You Can Now Create Your Own Block Theme Within WordPress

WordPress Full Site Editing (FSE) allows us to edit various aspects of a website without the need for code. He put parts of a theme that were previously hidden within the framework of the non-designers. And it may have made a professional web job a little easier in the process.

But that’s just scratching the surface of FSE’s potential. More advanced capabilities are being developed. Among them is the ability to create an entire block theme within WordPress.

Let’s think about that for a moment. Historically, there have been two main methods of applying themes. The first is to build your own from the ground up using PHP, HTML, JavaScript, and CSS. The other involves downloading a third-party theme and modifying it to your liking.

Thanks to the Create Block Theme plugin, there is now a third method: creating a block theme entirely within WordPress. From there, you can export your creation for use elsewhere.

It sounds revolutionary in how we build websites with WordPress. How does it work? Today, we’ll take a quick look at Create Block Theme and show you what it can do.

What the Create Theme Block Plugin Does

The release of the Create Theme Block plugin comes at a time when FSE is still a new technology. Developed by members of the official WordPress Themes team, it may find its way into the core software someday.

At first glance, it’s a no-frills piece of software – but that’s by design. The plugin does not add any radical new functionality to the site editor. Rather, it provides a way to export the work you’ve already done. And there are a few other goodies as well.

When you download Create Block Theme and activate it on your website (it is also recommended that you run the latest version of the Gutenberg plugin), you will see a new menu item located at Appearance > Create Block Theme.

This screen provides you with the following options:

Active Theme Export
If you are already using a block theme, for example Twenty Twenty Two, and you have made changes in the site editor, you can export the custom version of the theme. This might come in handy if you want to create a custom starting point for other projects that use the theme.

Create a Child with an Active Theme
In the past, child themes were recommended to ensure that customizations are not overwritten when you download updates to your theme. As it relates to blocking themes, a child can be a way to distribute specific versions of the parent. For example, one could include a typographic or other color scheme.

Active Theme clone
This option copies your active theme and includes any changes you made to it in the site editor using a new name. Since it’s a separate copy, this allows you to work on the new theme without accidentally damaging the original theme.

Active Theme Overwrite
If you have made changes to the active theme and want to overwrite its default settings, this option allows you to do so.

Building a Custom WordPress Block Theme

The process of building a custom block WordPress theme involves making any desired changes through the site editor (Appearance > Editor). Change your theme’s header, footer, content areas, and whatever your heart desires.

But before you can do that, it’s important to choose the right blog theme. For example, you could go with a bit of a blank canvas like Blockbase. This allows you to start from scratch and create a completely custom look. It also means you don’t have to delete any existing theme elements you don’t want.

If you prefer something more streamlined and thorough, there are many block themes available that can provide a great starting point. You will have an established layout and can make any necessary changes to suit your needs.

Regardless of how you start, Create a Block Theme will allow you to export your theme for use on another WordPress installation.

Customize the Blockbase theme with the WordPress site editor.

Exporting Your Custom Block Theme

In this example, I’ve made some basic customizations on Blockbase. Now it’s time to export the theme and install it on another local WordPress website.

As previously mentioned, Create Block Theme provides several export options. I chose to create a child theme and give it a custom name. This means that I will need to have a copy of Blockbase installed on any other websites that I want to use my new child theme.

Export a child theme using Create Block Theme.

The export generates a ZIP file, which I can then import into my new site. On the new WordPress site, I will navigate to Appearance > Themesthen click on the “Add New” button.

Once upon a time Add Themes page, I can upload my new block theme by clicking the “Upload Theme” button and select the exported .ZIP file from my hard drive. Finally, I will activate the baby theme.

Import the generated .zip file into a new WordPress website.

The results look good. The changes I made survived the export process and seemed to work well on the new site. In theory, that would provide a solid start when working on future projects.

The custom block theme is a new destination.

Is This The Future Of WordPress Theme Construction?

The ability to create a block theme from within WordPress and then use it anywhere could be a game changer for your workflow. It can cut a lot of time spent dealing with code and creates a complete visual design experience.

Still, convenience may not mean much if the site editor doesn’t offer all the tools you need. It is quite simple to create different layouts and adjust colors, etc. But there will probably be situations where a code is needed.

It’s all about how you like to work. Some of us will happily stick to the processes we have in place – and that’s okay. Comfort and stability are important – especially when FSE and block themes are in their early stages.

However, the portability offered by Create Block Theme is looking forward to the future. And you will have the option to build WordPress block themes in this way attractive to many web designers. It’s a development worth keeping an eye on as it continues to evolve.

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