How to Create a WordPress Theme

I had heard that the template that I am currently using, MistyLook by Sadish Bala, is very popular. however, I had never run into it elsewhere… well, there’s always a first time! I ran into it while researching de.lic.ious WordPress plug-ins on The Partition. Thanks for the inspiration to create my own! I knew I had to do it eventually, but I guess now is the time!

While I like the look of MistyLook very much, I am a firm believer in personal, business & web site branding. In order to create a name for my self, I also have to create an image. When you come here, I don’t want you to be confused where you are! I was the first moment I saw MistyLook on the Partition. It felt kind of eerie…

Step One: The Plan

Before I actually create the theme, which I’m going to walk you through with me step-by-step, I have to plan what I need and want to include. After trying several themes myself, browsing many more, and experiencing those of others I should have a sense of what pieces I might like to include in my theme. I’m talking conceptually here, not literally using someone else’s theme. The best themes out there are done by professional designers. Don’t steal them! That’s how they make their living! Especially custom graphics & images.

If you have not experimented with different templates, or browsed the online theme gallery at, go do so now. While you are there at the Codex, let me point out the bible for creating new themes, the Blog Design & Layout page. Start working your way through the material there. It will help you with the understanding for making everything from minor tweaks in a standard template design, to reworking how the whole page is laid out.

While I could make modifications to the original files, what I plan to do is to develop a true separate theme that could easily be contributed to the community or just shared with a friend. But, it will begin life as my personal unique design.

Let’s start with a To Do List:

  • Select a page layout (1-, 2-, or 3-column?)
  • Color scheme (there should be an overall consistent use of color in the design)
  • Header & footer (content & design)
  • Multiple column contents (if more than one, what’s in them?)
  • Post structure & design (how is the post heading, content, metadata, tags etc. organized & displayed)
  • Archive page layout
  • Category page layout
  • Tag page layout

That should get us started thinking. As I go along, I may add specific areas that are needed, or expand on the one’s listed. We’ll take it one step at a time.