This is a beginners guide to Whimsy Framework that will help you style your WordPress website. With this Whimsy Framework guide, I hope to help even non-technical people create a beautiful website.

The Whimsy Framework Guide was written for users with an already-functioning self-hosted WordPress website installed. If you need help getting your website up and going for the first time please read my Newbie Guide to WordPress.

Step 1: Backup and update your website

First, backup your files and database. You can do this from your host online file manager. Or, use FTP to backup your files.

The Reliable Way

File Backup

You can backup your entire website file structure to be safe, but I tend to only save my wp-content folder. This is where all my website’s plugins and theme live. I install WordPress, import my database, and replace the wp-content folder.

Database Backup

Access your database using PHPMyAdmin from your hosting account center (such as cPanel). You’ll need to login to PHPMyAdmin and navigate to your WordPress database. Then export and download your background as a .sql file.

The Easy Way

Updraft Pro is a free plugin that makes backups of your files and database and sends it to your choice of storage. Google Drive and Dropbox are a few options available.

Some people have had issues restoring backups, so it’s not as reliable as a manual backup. But, it is active on 1+ million sites and has a 4.8-star rating. It’s a valuable tool and an easy way to backup your site if you’re not all that tech savvy.

Update your Plugins and Themes

Now that everything is safe and backed up, make sure WordPress and all your plugins are up to date.

Step 2: Install and activate Whimsy Framework

Whimsy Framework is available on the WordPress theme repository. That means you can install it by searching from your WordPress dashboard.

Search for Whimsy Framework from your dashboard

From your dashboard, go to Appearance > Themes > Add New and search themes for “Whimsy Framework”. Install and then activate Whimsy Framework.

Install Whimsy Framework
Install Whimsy Framework

Step 3: Make a child theme or use Whimsy + Child, a free starter theme

No matter which WordPress theme you use you should start your customizations with a child theme. Child themes protect the modifications you make to your theme. A child theme keeps your parent theme secure and updated without losing changes.

Start customizing the right way with a free starter child theme

Whimsy + Child is a blank slate. It’s a basic child theme with all the important CSS selectors, empty and waiting for your styles.

Get a Free Whimsy Framework Child Theme

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Thanks! Check your email for your Whimsy + Child theme download.

Step 4: Customize the colors, menus, images, and widgets

Don’t like editing CSS and HTML? There’s plenty of ways to customize Whimsy Framework with the Customizer.

Add your logo

Whimsy Framework is responsive. That means it changes layout based on the screen size it’s viewed from. There are two different ways to display your logo — desktop, and mobile.

Your desktop logo is the full-size logo that can be center-aligned or aligned to the left.

Around the size of the portrait view on an iPad (980px), the menu collapses into a mobile menu. The desktop logo is changed to a compact mobile logo, or if left empty, your site title.

Tweak the display options

There are options for which side your sidebar should be on and how many widget columns in your footer.

There are also tweaks you can make to pages and layouts.

Change your colors


Change the background color for the entire website.


Change the color of links and buttons on hover.

Menu Background

This is the background color for your main navigation.

Sub-Menu Background

This is the background color for links that drop down in your main navigation.


Choose a different color for all links and buttons.

Body Text

Change the color of all normal body text.

Menu Link

This is the color of the main links in your navigation.

Sub-Menu Link

This is the color for text links that drop down in your main navigation.

Load your menus

The Whimsy Framework has two menu areas — Primary, and Footer.

Whimsy Framework Primary Menu
Primary Menu

The Primary menu is at the top of the page. It is mobile friendly, and you can add secondary pages that drop down.

Whimsy Creative Footer Menu
Footer Menu

The Footer menu is a list of pages located near the bottom of the page, above the footer widget area.

Choose your widgets

Whimsy Framework includes two widgets made with bloggers in mind. An About Me widget, and a Social Network widget. You can see them in action in my sidebar here.

About Me

Hi! I\'m Natasha Cozad and I’m a designer & developer with nearly 20 years of experience building beautiful websites and brands.

Social Network

Step 5: Show it off with #madewithwhimsy on social

When you’re ready to launch your beautiful new website, use #madewithwhimsy on social media so I can see your beautiful website!

Whimsy Framework 2.0 is available now in your dashboard!

So, here’s the thing: 2016 was a bad year, and I let a lot of things fall through the cracks.

Whimsy Framework is at the tippity top of that list.

When the fog of grief and recovery finally started to clear last year, I began to consider what I wanted to do in 2017.

I wanted to rebrand and refocus. not development, which left the future of Whimsy Framework on a rocky cliff. The new version had been sitting unused on GitHub for a year. I considered pulling it from WordPress, or releasing it as a premium theme.

But I love this theme, and I love developing for WordPress.

So, what’s new in Whimsy Framework?

Whimsy Framework 2.0 has some major changes in it.

Please backup your files and database before updating! (And don’t forget to use a child theme to keep your design changes safe.)

The Framework Library

This is where a lot of file restructuring happened. Most files have moved into the /library folder.

The functions powering the framework are now more in line with Object-Oriented Programming. OOP is one of the driving WordPress standards for development. This means enhanced compatibility with plugins developed to the same standard.


The options in Customizer have been expanded, and the Customizer will be the focus of the next version too.

  • Moved Logo into Site Identity where it belongs.
  • Display: Global layout, updated, uses images instead of select dropdown
  • Display: Footer layout, new, choose from 1-3 widget areas in the footer
  • Display: Hide date on pages
  • Display: Hide comments on pages
  • Display: Hide link on page titles

What’s next for Whimsy Framework?

I’ve never had a real plan for where the framework was going. Which meant it went nowhere. This time around I’ve scheduled a release every six weeks.

The Roadmap

  • Customizer – I’ll be expanding on the options you can use in the Customizer.
  • Integrations – WooCommerce and Jetpack updates, EDD, bbPress, Ninja Forms
  • SEO – Focus on micro formats and schema output.

Release Schedule

  • 2.0 – Jan 25, 2017
  • 2.1 – Mar 8, 2017
  • 2.2 – Apr 19, 2017
  • 2.3 – May 31, 2017
  • 2.4 – Jul 12, 2017
  • 2.5 – Aug 23, 2017
  • 2.6 – Oct 4, 2017
  • 2.7 – Nov 15, 2017
  • 2.8 – Dec 27, 2017
  • 3.0 – 2018

It can take a few days for the update to make it’s way through the WordPress pipes, so release dates may vary.


  • Improved typography and updated design.
  • New folder structure – framework files moved to the /library folder.
  • Moved widget initialization from functions.php to library/admin/widgets.php.
  • Moved script and style enqueue function from functions.php to Whimsy library class.
  • library/css/navigation.css – A legion of bugs felled.
  • library/inc/custom-header.php – Remove code for the admin that is now included in WP core.
  • library/inc/extras.php – Remove functions handled by WP core.
  • library/inc/plugins/jetpack.php – Add theme support for responsive videos
  • Customizer updates:
    • Moved Logo into Site Identity where it belongs.
    • Display: Global layout, updated, uses images instead of select dropdown
    • Display: Footer layout, new, choose from 1-3 widget areas in the footer
    • Display: Hide date on pages
    • Display: Hide comments on pages
    • Display: Hide link on page titles
  • Updated dependencies:
    • FontAwesome to 4.7.0

So, you’ve decided to start a blog but all the different options are so overwhelming that you’re ready to quit before you’ve even started. Sound familiar? That’s where the Newbie’s guide to starting a WordPress blog comes in.

I’ll help you decipher the steps you need to take to get started, and explain the basics about setting up and maintaining a WordPress blog.

Continue reading

The Whimsy Framework was a free theme I developed for WordPress. I based a whole business around it, and ultimately I couldn’t deal with the anxiety of knowing how easily I could break every blog running that theme with a single bad line of code. I knew this because I made that mistake and I broke a bunch of websites.

That anxiety crippled me, and the business.

It took a long time for me to accept that the business had failed. I spent so much time continuing to develop a new version of the parent theme, a premium plugin extension, and child themes and none of it has ever been released.

So here’s how I’ve decided to proceed.

I’m going to release the new version here, as a premium theme, for $15. I set the price low so that I could justify continuing development while not making a formerly free theme unreasonably expensive. This will allow me to better support the theme, and is more manageable than releasing it on the theme repository to the greater WordPress community.

I’m sorry to anyone this news disappoints, I wish that I could continue to develop it for free.

Update January 1, 2017:

Cancel that.

The new version is heading to the WordPress pipes next week. And it’s still free. Because I love you guys. <3

Hello everyone! My name is Natasha Cross, thank you for visiting my new creative venture! I’m a web designer and graphic artist and I’ve been doing this stuff since 1998, when I was 13 years old.

The Whimsy Creative Co. is a fresh start at a time in my life when I need it most. I’ve been freelancing for about half the entirety of my existence so I was at a point where I was itching to start something new, and not just because I had been grinding myself into the pavement with freelancing and a failed development company for years.

This year has been an endless challenge. I lost a beloved friend, someone I considered a brother, to cancer. Two days later I lost another friend to cancer. A month prior, I had lost my aunt to cancer. Oh yeah, and my dog died. And then I ended up in the hospital.

But it hasn’t been all bad.

Someone who has been a truly amazing friend for a very long time stood by me through it all. We fell in love, and now we’re getting married. ♡

But here it is,  the end of the year quickly approaching, and I feel like I’ve barely made it out of the fog. I needed something to throw myself into, and more importantly my finances have been in tatters for years trying to get my WordPress business off the ground so I needed to focus on my next career move.

With all the changes that come with marriage, I felt like it was an excellent time to shake off the old failures and begin again.

So welcome, and thank you for your support. I can’t wait to help you build something beautiful.