I've been asked to make some fairly significant changes to our web site, but the site will overall have the same feel. I'm wondering if I should modify the current customized Genesis child theme, or if I should create a new child them. Any thoughts?

2 Answers 2


I do agree with Aaron's thoughts on "It all depends on the amount of changes required".

Still. I would use a slightly different work-flow. Meaning:

  1. Keep my original child theme (old-child) intact.
  2. Create a new folder and copy the whole old-child content in it making an exact replica. Do NOT refresh your themes screen just yet (thinking: Let me see what happened) or you may be faced with the issue: "I did this and noticed it ended up being the active theme, which I thought was strange. ".
  3. Turn this to a new child (new-child) theme by altering the headers in the style.css file accordingly (just a couple of lines anyway "Theme Name", "Version"). Now it is safe to refresh and take a look to your brand new Child Theme.
  4. Play around to your hearts desire. :)

This way you get both worlds: You get to have a brand new child theme and get to keep all the useful modifications you have already so hard worked for. And the best deal? You can try it out without loosing a single visitor when combined with a plugin like Theme Test Drive or even try them out from your Appearance->Themes screen.

You can even have 2 or 3 or 5 child themes with minor modifications.

Hope that helps, marikamitsos

  • Thanks for the replies. This is exactly what I've started to do (marikamitsos' idea). I copied the theme and renamed the version. Is the style.css file the only file that needs to be edited to reflect the new child theme?
    – linnse
    Jul 6, 2012 at 11:43
  • "Is the style.css file the only file..." Yes. That is all. Just give it a new name on the Theme Name: MyNewTheme or My New Theme or whatever and you are good to go. I usually also fill out the version # as well and put an extra note on the Description to help me out Jul 6, 2012 at 12:01
  • Thanks. I did this and noticed it ended up being the active theme, which I thought was strange.
    – linnse
    Jul 6, 2012 at 15:47
  • Aha.... You refreshed too early. :( Please see the added clarification. Jul 6, 2012 at 17:06

It all depends on the amount of changes required, as well as whether or not you plan on keeping the theme you'll be editing 'up-to-date' with the theme author's releases. If, however, its a custom built theme, then I'd stick with the child theme you're in.

Generally it'll be quicker and easier to modify the theme you're in then create a child theme of a child theme and try to have changes passed back or run the risk of completely overwriting files like header.php.

  • Aaron, I'm sort of doing this already. I copied the entire child theme and activated it, but wasn't sure where I need to make edits within this theme to differentiate it from the other theme. In the discussion just below this one, it appears the style.css is the only file that needs to be edited.
    – linnse
    Jul 6, 2012 at 11:45

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