Top 10 Tutorials for Developing WordPress Themes

Being able to design custom WordPress themes is almost a must for today’s web designers. The fun thing with WordPress is that there’s always something new that you can learn to make the platform work better for you and your clients. These 10 tutorials will teach basic WordPress theming as well as some more advanced skills.

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Designing for WordPress

Chris Coyier of CSS-Tricks has a three-part video series for downloading and installing WordPress, all the way through everything else involved with designing a custom theme. The example theme that is built through the series is a personalized homepage theme.

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How to Create WordPress Themes from Scratch

Kai Loon wrote this popular series (see parts 1, 2, 3a, and 3b). It’s very detailed and covers designing the theme in Photoshop, slicing and coding, and all of the files involved in the theme. If your looking for a great guide to take you through the etire process of desigining and coding, this is a good place to start.

How to Make a Control Panel for Your WordPress Theme

While there are plenty of good tutorials for designing and coding themes, there are very few that touch on the process of creating a control panel. This one from Cats Who Code takes you through the process, as used in the Mimbo theme.

How to Create a WordPress Theme from Scratch

NETTUTS has a two-part series (see parts 1 and 2) that’s a good resource for new theme developers. It cover the basic files of the theme, including CSS, and the tutorial walks through the development of a basic sample theme.

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Build a Newspaper Theme with WP_Query and the 960 CSS Framework

For a non-traditional or magazine-style layout, this tutorial will take you through the specific WordPress coding that’s involved and you’ll create a simple, but attractive, sample layout.

Build a Basic Newspaper Layout with WordPress and jQuery

This is another excellent tutorial from NETTUTS for building a different newspaper layout. Of course, it covers all the coding of the various WP files involved.

So You Want to Create WordPress Themes Huh?

Small Potato wrote a detail 16-part series on all aspects of theme development. Most of the individual sections of the theme are not that long, so 16 parts isn’t as intimidating or time-consuming as it may seem.

How to Create a WordPress Template or Theme

This tutorial from Aneko Studios was one of the first ones I read on WordPress theme development. It covers the different files that make up the WordPress theme and the basic coding that is involved with each.

Dissection of a WordPress Theme

An older tutorial, but still relevant, this is an in-depth series from Urban Giraffe (See parts 1, 2, 3, and 4) that will take you through the entire process of developing a WordPress theme, with plenty of explanation to go along with the code samples.

Developing a WordPress Theme

Deziner Folio did a tutorial that covers the basics of the header, sidebar, footer and index files. This one is not as in-depth as some of the others on this list, but it is a good place to get a quicker understanding of theme development.

One Final Resource

In addition to the ten tutorials listed above, the WordPress Codex is also a great resource with loads of information. The section for theme development is a great resource, especially if your new to WP theme development.

For more posts on WordPress, see:

Published October 22nd, 2008 by

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88 Responses

Comments are now closed on this post.

  • Elliot, October 22, 2008

    This is just what Ive been looking for, thanks!!, the more I can learn about wordpress the better:)

  • Max | Design Shard, October 22, 2008

    These will definatly be useful very soon, Awesome

  • jbj, October 23, 2008

    Thanks for linking to our article :)

  • Ian, October 23, 2008

    I start off with a blank seo’d wordpress theme.

    Most changes can be made with CSS, see it at http://ianpurton.com/seo-wordpress-sandbox-theme/

  • David Shaw, October 23, 2008

    I will be looking through these!!

    This is something that I am currently working on!

  • David Airey, October 23, 2008

    Superb, Steven! Bookmarked for sure. Thanks.

  • Jason, October 23, 2008

    Thank you — bookmarked you and will be coming back to visit ! :)

  • Sean Reviews, October 23, 2008

    This is one brilliant post, you guys are the best! The only problem is that I now have no excuse not to make my blog a lot better.

  • Vandelay Design, October 23, 2008

    Great, I’m glad it can help.

  • Vandelay Design, October 23, 2008

    Ian,
    Starting with a blank theme is a good practice.

  • River Girl, October 23, 2008

    Great post. Bookmarked. :-)

  • IDoBlogs, October 23, 2008

    You guys consistently put out great posts. Thanks for these suggestions!

  • Eric, October 23, 2008

    Great list! Thanks for sharing :)

  • Vandelay Design, October 23, 2008

    jbj,
    You’re welcome. Thanks for a great tutorial.

  • ThomasP, October 24, 2008

    Hey, thanks a lot for that great list. I thought of creating a WP-Theme for a long time, but I never really knew how to start. Now I’ve got something to do in my free time ;-)
    I already linked that list on my blog.
    thx again

    Thomas

  • GFX Tutorials, October 24, 2008

    Grt…. list …. Awesome….

  • Sean the mover, October 24, 2008

    I can relate to this ! , I’ve heard some goody things about this blog !

  • Dainis Graveris, October 25, 2008

    Man, that’s great – lovely for me to use those tutorials..:) I am really enjoying this article!

  • Tutorialvine.com, October 25, 2008

    Hi, great list. I need this for developing my very first WordPress Theme.. Wish me luck! ;)

  • Mal, October 26, 2008

    Another great post. I am glad I stumbled on this blog. I checked out the control panel link. That would be an immense time saver for maintaining a home page. One of the things I struggled to understand is the options for showposts and wp_list_categories… etc. I have still never seen them listed all in one place atone time. But the control panel concept would allow someone to change all their homepage elements at one time from one place instead of going to 3 different files like home.php and home right-sidebar.php and home-left-sidebar.php and so forth. Brilliant.

  • Sofhal Jamil, October 26, 2008

    Nice collections you have. Tks. Keep on Smiling. Salaam.

  • thinkdave, October 26, 2008

    Great post. Even for someone who’s built a lot of WordPress themes I like to know that there’s a list of resources to refer back to. Keep them coming.

  • Paul Antony Jose, October 27, 2008

    Man …i luv ur website.
    Like all of your tutorials very very much
    this post especially awesome :)

  • flash animator, October 27, 2008

    Good tutorials for wordpress themes… I have learned a lot from this site…Thanks!

  • Movies, October 28, 2008

    I’m too lazy to make my own themes so I prefer to download them )

  • Fred Campbell, October 28, 2008

    Love it. Used Chris Coyier’s to build mine

  • Teknoloji, November 3, 2008

    These will definatly be useful very soon, Awesome

  • Sumesh, November 22, 2008

    That’s quite a list there – I’ve already read most of them. I’m surprised you didn’t include WPDesigner’s series – which I believe is one of the best available.

    Thanks for the link to CatsWhoCode about making an admin control panel, I’ve been pondering over one for weeks now.

  • A Vermont Web Design, November 22, 2008

    Wow what a list, Word Press is the way to go. I have used others in the past, but WP is the best.

    Allen

  • Netvantage Marketing, January 27, 2009

    I’ve been meddling with three wordpress sites for the past year, and perhaps this will finally lead me to just suck it up and develop my own…this might get interesting.

    Thanks for putting this together.

  • Cajen Tutorials, February 2, 2009

    Thanks for these resources. Excellent list. Been meaning to make my own WordPress theme for the longest time. Thanks so much!

  • James, February 21, 2009

    I was about to go looking for a control panel tutorial – thanks man ;)

  • Art Webb, April 9, 2009

    Great list!

  • free4vectors, May 7, 2009

    Hi
    It is Awosme .
    I find a php training institutes.

  • Shelly, June 1, 2009

    Wow! This is the second time today I’ve found myself on a list – I’m all blushing and stuff – thanks for including me. (And now I’m *so* glad I included that redirect for my tutorial too – since I’m taking down the “Aneko Studios” site here in a few months!) I’m so glad it’s been helpful to others – and thanks again for including my tut :)

    Excellent other tutorials as well – some of these I haven’t seen yet, so I’ll be taking a look at those too :)

  • Website Design Services, July 6, 2009

    Very useful article! I have been thinking of expanding my web design and development services to WordPress as well. I can design for WordPress, but I want to code for it as well. I will have to come back to this soon.

  • Wow. Those are great pages. Detailed explanations for specific parts of the theme development process. As I look at these, I remember how glad I am to live in the internet age, when so much great information is so easily accessible.

    You guys do great “top this” and “best that” articles. Keep up the good work. Erick

  • neel, August 14, 2009

    Nice list for wordpress themes creation.

  • Wordpress Themes, September 24, 2009

    Thanks for sharing, i was looking for something similar to this.

  • D2UA, December 6, 2009

    huge resources what i have to find about lovely wordpress theme. Thanks!!

  • penile papules, January 30, 2011

    Fantastic post! I definitely read everything bit of this post. I can do graphics on photoshop, but never really attempted to do any template designing. I’ll definitely try to crank out a few of my own custom ones. Thanks for the share! Stumbled & Tweeted!

  • wordpress skins, March 18, 2011

    Nice collections! I actually used one of the themes presented here before. Keep up the good work!.. All themes are with good quality and unique features

  • Carlo C, February 24, 2012

    I am creating wordpress theme from bootstrap css framework… and I find this very helpful..

  • Balka, July 12, 2013

    Awesome tutorials mate, thank you !