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Making a WordPress Child Theme is one of the most fundamental steps to customizing your WordPress site. The reason for this is that once you’ve made a child theme if you mess it up it won’t effect the frame work/parent theme, or if the parent theme gets updated all of those modifications won’t be erased.

Find A Theme

Finding a theme or frame work to build on top of is easy WordPress has thousands of free theme (see them here) and even includes some pretty sweet ones in the basic installation. You can see these in your WordPress Dashboard under Appearance > Themes. If you’re looking for more of a challenge then you may want to try building your own theme off of a frame work like Genesis.

Building A Child Theme

Once you’ve chosen your theme you’re going to install it, which you can do through Appearance > Themes > Add New or upload (FTP) it to your¬† host.

Next you’re going to create a folder and name it whatever you’d like:


and create a css file called [su_highlight]style.css[/su_highlight] you can create this in notepad or TextEdit.


Inside the CSS file you’re going to want to add this code.

Theme Name: My Twenty Fourteen
Theme URI:
Description: This is a Child theme of Twenty Fourteen
Author: Gregory Pearcey
Author URI:
Version: 1.0
Template: twentyfourteen

@import url(“../twentyfourteen/style.css”);

Parts that you will want to change:

  1. Theme Name: [su_highlight]My Twenty Fourteen[/su_highlight] change this to whatever you want to call your child theme
  2. Template: [su_highlight]twentyfourteen[/su_highlight] change this to what your parent theme is called.
  3. @import url(“../[su_highlight]twentyfourteen[/su_highlight]/style.css”);¬†change this to folder name of the parent theme.

Upload Your Theme

Customize it as you see fit. Now you’re going to want to upload it to your themes folder. I usually use FireFTP.

You’re going to want to add it to public_html > wp-content > themes or you can zip your custom theme folder go to your site Appearance > Themes > Add New > Upload > Browse find your theme and click install now. Note that you must zip your theme before you can upload it this way.

upload theme

Once you’ve installed your theme go back to Appearance > Themes find your child theme and activate it. Note there wont be a thumbnail image for your theme.

activate theme