Make theme modifications with a Child Theme

If you plan to customize your theme, WordPress and Styled Themes recommends you use the Child Theme method instead of directly modifying the actual theme files. If you update a theme and you made modifications, guess what will happen? Your modifications will be totally lost and you will have to do it all over again. However, if you make your modifications using a Child Theme, then your changes will not be affected whenever you update the original theme (often called the Parent Theme).

When to Use a Child Theme?

  • When there is the possibility you will be making theme file modifications whether now or future
  • When you need to make a colour change to any element that is not part of the customizer or theme option settings
  • When you want to change a font
  • When you want to change part of the layout
  • When you want to add something of your own
  • ….basically any changes you want to make to the official theme you downloaded

As WordPress states, a Child Theme is a Theme that inherits the functionality of the Luminescence Theme also know as the parent Theme, and allows you to modify, or add to, the functionality of parent theme. But for a different view of what a Parent/Child theme does:

Basically these are two separate themes, but how it works that the child theme connects to the styles and functions of the parent theme and duplicates the parent theme. Because these are separate themes, when you update the parent theme, the child theme will adopt the new changes, but whatever was changed with the child theme, these won’t get overwritten because again, it’s a separate theme (separate files). Still a bit confusing but it’s why WordPress recommends any core changes to the theme is best done with the child one.

Another Method

There is one other method that you can use to make modifications to your theme. Jetpack includes a great CSS editor that generates a custom css file and allows you to make css “only” changes to your theme. This means that you technically do not need a child theme installed if you only plan to change the stylesheet. So if you have Jetpack installed, under the Appearance menu in the dashboard, you will find Edit CSS.

Getting Started

This video will get you started by installing the child theme for Luminescence. The child theme is now included with the theme and can be found in the folder that you unzipped the file to your computer.