Free Videos about Mastering Views

How To: Drupal Theme Makeover

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* See the update at the bottom of this article for info about using Photoshop to edit Aquia Marina

Becoming a Drupal Themer is one thing, knowing how to simply adjust any Drupal Theme to fit your specific needs may be much easier than you think. All over the Internet, you can find a myriad of really good, cross-browser compatible themes.

Whether it's the free themes on, ThemeBot or a paid theme from Top Notch Themes, any theme can be adjusted to a degree that it becomes unique to your look and feel. If you need to theme custom parts of your website, such as Views you create and areas beyond what your chosen theme may provide, then outsourcing your theme development may be the route you need to take.

But, just before you reach for your pocket book, you may want to consider how many themes already have the structure you require. It's often the "look" you want to change. If it's only the colors, fonts and images, then it's much easier than you think.

If I told you I can customize almost any theme, within an hour, to look significantly different than the original, would you believe me?

If you don't then simply watch the video!

Short List of Drupal Theme Sites

* Denotes sites which simply relist some or all (and possibly include additional) themes (although often in a more attractive way) from and other places around the net.

Short List of (what I consider) Attractive Themes

[UPDATE] TopNotchThemes has provided the Photoshop PSD files for modifying the theme shown in this video. My techniques shown are generally helpful in many situations, however, if you just want to modify Acquia Marina then use a copy of Photoshop and the provided PSD files. MUCH EASIER! Thanks TopNotch!

I trying diligently to theme our charity's newsletter, but without success. Could you please consider doing a podcast on the subject.

I appreciate your current podcast which was very informative. Thanks.

hey Matt. Just for the record, does not relist themes from I created the site to build and host themes that looked beautiful but were not allowed on because of license conflicts.
With the exception of adt_webapplication, these themes are licensed Creative Commons 2.0. Most great-looking free templates are licensed CC but unfortunately, Drupal legislation does not allow these designs to be hosted on It is the rule that only GPL licensed stuff is hosted on d.o.

By the way, thanks for the great site. I recently watched both your multisite and your SVN video and used all the information for a bad-ass redesign of! Thx a great deal, also for the extra virtual host tricks.

Thanks for the clarification. I made an adjustment to the note about the fact that the site might include some, but not all, and include other themes not found on This is good to know as there are likely good themes tucked away in the nets.

I think it would be great if you make a video on How to make a drupal theme from scratch and one on how to make templates for views. I don't find any good documentation on these topics. The documentation on is very vague.

Great post!! I have themed Drupal sites before and was wanting to make a go of a Drupal site.

Hi Matt,

I'm relatively new to Drupal, so when I found out about your screencast I was so eager to try it out, because theming has been the largest stumbling block for this newbie.

I watched your screencast three times and still couldn't figure out why the changes I was making to my style.css file wasn't showing up when I reloaded the site in my browser. All of a sudden, a light went on.

You forgot to mention that after we duplicate the theme, and edit the .info file, that we should activate the theme in the Themes Administration area.

I know it is seems like small point, and a more advanced Drupaler would catch it, but for those of us who are starting out, it's enough of an omission that it could prove to be yet another barrier for those of us who really want to make the step to Drupal but can't quite figure out how to customize our themes.

All in all, it was an enjoyable screencast, and I look forward to future episodes.

This is what I like about this Screencast.
After you know the basic things about Drupal you don't like someone to remind you every time how to enable a module or that you need to enable a new theme.

I found your podcast yesterday and I watched almost 50% of your videos. Great work.
I was addicted to wordpress, I recently discovered the power of Drupal. But I have some problems with the themeing part.

I think it would be great if you make a video on How to make a drupal theme from scratch and one on how to make templates for views. I don't find any good documentation on these topics. The documentation on is very vague.

Hi Matt.

Thanks for your efforts.

Working with Drupal, I'm picking up theming, (as in functions and templates for content layout), OK.

Themes, (as in manipulation of images and matching them on the page), is an area I need to master.

I already understood about copying the files, changing the them name in various places and logical things like that. I also understood basic CSS etc.

The areas covered in this video that I didn't already understand were Hue/Saturation, use of grey scale, why RGB is not good etc.

Unfortunately I didn't find the words in this video helped me understand what you were doing and why. I don't want to know the detail of using particular tools, but would have found it more useful to know reasons for selecting the various tickbox options or using HS instead of RGB etc. If I understood, I could then apply the techniques elsewhere. Perhaps I'm being dense :)

Hope honest feedback is helpful to you?

I have watched several of your other videos and picked up some great tips, so thank you again.

The video does not seem to be available to me -- on Firefox 3.0.8, Mac OS 10.5.6 -- On Safari, the audio works, but no video.

I downloaded the Learning Views video and it does not play properly. I can see the intro but after just about 2 minutes a all that I hear is a ticking sound and it stops playing. What can I do to get the video to play. I really want to learn Views and CCK.
Thanks for your help

Hi thanks for the tutorial.
I'm having a problem styling the div.rounded-block, I edited the png files so they had transparent backgrounds, but the left side of the block is just showing up white. Here's a screen capture of the block:
I'm thinking its because the div's background image is actually longer than the block.
How do I fix this?


As a noob to theming, this tutorial was an excellent starting point for customizing a theme. I'm also a new Mac user, so you pointed out some great tools as well.

I happen to be using the Acquia Marina theme for my church's new website and was struggling with figuring out how to change the colors to match my church's logo. This tutorial made it relatively simple to begin.


Just wondering if the thin navigation bar at the top is a module or your own customized layout?

One of the more popular modules on Here's a link to it

your video tutorials are helping break through the initial confusion of drupal!

Drupal doesn't have a lot of great looking free themes. This helps me give it some love.

Thanks for the video, I also had a look at some of the other videos here and will come back to learn more.
I have two questions, hope you can give some details:
1. Would it be possible for you to give a few pointers how to use the Photoshop file of Marina to customise the theme? I opened the file up in Photoshop but don't know what to do?
2. Is there a way to match the Hue/Saturation/Brightness adjustment you describe in the video to a target RGB/Hexadecimal colour value. I have an existing site with a colour scheme and I want to modify the Marina theme to match the same colours. Getting close messing with the HSB sliders but wonder if there is a method?

I do like Acquia Marina. Much like you, I did spend a lot of time customizing it myself. I didn't like how the sidebar left + sidebar right regions worked especially, so I had to tweak those a lot.

this theme looks great..I ll make a credit web page about bank and maybe ı used this theme..thanks soo much..

hey, i really enjoy your screencasts, they're very helpful as i'm just starting to get into drupal, in the video you mentioned that your gonna give links to opensource icons. can you tell me where i can find them? thanks.

For you to change the colour. And it takes half an hour seeing an amateur at work in that video. Thanks for wasting my time. Are there any Drupal video's that makes sense out there? Thanks.

I guess your mother never taught you manners clueless. Try giving anything to the community before you describe your time as wasted. You obviously can't operate a media slider much less a website. If you could you wouldn't even click on a how to video,

I appreciate the backing.

Fortunately, I'm pretty insulated against any negative comments made. We're all at different levels of knowledge, and for those who don't know, I'm sure they'll find some value in the content.

My biggest supporters are the ones who give me feedback which helps me make a better product. Thanks!

Hi, I can't seem to theme the sidebars. Like the ones that have "ADMIN" on them, I can't get them to pull away from green. Help?

First of all, great video. I feel like I can tackle my own theme project now. At the start of the video you mentioned that there is a resource for open source icons, but you never said what that resource was. Any chance you'd share it?

Matt - thank you for an excellent tutorial!

I'm in the first few days of learning Drupal and your website is a godsend to me.

Mwah mwah
Staying addicted!

Hi Matt,

Your videos are really great, just found out about your site and will certainly spend more time over here!

Do have a question/remark about this video. I think the template.php has changed a lot (but I am a newbie)?

This is my first attempt to do some theming and I followed your steps. First time, everything got messed up so right now I am doing one step at the time. Everything went fine till I changed the template.php. In your video, you mention the name 'Acquia_Marina' will probably not be found in the template-php-file, but I found 22. Most of them in the names of functions like you describe. I changed them all into my owns template name and .the same mess as I got before. Changing it all back again did not improve things. I used the Acquia Marina 6.x.-2.0 (Drupal 6.16).

Has the template.php been changed? And can (some) names of functions be changed or is this a bad idea?

Hope my question/remark is helpful!

As theme providers evolve with Drupal core, themes do change. The trick is to learn the fundamentals of how things work.

Without having spent any time with this theme recently, there may be some learning you need to do to make it accomplish the goal.

When considering a change to some function names, you need to know where they are called. Typically, function names are things you don't want to change and you simply want to add your own new functions for things. You also want to precede the names of functions with the name of the theme when working within template.php.

I hope this helps out. - Matt

Hi Matt,

Thank you so much for your explanation, it was exactly the help I needed to continue. So yes, it's absolutely helping me out.

Indeed, there is more learning for me to do, I am learning more about Drupal every day (and diving deeper into it). It's quite an addiction ...

Thanks again!

This is awesome Matt! Topnotch has done a great job by providing the PSD for the theme. I also found this another nice tutorial on drupal 6 menu theming.

It seems that simply adjust any Drupal Theme to fit my specific needs is not so easy as you described...
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