// Internet Duct Tape

Win Cash Prizes for your CSS Design for Sandbox

Posted in Contests, CSS and Web Design, Technology, WordPress, WordPress.com Tips by engtech on June 20, 2007

Web pages (ie: what you are looking at right now) are composed of many things. If you think of web pages as a house, HTML is the foundation and structure while CSS is the aluminum siding, brickwork and paint. HTML stands for Hypertext Markup Language and CSS stands for Cascading Style Sheets. A passing knowledge of both of them is essential if you want to run your own website.

HTML Example

CSS Example

The whole idea behind HTML and CSS is that you use HTML to format your web page (or blog post) with things like headers, bold, lists and tables. Then you use CSS to style those elements so that they look the way you want them to. The whole idea behind it all is that you can build the structure with HTML once, and then change the look of it whenever you want to using CSS.

WordPress, Sandbox and CSS

If you want to change the way your WordPress blog looks there are two ways to do it. The first way is to change your theme. This changes the underlying HTML formating structure. The second way is to leave the theme alone and change your CSS. If you are running a blog hosted on WordPress.com, then the only way to customize your theme is to buy the CSS editing upgrade, choose a base theme, and then use CSS to redesign it. The preferred WordPress theme for CSS designing is Sandbox because it gives you so many things to play with.

Internet Duct Tape is hosted on WordPress.com using the Sandbox theme and a custom CSS design by yours truly. If I can find the time, I will be participating in the contest.

Win Prizes for Your Sandbox Theme

The creator of Sandbox is running a theme design competition with monetary prizes. The pot is getting pretty big right now, and the top six designs can win between $50 to $750 US. Even if you’ve never tried your hand at designing CSS before, this is the perfect time to give it a shot.

Scott has put together sample blog content for designing CSS for Sandbox and he also has a template file with all of the Sandbox CSS selectors.

Free Sandbox Designs

There are several free Sandbox designs available:

People Are Talking About It

More coverage about the competition can be found at

weblogs tools collection: “I thought it was a good time for a new theme competition—or rather a “designs” competition. It has been around two years since the last successful WordPress theme competition (participants of the competitions in 2006 will roll their eyes and would include me).”

wank: “I’m hoping this’ll be as successful as last year’s Style Contest, and that Automattic will be as generous with their support as Six Apart were with theirs. (Matt has already thrown in $500 prize money, which is a good start, but a little linkage wouldn’t hurt.) “

Adam: “Scott’s organizing a wordpress design competition, purely in CSS. which means it’s open to:
* wordpress.com users
* anyone who can use CSS, since PHP and javascript won’t be judged”

Small Potato: “Conveniently for Scott’s Sandbox theme and WordPress.com’s Custom CSS Upgrade service, WordPress.com users will not be left out of the competition because Sandbox will be added to WordPress.com’s collection of themes. By the way, you can enter as many designs as you want. Surely, that’s not because this competition wants to promote Sandbox even more, but because entering multiple designs will give you a better chance at winning.” (read the comments)

Binary Moon: “And what do you have to do for the money? All that’s required is for you to design a skin for the sandbox theme. You don’t need to do any php or html, it’s entirely css and image based.”

There’s more good discussion in a WordPress.com Support Forum thread

15 Responses

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  1. Scott said, on June 20, 2007 at 9:56 pm

    Excellent. Thanks much for the write-up.

    Note: Andy ported Kubrick, not me. But we update one another’s stuff.

    I like the Read the comments notation above too. Heh.

    Also, there is a separate forum wholly dedicated to both the Sandbox theme / Sandbox Designs Competition, Sandbox Forums, which may be of interest. :)

  2. Javier Aroche said, on June 21, 2007 at 2:56 am

    Sandbox is sexy :D Really i wanna test my self creating a skin for this contest.

    BTW: Gald to see you back.

  3. adam said, on June 21, 2007 at 4:29 pm

    welcome back!
    thanks for the writeup :D

  4. Arpit Jacob said, on June 21, 2007 at 7:00 pm

    I am also takin part in the competition. I would be glad if some people would volunteer to test my theme once its finished :).

  5. engtech said, on June 21, 2007 at 11:11 pm

    Some testing tips:

    Make sure you have Firefox, Internet Explorer 6 and 7 and Safari installed on your machine and run through the example blog Scott provided.

    I plan to write a post that walks through setting up WordPress + Sandbox + Examples on a Windows machine. It’s a lot faster to design on your local machine than to design live on a website.

  6. adam said, on June 22, 2007 at 12:39 am

    scott’s also stated that judges will be using opera, so you should install that as well.

    installing IE6 and IE7 requires registry hacks, IIRC. it’s much safer to use 1 and test the other with ie netrender.

    for your own testing, you can also just save out the raw html from the live preview blog.

    @arpit-
    perhaps we can trade + test themes once i’m farther along?

  7. engtech said, on June 22, 2007 at 1:17 am

    @adam: you can also use IE6 and IE7 on the same computer without registry hacks by using IE6 standalone: http://browsers.evolt.org/?ie/32bit/standalone

    That site has a ridiculous list of browsers: http://browsers.evolt.org

  8. engtech said, on June 22, 2007 at 1:18 am

    also, much agreement with downloading the raw HTML from the live preview blog. That’s how I always do CSS designing for this site. *SO* much faster.

  9. Rolling a blog joint « Cuzoogle said, on June 22, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    [...] //engtech is back from his vacation and is offering up some cash prizes for CSS design. [...]

  10. [...] //engtech’s links I reached a site that didn’t render well at all on my browser IE 6.0. I checked it on [...]

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  12. [...] and Read All Over I’ve been tweaking my blog theme furiously in preparation for the Sandbox CSS Design contest. Again I have to say that I have the utmost respect for web designers. Making a good blog design [...]

  13. Michael Sync said, on July 19, 2007 at 12:18 am

    Oh. interesting news.. I will take a look at the end date of this contest.. if possible, i wanna try tooo..

    thanks. engtech for this information..

  14. Michael Sync said, on July 19, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    Hi engtech,

    The following links seems dead.

    1. archgfx.net/themes/dream-in-infrared
    2. archgfx.net/themes/the-thin-line are

    Regards,
    Michael Sync

  15. sunburntkamel said, on July 20, 2007 at 8:54 am

    @michael –
    sorry, i updated my page structure. those links are now

    http://archgfx.net/graphics/themes/dream-in-infrared

    http://archgfx.net/graphics/themes/the-thin-line


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