3. WordPress Theme Development

Code your own WordPress theme and style it with Sass.

Class 3

WordPress Theme Development

What We'll Cover

Lots! The crux of the course will be digging into WordPress PHP and building a custom theme using the Underscores starter theme. We'll talk about the difference between the concepts of a "theme" and a "website," as well as how (and when) to customize the WordPress content structure.

We won't only be learning WordPress! Our themes will be styled using Sass, everyone's favorite CSS pre-processor, and we will be building our themes mobile-first, following best practices for creating speedy, performant sites on all devices.

The Project

Although you are free to work on an existing project, the curriculum is based on building a specific project from beginning to completion. The theme we build will be worthy of release on the WordPress Theme Repository, child theme-ready, and easy for others to install and use. I recommend building your theme with a specific use case in mind. For example, your theme could be intended for:

  • Farmer's market
  • Restaurants
  • Artist portfolios
  • Your aunt's knitting business
  • A simple blog
  • ...anything!


This is an intermediate level course, and the following pre-knowledge is required:

Front-end Development

  • Have used tags like <aside>, <section>, and <article>
  • Created layouts with CSS and/or have used a grid framework like Bootstrap’s
  • Used a jQuery plugin
  • Familiarity with fundamental programming concepts like variables and functions


  • Knowledge of the WordPress admin
    • Created posts and pages
    • Used widgets/sidebars
    • Created a static homepage
    • Installed a theme and plugin
    • Understand that themes and plugins can be terrible

If you have any questions about your qualifications for this class, please be in touch. Additionally, all of the knowledge necessary for this class is covered in the first two Tackle Box classes, Web Development Essentials and WordPress Fundamentals.

Your Instructor

Lara Schenck
Lara Schenck

Lara Schenck is a freelance front-end and WordPress developer and instructor currently in the Pittsburgh area. In addition to private tutoring and client work, Lara has taught web development courses at General Assembly, Noble Desktop, and Pratt Institute during her years in New York City, and is passionate about providing project-based, online resources for learning WordPress development. More at notlaura.com and @laras126.

Course Curriculum

  Themes vs. Websites
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  Content Types and the Template Hierarchy
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  Adding Layout with Flexbox Grid
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  Sidebars, Menus, and Styles
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  Custom Page Templates and Loops
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  Launching a Demo Site
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Frequently Asked Questions

When does the course start and finish?
The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course - you decide when you start and when you finish.
How long do I have access to the course?
How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like - across any and all devices you own.
What if I need help during the course?
Each Tackle Box class has it's own Slack channel where you can ask questions and receive real-time support from either myself or other Tackle Box students. Email me at [email protected] to request to join the Slack channel.

If you need help with a specific project or concept, you may want to check out my tutoring services. Active Tackle Box class members receive a special discount!