Parent Child Themes

July 3rd, 2008

I didn’t know these existed, but apparently you can assign a child theme to a parent theme. A child theme inherits all the template files of the parent theme except for the style.css file and functions.php, which take precedence over the original. Ian Stewart of published a post ( Functions.php WordPress Child Themes ) which goes into detail on how to redesign your blog the smart way basing the work off of a theme framework.

I’m still not sure about the usage of parent-child themes so any help you guys/gals could give me would be appreciated.




  1. Claude Gelinas (19 comments.) says:

    Thanks for pointing out this fine demonstration of how to achieve the parent-child theming which allows, among other things, to do more advanced customizing in the menu zone.

  2. luna (1 comments.) says:

    From what I read in the article and related articles it is best used for CSS and PHP changes to a theme so that if/when you upgrade the theme you don’t have to redo the changes you may have customized.

  3. anonimo italiano (1 comments.) says:

    The inheritance is achieved by adding the “Template:” line in the css.
    rtfm @ ;)

  4. Snat (2 comments.) says:

    You are not the only one that didn’t know it existed but I agree with what Luna but other then that, I don’t really see a point.

  5. Kristin K. Wangen (4 comments.) says:

    Actually all designs you can download for the Sandbox theme is child themes of Sandbox.

  6. Hafiz Rahman (1 comments.) says:

    The way I know it, child theme uses all its parent’s PHP theme files (thus its functionalities), while it only provides the CSS and images. If you take a look inside a child theme folder, you will only see a style.css file (plus optional images), without all the usual php stuff.

    So like what Kristin above explains, all the designs for Sandbox theme are child themes of Sandbox: they use all of Sandbox’s functionalities, only providing different look.

  7. Monika (40 comments.) says:

    The templates of a child theme needs to much html for me. Zen garden ist beautiful, but this is nothing for css beginners ;)
    And all designs at Zen garden are Child Themes.

    Most of this themes – Sandbox too- are really *div layouts* ;)
    more div container than content ;)


  8. Otto (215 comments.) says:

    Definitely check out the Sandbox theme and all the assorted sub-themes. They’ve been using this parent-child scheme for quite a while. You install the sandbox theme first, and then any of the themed-sandboxes. Most of the subthemes are just CSS.

  9. thomas (1 comments.) says:

    going to have to seriously look into this. Very interesting, Thank You for the info.

  10. ChaosKaizer (62 comments.) says:

    one caveat: You cannot create “page template” with child theme scheme, WP only looks for template files inside parent directory.


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