ThemeLab's Blog

Stay up to date with our newest WordPress themes, WordPress plugins, WordPress tutorials, and other announcements.

Astatic – Free Thematic Child Theme

Last Updated on by

It’s been a long time since I’ve released a Thematic child theme. This one is called Astatic, and it’s designed to be a very minimalistic WordPress blog theme with posts formatted in two columns on index pages.

Astatic screenshot


If you remember how to install a child theme, you also need to have Thematic uploaded to your /wp-content/themes/ directory, but activate Astatic.


  • I removed several elements through the functions.php file. I could’ve used display: none; to disable them through CSS, but that kinda freaks me out.
  • The blog title will show up wrapped in an H1 tag on non-singular pages. On singular pages, the post title uses the H1 tag. This is to keep the SEO crazies happy since I removed the blog description (see above note) which usually handles the H1 stuff.
  • The posts on the index pages are styled in two columns on index pages through the .not-singular selector. Credits go to the body_class function.
  • Only three files included in the child theme: screenshot.png, functions.php, and style.css. No images are used in the design at all.

I tried to make the code in functions.php pretty well commented so you can hopefully figure out what’s going on there. I may do a follow up post on my development process.


Every time I make a new Thematic child theme is a learning experience. Here are a few resources I used to help me out:

  • ThemeShaper Forums – This place has a wealth of useful info in their archives. Tip: Use a site specific Google search followed by your query (i.e. child theme question).
  • The Right Way to Override Theme Functions – A nice tutorial on overriding Thematic functions. This information was probably gone over in some post in the Thematic forums (see above) too.
  • Useful Thematic Filters – This post has a nice list of useful Thematic filters (like the title would suggest).

There are also a lot of good info on the ThemeShaper blog, particularly through the How To Modify WordPress Themes The Smart Way series.


Hope you all like the design. It all started when I coded this when I was bored, then I decided to turn it into a Thematic child theme.

Most of you who have seen my “designs” know that there are very few images, mostly because I suck at making them in Photoshop. Hence, they are almost always pure CSS.

I know it’s really simple but I’m sure it could come in handy for something. Let me know what you think in the comments.

  • Remkus

    You gotta love playing with that body_class :)
    Very nice looking simply and minimalistic theme, Leland.

    • Leland

      Thanks Remkus, glad you like it.

      What I did with body_class in Astatic was really just scratching the surface. So many more possibilities with that one.

  • Turgay

    I use wordpress 2.9.2. I copy this theme to the themes folder and also copy thematic themes but at administrator panel there is not any theme which name is Astatic… What can i do? What is the problem?

    • Leland

      Really not sure what to tell you as I’ve seen it working fine on other blogs. Please double check that you’ve followed all the steps in the child theme installation tutorial.

      Have you tried installing any other Thematic child themes? Do they work?

  • Turgay

    I try a-simple-love theme and it works. But astatic doesnt work…

  • Martin

    I miss Astatic at … any particular reason?

  • Martin

    @Leland: Thank you, that explains a lot … :(

  • Serenity Kimball

    I’d really like to use this–I already have Thematic in use on this site–stair basket. I downloaded Astatic, opened the zip file, installed it using Filezilla, but when I go to activate it it says “The following themes are installed but incomplete. Themes must have a stylesheet and a template.–Template is missing” and lists astatic. Did I do something wrong? I REALLY like the look of this so I hope I can get it to work.

    • Leland

      Can you try downloading it again and re-uploading? I think something got messed up with the line breaks in the stylesheet and functions file so I remade the file. It should work now.

  • Serenity Kimball

    It worked! Thanks a ton.

  • dmai

    How can I remove the lines below?



  • Heinz Rolf

    I have been using Thematic “pure” for more than a year. But Astatic seems really worth a try.
    Will use it in my next project.
    Thank you, Leland.