How to Create a Child Theme Manually

A child theme is a theme that inherits the functionality and styling of its parent theme. It allows you to make modifications to your WordPress website without directly editing the parent theme files. In this blog post, we will provide step-by-step instructions on how to manually create a child theme and we will also discuss why it is important.

Why Do You Need a Child Theme?

Using a child theme offers several benefits:

  1. Preserve Customizations: When you update your parent theme, any changes you made directly to its files will be lost. By using a child theme, you can safely update the parent theme while preserving your customizations.
  2. Easy Updates: With a child theme, you can update the parent theme without worrying about overwriting your modifications. This ensures that your website remains secure and up-to-date.
  3. Efficient Development: Child themes are particularly useful for developers who want to create custom designs or add new features. They provide a clean and organized way to work on your website’s appearance and functionality.

Creating a Child Theme Manually

To create a child theme manually, follow these steps:

Step 1: Create a New Folder:

Start by creating a new folder on your computer. Give it a name that reflects the child theme, such as “mytheme-child”.

Step 2: Create a Stylesheet:

Inside the child theme folder, create a new file called “style.css”. This file will contain the necessary information for WordPress to recognize it as a child theme.

Step 3: Add Stylesheet Header:

Open the “style.css” file and add the following code at the top:

Theme Name: My Theme Child
Template: mytheme

Replace “My Theme Child” with the name of your child theme and “mytheme” with the directory name of your parent theme.

Step 4: Create a functions.php file:

Inside the child theme folder, create a new file called “functions.php”.

Step 5: Enqueue the Parent Theme Stylesheet:

To ensure that your child theme inherits the styling of the parent theme, add the following code to the “functions.php” file of your child theme:

function wpnotch_enqueue_parent_theme_style() {
    wp_enqueue_style( 'parent-style', get_template_directory_uri() . '/style.css' );
add_action( 'wp_enqueue_scripts', 'wpnotch_enqueue_parent_theme_style' );

After adding this code, proceed to compress your theme folder into a zip file (ensure you compress the entire folder, not just the files within).

If you want to add a screenshot…

Additionally, if you wish to include a theme screenshot, design an image with dimensions 1200x900px and place it inside your child theme folder, naming it either “screenshot.png” or “screenshot.jpg.”

Step 6: Upload the Child Theme:

After successfully creating your child theme, proceed to upload it to your website. Log in to your WordPress dashboard, navigate to “Appearance” > “Themes,” and click on the “Add New Theme” and then click on the “Upload Theme” button. Then, simply upload the zip file we just created.

Step 7: Activate the Child Theme:

Now that you have uploaded your child theme, you need to activate it. Go to “Appearance” > “Themes”, and you should see your child theme listed. Simply click on the “Activate” button to activate it.

Editing a Template with a Child Theme

If you need to edit a specific template file, such as “single.php”, in your child theme, follow these steps:

Step 1: Locate the Template File:

Using an FTP client or file manager, navigate to the parent theme folder and find the template file you want to modify. In this case, it would be “single.php”.

Step 2: Copy the Template File:

Copy the “single.php” file and paste it into the corresponding location in your child theme folder.

Step 3: Edit the Template File:

Open the copied “single.php” file in a text editor and make the desired changes. Save the file once you are done.

By following these steps, you can customize specific template files without altering the original files in the parent theme. This ensures that your modifications remain intact even when you update the parent theme.


Creating a child theme manually is a straightforward process that allows you to make customizations to your WordPress website without the risk of losing your changes when updating the parent theme. Whether you are a developer or a website owner, using a child theme is a best practice that ensures the integrity and flexibility of your WordPress site.

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