WPMU Recommends: Best Free WordPress Theme Generator

WPMU Recommends: Best Free WordPress Theme Generator

You can find thousands of different themes for WordPress, both free and paid. Some people still want to give a stab at creating their own, but don’t know how. If that sounds like you, then check out the best free WordPress theme generator I’ve found. It’s called “Lubith.”

Trying Lubith

To check out Lubith for yourself, visit lubith.com, sign up, and click the “Start Here” button to start the in-browser editor.

The Lubith interface

I found the Lubith theme editing window quite easy-to-use. All tools were responsive, without any sort of page refresh required. The editor consists of a toolbar on left and a default template on the right.

WordPress theme generator-Screenshot of Lubith tool panelsMaking changes

Changing the default template is easy as selecting an element on the right, then choosing appropriate tools on the left. Most changes take place interactively as you move sliders, select from lists, or change numbers. Lubith has the feel of a desktop application.

Theme generator-Screenshot of Lubith flexible color pickerWhat can you change?

One of the first things I noticed was the editor’s unique way of targeting menu, submenu, and menu items, which can then be easily edited like other elements. For almost all elements in the template, you can edit:

  • Almost any font and type settings.
  • Padding inside elements.
  • Color and backgrounds, using an excellent color picker.
  • Visibility of various elements such as post meta, post utilities, 2 different sidebars, and more.

Your finished theme

Theme generator-Screenshot of Lubith test and download buttonsLubith doesn’t have to reload to show changes in the editor because it’s really just a big web page. The editing tools simply target specific elements on the page–which look like common elements found in WordPress themes–and change their properties. Some might be concerned this wouldn’t translate well to an actual theme, but the editor provides a test function that builds your theme in its current state and displays it on an actual WordPress install.

Download and install

WordPress theme upload-Screenshot of WordPress upload screen for new themesOnce you’re happy with your edits, save them and hit download. Your zipped theme is then ready to install just as you would any other WordPress theme.

After the install

There’s nothing special to do after installing a Lubith-generated theme. You’ll probably need to edit a menu and specify it’s location, and check out which widgets you have showing up in one or both sidebars.

Editing your theme the traditional way

If you want to make changes to your theme directly in PHP and CSS, you can. The Lubith tutorials urge you to do this the proper way–by making a child theme based off your original. This way, if you make changes back in the Lubith editor and redownload, your local changes (in the child theme) will not be lost.

Room for improvement

Lubith really blew me away with its fantastic interface, comprehensive feature set, and attention to detail. When I like something this much, I can’t help but think about how it could be even better. Here’s my list of constructive criticisms.

Undo feature

There is no undo feature in the tool set, so it can be a bit more painful if you make a mistake.

Mobile option

Lubith-generated themes are not mobile-ready. In mobile theme tests, these themes scored about 25 out of 100 for “mobile-readiness.”

More complete styling

Despite all the elements in the editor, several were missing. I would like to set specific styles for all headings, H1–H6. Unordered and ordered lists–and their list items–cannot be targeted either. Blockquotes and probably a few other simple tags would round out styling ability nicely.

Optional full-width block

The addition of an optional full-width block, for placement either above or below the main area, would enhance layout options. An option to populate this block with 1 to 4 widgets would be fantastic.

WordPress custom headers

I think all WordPress theme customization options should be supported. The option under “Appearance” to change the header was noticeably absent.

Full support for featured images

When I saw that “Featured Image” was enabled in the post editor, I expected to see any attached featured images on pages, at least in archive and category listings. Alas, they were absent, so setting a feature image for a post was worthless.

Go forth new themers

My list of improvements might seem long, but don’t let it dissuade you. Lubith is worth spending some time with if you need to create a basic WordPress theme without many technical skills.