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Stock Android has come a long way in the appearance department, but there’s no one style that can appeal to everyone. Custom ROMs like CyanogenMod offer a way to take matters into your own hands. You can theme everything from the notification panel down to the navigation bar and all the things in between.
But even then, maybe you’ve struggled to find a CyanogenMod theme in the Play Store that tickles your fancy. In that case, why not create your own? Thanks to a relatively new app called Theme DIY, doing so is hardly as intimidating as it sounds.
First: How to Change Your Theme
The way you swap out your CyanogenMod theme has changed a bit over the years, so let’s go over the basics first. If you’re running CyanogenMod, your phone or tablet should have an app called Themes already installed . It’s in the app drawer alongside other software, or you can access it via Settings > Themes.
Themes comes with the default style you’re already familiar with and the option to download more.
The app ties into the Play Store, and there are no shortage of CyanogenMod themes for you to choose from. Seriously, there are so many options.
You don’t have to fully commit to whichever one you pick, though. You can opt to change only the notification bar and lock screen, or you can otherwise mix and match elements from different themes as desired.
Creating Your Own Theme
Okay, now you’re ready to start making your own theme. Rather than manually replacing files and tweaking APKs, you can now just download developer Darkion Avey’s free ThemeDIY app from Google Play. You need a device running Android Lollipop or higher and support for CyanogenMod 12 themes.
When you first open ThemeDIY, you’re presented with a largely blank screen. Tap the hovering plus button at the bottom of the screen to get started.
You should now see the theme creation screen. Start by typing a name. You can then load an existing CyanogenMod 12 theme that you would like to modify, select a DIY color palette, or derive your colors from an image.
Below you can see my theme entitled SofaBot, with colors generated from a photo of an Android plushie sitting on a futon.
To manually select system colors, dive into the per-app modifications section. ThemeDIY lets you modify the look of the status, action, and navigation bars. Feel free to choose between a dark or light background, and then adjust the color of text to match.
You can tweak how your theme adapts to each app. No more waiting around for developers to make these minor changes for you.
Then proceed to choose fonts and select files for the default wallpaper, lockscreen, and boot animation.
Applying Your Theme
When you’re done making changes, select the floating check button in the bottom right-hand corner. The previously blank ThemeDIY launch area will now show your theme right in middle of the screen. From the thumbnail, you can see the name, style colors, and wallpaper.
Tap the install button. A notification will appear that you can tap to apply your theme. Or you can go back to the Themes app and select your creation from your list of installed themes. If you have a rooted device, you can avoid some of this work by having ThemeDIY install themes automatically.
A Few Things to Consider
The developer does not permit you to sell themes that you create using ThemeDIY, nor can you make donate versions. You’re also not allowed to modify and share work based on paid themes without permission, as that would be considered piracy.
Out of the box, the app comes with ads. However, you have the option to turn these off right inside the settings area. If you do, consider sending the developer an in-app donation to compensate.
Express Your Style
Custom ROMs give Android users far more options to tweak their interface than their phones and tablets provide out of the box. ThemeDIY feels like a natural extension to CyanogenMod and other ROMs.
You’re not stuck with the themes in the Play Store, and you can change colors and transparency levels as you wish. The process is now as simple as moving your notification toggles and navigation buttons around.
Have you created Android themes before? Are you happy to see how easy the process has become? Sound off in the comments below!