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WordPress Course: Creating Custom Themes

Published by Chris Coyier

Good news today for everyone interested in learning more about WordPress! I have a new training course available on WordPress 3.0: Creating and Editing Custom Themes.

This is the most comprehensive training I have ever created, so if you are looking for a serious course to get you going with designing for WordPress, this is it. It is a 4.5 hour course that goes from the initial project idea and deciding upon WordPress, to designing from a blank Photoshop canvas, to HTML and CSS, to turning all that into a fully fleshed out WordPress theme (including blog, static pages, and a store using a variety of CMS concepts), to extending that theme through plugins and JavaScript.

There are a number of videos from the course that you can watch for free, but the complete course with all the juicy stuff is only available to subscribers. subscriptions start at $25/month and that gets you access to literally every one of their crazy enormous library of training videos. So if you are sorta-kinda interested in this, do note you get access to loads of other learnin' and you can cancel at any time. For $37.50/month, you get access to all the course files for all those courses too (which this course has). Discounts if you sign up for a year.

Go forth, and get your CMS on.


  1. Renee
    Permalink to comment#

    Awesome! I was hoping this would happen. You rock!

  2. Permalink to comment#

    I think it’s great that you created this course! it must have been hard work, so congratulations!
    I would have preferred to see this as a Sitepoint live course, though. that would have been awesome for me.

  3. Brett
    Permalink to comment#


  4. Jay
    Permalink to comment#

    Already watching it! It’s weird to see your face when you’re talking at the beginning :)

  5. Permalink to comment#

    This could def. get me to sign up at Lynda!

    To take this “course” is a monthly 25$ subscription enough, to take this complete course, with nothing missing or any other expenses?

    • The $25 subscription will get you access to watch the entire course. The course does have files that come with it though, the absolutely necessary ones are available for free from the course page, but you get the complete set with the $37.50 subscription.

  6. Permalink to comment#

    About time is all I can say!

    I have been using for a while now, and I always have to use many different videos to create one complete web design project. This has come at a good time, as I am going to be redoing my blog site, and I wanted to incorporate a lot of the new styles, and techniques used today. Now you have put together everything I could imagine I need all in one course! I will definitely be checking this one out!

    P.S. I hope this is the beginning of many videos to come from you tailored towards designers/programmers want to use the latest technology out there.

  7. Permalink to comment#

    @ Chris Coyier

    What else do i get for paying 37.50 in stead of 25$ ?

    Convince me! :D Im this close to paying for this course! Love it!

    • Well you not only get the complete course files for this course, but for all the courses across the entire library. I don’t want to push you into doing anything =). You have the facts, sign up for what will work best for you.

    • Permalink to comment#

      getting the full subscription is a must not only can you follow along with Chris but all the training and they add new stuff all the time

  8. Permalink to comment#

    Great news! Lynda is a great resource, though many courses are a bit out of date. Looking forward to watching and picking up a bit more of the Chris-mojo.

  9. Great news! Congrats Chris! I have learned so much throughout the years from Learning Lynda, this is definitely a course I look forward to.

  10. Martin
    Permalink to comment#

    Hi Chris!
    You certainly come a long way :)
    I started visiting your website since you published “What Beautiful HTML Code Looks Like” over two years ago.

    I’ve learned so much from your website. Keep up the good work XD

  11. Joe O
    Permalink to comment#

    It’s about time they had a course like this!
    Unfortunately their site is down now!!!

    • Joe O
      Permalink to comment#

      getting a runtime error in Firefox.. loads fine in Safari.

  12. Roman Serebryakov
    Permalink to comment#

    Well, this is awesome in some way, but to say the truth, the way you get the course sucks…

    I don’t know about other people or web companies but $37 a month (even $25) is a lot of money to spend, especially if the company doesn’t provide it. Paying it out of pocket is just another expense and bill to pay (for courses that are not up to date in most cases).

    I have been following css-tricks almost every day because the guy has a great amount of useful info, and his “tricks” are very efficient. Our company specializes in designing sites and putting them to the WordPress, this course seems to be like a great opportunity for me (designer) learn the more advanced stuff and I WANT to know it!

    The problem I am having is to have to pay monthly fee fort stuff I do not need or do not want, this course is the only thing I want to learn from at this moment, is there any way to get the course separately by paying N amount of dollars, getting all videos, files etc?

    if not, i will prolly pass, i am not a fan of Lynda, most of the stuff I learned was on my own through books or sigle courses like this to help out with particular topics I am interested in

    • Joe O
      Permalink to comment#

      I’ve been a subscriber for years. It’s well worth it. I’m not sure if it’s still the case but a lot of their courses were available in CD/DVD format. This was usually a minimum of $99. But gives you course you want without the subscriber fees.

      They should still offer a free trial period.

      If you know someone who has a membership they go give free month gifts to subscribers.

    • Roman Serebryakov
      Permalink to comment#

      thanks for the comment, i will look into it. Also, did someone say that you can cancel membership once you sign up and get the tutorial you want ? That might be a good option, I guess

  13. Permalink to comment#

    Nice, but i really dont like the design~ but will try to subscription since u say can cancel at anytime.

  14. Permalink to comment#

    NICE!!! I am one of the fortunate ones whose employer maintains a subscription for their designer. I will definitely be checking this one out.

  15. Permalink to comment#

    Way to go Chris! I remember your first post, and have been following you all along!
    Thanks for your hard work and helping us amateurs get to the next level! cheers!

  16. Glorious days! I’ve been waiting on Lynda to cover this subject.

  17. Andy
    Permalink to comment#

    You can just sign up for one month and watch the courses you need at the moment during that time. I did this when I needed to learn indesign and I signed up, I sent myself a gift subscription (so it does not automatically renew and charge me more money), and I got one month for $25. It’s a pretty good deal this way, seeing as books about the subjects cost a lot more (if it’s not a reference book and you are just planning to read through the book once or so).

    I may want to get another month now for this course :D

  18. Permalink to comment#

    Congrats on this Chris! Great to see you doing stuff for! You’ve always had a great teaching style and I’m sure this will be a very popular course. It looks great!

    All the best

  19. Super Duper Congrats Chris!! Just what the subscribers like myself have been searching for. Can’t wait to start watching and developing more in WordPress.

  20. Slavisa Petrovic
    Permalink to comment#

    Well done Chris. I hope You’ll find some time to make one for creating plugins.

  21. I will pay $25 to someone who will want to share their Lynda account, or give their gift card so I can watch this course ))

    • $25 is the exactly amount you will pay to sign up for your own account, watch the course, and then cancel. So no really particular reason to break their Terms of Service.

    • sounds good, thanks. look forward to learning from you

    • Shameless… you might as well just buy the course then cancel after a month. It’s $25 for specialized knowledge that would cost you a lot more to learn and discover on your own.

  22. jamie
    Permalink to comment#

    Chris, I have been searching the web for a long time to find a good tutorial on how to build a wordpress plugin. I have been able to make a form, put it into the admin area and that is it. I know that you can use “Hooks” to grab the_content() and put your stuff in that way, but what if you want to add stuff to the homepage outside of the wordpress loop? What I am saying is what is missing on the web is a truly BEGINNER wordpress plugin tutorial. Something that is not using enormous amounts of php/mysql to make databases and all that. But a nice simple form in the admin area, and the ability to add the content to the homepage based off the input in that form.

  23. Kurt
    Permalink to comment#


    I already purchased your book. Does this course provide more than the book, or is it a rehash of the information that I’ve already read?

    • The book doesn’t cover a step-by-step theme building, so this is entirely new and different material.

    • fs_tigre
      Permalink to comment#

      This is true and to be honest that was one thing I really wanted in the book, a step by step theme creation.

  24. Aaron
    Permalink to comment#

    Would love it if you covered some more advanced topics, custom posts, multiple uploads, meta boxes, etc.

  25. I’ve always never thought i’d sign up to lynda, but this has made it worth it :)

  26. Permalink to comment#

    You got me once again ;)

  27. Permalink to comment#

    Awesome :) Just wondering if it’s for beginners or advanced WordPress developers?

    Anyway, Lynda is down at the moment, you gave them too much traffic :)

  28. I’ve enjoyed watching the evolution of this site, very inspirational, and I’m a HUGE fan of I’ll be re-subscribing (took a break) now that this and other new content is available.

  29. Janek
    Permalink to comment#

    Lynda is not for me. First you say $25, next 37,50. If after six weeks I want to review some parts again I’ll have to pay another 37,50. This is way too expensive.

  30. Sweetness! I love This will be awesome!

  31. I’ve been on the fence about whether to shell out the money for, but you may have just pushed me over the top!

  32. Permalink to comment#

    Hi Chris,

    Is this any different to your Digging into WordPress Book? Currently reading up on that, so wondering if I should go on standby and do your Lynda course instead…

  33. Thanks, I’m going to have to check this out! I love wordpress and always looking for ways to customize it for different sites.

  34. Nadeem Khedr
    Permalink to comment#

    really one of the best hands on training that i have seen , the best thing you involved the design phase and how to think in the training, and the site is somehow complicated , and you were fast , the most thing i hate is how slow things gets when someone explain every little action they make and you will feel that you wanna sleep, so great job

  35. John Tanedo
    Permalink to comment#

    Alright! this is it! Ill be signing up for this course as soon as I get my next paycheck. . . congrats master Chris!

  36. James Mooney
    Permalink to comment#

    So good that I signed up for Lynda. The one comment I would say is that it’s a pity the example uses HTML5 as I’m nervous about it being ready for use yet, and I don’t want to have to learn it as well as learning to theme WordPress at the same time. Having said that its the best training tutorial I’ve come across yet.

    • James Mooney
      Permalink to comment#

      Scrap what I said about HTML5. It looks like the default twentyten theme uses HTML5 so I’d better get used to it!

  37. Natalie
    Permalink to comment#

    This is awesome news! I love my subscription even more now. Way to go Chris, congratulations on this too.

  38. I have learned A LOT from I am so excited to check out your course! Thanks for all your hard work.

  39. Permalink to comment#

    awesome! I also wish there was a stand-alone option, but oh well. Thanks!

  40. John B
    Permalink to comment#

    I think is a total bargain at only $25/month. I usually sign up once every couple years, watch videos for 4 weeks until my brain explodes, and then cancel. FYI, I don’t know if they still do this, but I’ve seen them give away free 1 day trial passes.

  41. Excellent and congratulations, and really like video courses/tutorials, we don’t have a subscription but definitely will investigate. Enjoyed the free viewing snippets. LT

  42. Permalink to comment#

    I was considering activating my subscription anyway, this just made my decision easier. Hope you got your commission from them by me doing that through the link on this page to their site.

  43. Permalink to comment#

    Hi Chris, went through the entire course. Excellent course well done. It’s funny when you’re trying so hard no to make jokes!

  44. Thanks for doing this Chris! This is great news!

  45. Richard
    Permalink to comment#


    Thanks for all that you do to for the new and established web designers.
    Your making a difference good buddy!!!

    Have a great weekend,

  46. Permalink to comment#

    I have been a subscriber for years now. I have watched literally hundreds of tutorials on that site. Your new training on creating themes is the best I have seen so far. For my skill level, this was by far and away THE series that I got the most out of. Additionally, I must admit, that I have been subscribing to your feed for about a year, and I didn’t realize how well you know php. I always thought of you as the CSS expert, but this tutorial changed my mind about that. You are a great designer and developer.
    Absolutely outstanding job!! And thank you for the information.

  47. Permalink to comment#

    Congratz Chris! :)

  48. Permalink to comment#

    I know the next lynda video series I’m watching. Can’t wait to learn more about WordPress!

  49. Some people are tight $25 for a months subs to their entire library is nothing you can expect to get everything for free roman. As for their content much of it is bang up to date they launch new titles every week. Like Chris said just sign up watch the course and then cancel.

    • you are mostly wrong there because there are tons of free tutorials and material to learn from without the need to pay money, all you need is time to research and find couple of good sources. Just like with basic HTML and CSS I learned by going through CSS Zen garden and reading css and coming back to reference websites for definitios of some rules… There are thousands of tutorials for free from people who are investing their time to share with other designer or developers, but there is still a need for couple of good ones once in a while you have to pay for.

      Fo example, you can buy a CSS Zen garden book with most famous designs but you would not be able to learn from it because it doesn’t show everything designers did in CSS, so what are you paying for? the pictures? you can go on their website for free and see the same information

      So no, I don’t agree with you

    • Craiger
      Permalink to comment#

      Roman…. it’s simple; don’t subscribe to Lynda and go do what works for you. But please stop spewing your negativity in this thread. Thank you

  50. Permalink to comment#

    Great tutorial,Thanks a lot.

  51. Permalink to comment#

    I am watching this course right now. I had to comment!
    Guys, go and get this course. Chris is a natural teacher and the details he explains are simply awesome. For example: This is not a photoshop course but I am learning a lot of cute tricks about making life easier while using photoshop.
    Chris. I hope you make more courses like this. Maybe about WordPress plugins!
    I was a drupal guy for some time. I am coming back to WordPress. WordPress 3 is just amazing. Who needs the complexity of drupal when you can do the same stuff in WordPress!

  52. fs_tigre
    Permalink to comment#

    I’m currently watching it and I agree this is a good tutorial!

  53. Permalink to comment#

    I wish there was a standalone option

  54. Paul
    Permalink to comment#

    Hello Mr. Coyier,

    thank you for this great tutorial. Unfortunately you did not show the whole “Auto-Playing Featured Content Slider” thing in the “Will this work with WordPress?” lesson.
    When and where do you show us the whole “trick”?

  55. Permalink to comment#

    Best course ever

  56. Permalink to comment#

    @CyberFox a new course just came out a few days ago about plugins for wordpress. Check it out.

    • Permalink to comment#

      I know, @Adi . . but nobody teaches as well as Chris! He teaches from his own personal experience as a successful web designer. The only problem for Chris now is that he has told us all his secrets. So watch out for more competition in getting web design jobs, Chris!

  57. Darren
    Permalink to comment#

    Already taken it! I was so wrapped when I saw your name come up at the start of the course! It’s awesome having web icons such as yourself taking such an interest in our development.

    Cheers Chris!

  58. Eric
    Permalink to comment#

    On the Lydia page it says that a DVD version is coming soon. The preview videos of this course look amazing.

  59. Permalink to comment#

    hey all,
    I have a link to 24hr lynda pass on my blog. I think once you see how much info is on you might sign up. Just keep me in mind if ya do ;)

    shameless pluggin’


  60. Anthony
    Permalink to comment#

    +1 to cyberfox’s comment. Watching now. It’s fantastic and has inspired me to start another wordpress project. And I cannot believe the Roman character crying about having to pay. You can’t always expect everyone to give their valuable time away for free. They have to eat too. This course ALONE is worth signing up for. Like others have said, there is a TON of other information on as well. Great job Chris, thanks for this!

  61. Wacheke
    Permalink to comment#

    Great Course.

  62. Dominic
    Permalink to comment#

    Awesome news, i always wanted to make my own WordPress Themes :D

  63. Permalink to comment#

    Congratulations Chris! I’m new to WordPress and I believe this could help me learn a lot of things!

    Again many thanks

  64. Permalink to comment#

    Congratulations! I found your screencasts really helpful when I set up my custom themed WordPress site. It was really the best info out there I could find on the process.

  65. edistizu
    Permalink to comment#

    I have watched the tutorial and i recommend it to everybody who wants to learn how to go through the whole cycle: psd->html css jquery->wordpress.
    It’s really helpfull, and very precise.Very satisfied, worth the money i paid.

    Great job Chris.

  66. Permalink to comment#

    Good screencasts
    good for beginning creating themes :-)

  67. Permalink to comment#

    Chris, do rock! I just watched the intro…the only thing missing is the edgy CSS-Tricks guitar intro..Next Lynda installment! WuFoo, CSS-Tricks,; you not telling us something…like you have stumbled on this ancient Atlantean json code which allows you to replicate yourself! Congrats buddy – Joe

  68. Amazing!! Conragratulations Chris!!!

  69. Oimy
    Permalink to comment#

    started watching the course – It’s great!
    and the timing couldn’t have been better for me, as I was about to begin coding my first WordPress Theme, so I put it on hold until I finish watching this course so I know I’ll get it right.

    Big fan, Chris. Thank You

  70. Permalink to comment#

    Nice Bro,Congrats..

  71. Colby
    Permalink to comment#

    Thanks so much! This was the one skill that was hindering my progress as a designer and developer. I don’t know how I would have learned it without you!

  72. I just spent the day watching the tutorial (joined Lynda just to see it). Pausing, taking notes, re-playing bits. There’s nothing like learning by watching the process from start to finish. So many mysteries were cleared up for me. I still have miles to go, but I now I feel like I’ll be better able to understand future tutorials and WP books because this has given me a foundation.

    After months of floundering, I think I’m on my way to actually “getting” WordPress. Thank you, Chris!

  73. Permalink to comment#

    would love to watch this… can’t afford it though =\ maybe include it as an upgrade to your digwp subscribers?? LOL great job as always chris!! thanks!

  74. Marco
    Permalink to comment#

    Hmmmm…. I don’t know if I should plunge to it. Chris, how about send it for free and I buy you a beer in Costa Rica??lol

  75. Permalink to comment#

    I’ve been a subscriber to for several years. I’ve learned so much and just completed your awesome course! Now everything makes so much more sense to me and I’m not afraid to jump right in and convert a design to html, css then wordpress. The recent integration of WP with Dreamweaver CS5 is so helpful as well.
    Thanks for a great job!

  76. thnx it was very useful for me
    thnx every guy

  77. Permalink to comment#

    This course is INCREDIBLE!! Thank you so much!

  78. Permalink to comment#

    You just made my WORLD!!!! Thanks Chris, you’re awesome!

  79. david
    Permalink to comment#

    Chris. Do you code from scratch here on this course or just copy paste?
    Do you cover how to create custom fields inside of the post. what i mean here is instead of typing the value of the custom field you can have a drop down menu from where you can choose.? i know there is pleny of pluggings out there! how ever i’m the type of guy that likes learning how the things are done “by hand” then in case i need to i know how to doit.
    tks in advance!

  80. Permalink to comment#

    I started tinkering with WP about three years ago when I found I was a member for two solid years. Best money I ever spent because I learned so fast I had time to do the stuff I do to make money instead of struggling with how to make something work in WP. Whenever I had a few moments or ran into a question, I could find the answer, watch a few videos and get on with it. I watched titles on HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL, etc. When I started I didn’t even know they all existed. As I learned one thing, I realized I needed to learn more about another subject.

    Now I sign up and pay month to month. I only have about 3 months out of the year to work on my website because it has gotten me so much work. What is your time worth anyways? You can spend $25 on dinner and not learn a thing.

    Chris, I am shocked at how much info you squeezed into this title. You and have been my main computer teachers and to have you both combined is just magic. Thank you.

  81. Biscutty
    Permalink to comment#

    Great course!

    A criticism though – building the Navigation Menu using the new WordPress Menu, the styling of the menu is missing the nice little pop-out tags on the left of the menu. These require the tags as hooks for the css, but wordpress does not output these automatically.

    Is there a way of customising this output using the functions.php file?


  82. Permalink to comment#

    Tryin to convince my boss to get these lessons. Chris thanx a bunch.

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