping your own customizations separate.
  • If you edit your parent theme directly, you may lose your customizations when the theme author releases an update.
  • Keeping your customizations separate in a child theme ensures that your customizations are safe, and you can still keep the parent theme updated, which can be especially important when new WordPress features or security updates are released.
A child theme allows you to use elements from a theme you like and keep your own customizations separateClick To Tweet

How to create a WordPress child theme

  1. Create a new folder in your themes directory for your child theme (I like to name it parent-child, i.e. hemingway-child).
  2. Copy the style.css and screenshot.png files from your parent theme into your child theme folder.
  3. Open the style.css file. Change the theme name so you will recognize which theme is the child and which is the parent in the WordPress admin area.
  4. Add a line under the theme information for “Template: parent-folder-name”.
  5. Below the theme information, add an import CSS rule as such: “@import url(‘../parent-folder-name/style.css’);”. This will import the parent styles, and you can remove any styles below that you want to keep the same.

This is a basic overview of creating a child theme, but I definitely recommend watching the video above to see the steps in action. so you can really understand how everything works together.

If you would like to learn more about creating child themes, including how to edit the theme files to show excerpts on your blog page, be sure to join Creative Code Club to watch the full video. I’ll also show you how to set up WordPress on your computer so you can practice coding without anyone seeing your work in progress. Learn more and join for less than the cost of one hour of WordPress support.

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Meet the author

Hello! I’m Lisa M. Butler, and I help people build better websites. As a WordPress developer, I’ve built more than 100 websites on WordPress. I help my clients take their websites to the next level and teach them how to take control of their online presence. Through my blog, weekly emails, and club, I share that same advice with online creative entrepreneurs and publishers just like you.