A Jekyll blog theme using two nifty features, particles.js and the jekyll-paginate-v2 plugin.
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This theme has two main nifty features, the use of particles.js and the jekyll-paginate-v2 plugin. For those who don't know, the jekyll-paginate-v2 plugin allows you to do cool things like paginate within a given collection, which the current jekyll-paginate gem does not allow.

I'm also using the powers of ITCSS and BEM in an attempt to keep the SCSS as clean as possible. You may also notice that I'm trying to avoid the use of any libraries to keep things nice and simple. This also allows for greater learning opportunities.

The font I'm using is a favorite of mine, Operator Mono SSm. Also notice the fun use of colors on tags and each page, these are easily customizable by design and is detailed below.


Jekyll requirements

Create a local copy of the site

  • Download this site:
    • git clone https://github.com/ryancolorcafe/jekyll-theme-collider.git
  • Move into directory:
    • cd jekyll-theme-collider
  • Install required gems:
    • bundle install
  • Verify it's working:

Install theme using gem

  • Add this line to your Gemfile:

    • gem "jekyll-theme-collider"
  • Install running this command in your terminal:

    • bundle install
  • Remove the default index.md and about.md files:

    • rm index.md about.md
  • Download the index.md file:

    • curl -L -O "https://github.com/ryancolorcafe/jekyll-theme-collider/raw/master/index.md"
  • Create the nec·essary folders:

    • mkdir _blog_posts _blog_tags pages tags
  • Download pages files:

    • cd pages && curl -L -O "https://github.com/ryancolorcafe/jekyll-theme-collider/raw/master/pages/{about.html,blog.html,contact.html,thanks.html}"
  • While not necessary to download the following, you may want to in order to see an example of the use of tags, and to have enough posts to see the jekyll-paginate-v2 plugin in action. Run each command one at a time:

    • cd ../tags && curl -L -O "https://github.com/ryancolorcafe/jekyll-theme-collider/raw/master/tags/{nonprofit.md,painting.md}"

    • cd ../_blog_tags && curl -L -O "https://github.com/ryancolorcafe/jekyll-theme-collider/raw/master/_blog_tags/{nonprofit.md,painting.md}"

    • cd ../_blog_posts && curl -L -O "https://github.com/ryancolorcafe/jekyll-theme-collider/raw/master/_blog_posts/{2015-08-15-transition-projects.md,2016-09-30-disjecta.md,2016-10-27-the-nature-conservancy.md,2017-09-27-nice-little-clouds.md,2017-11-10-caldera-arts.md,2018-02-10-the-nature-conservancy.md,2018-07-11-happy-little-trees.md}"

  • Don't forget to go back to the root directory cd ..

  • Finally, add the following to config.yml:

title: [Your site title here]
email: [Your email]
description: >
  [Your site description]
baseurl: "" # the subpath of your site, e.g. /blog
url: "https://jekyll-theme-collider.netlify.com"  # the base hostname & protocol for your site, e.g. http://example.com
github_username: [Your GitHub user name]
linked_in_profile: [LinkedIn profile url]
full_name: [Your username]
user_description: [Your description]
  shortname: [Your Disqus shortname] # https://disqus.com

theme: jekyll-theme-collider

  - jekyll-paginate-v2

    output: true
    permalink: /collection/:name

  enabled: true
  per_page: 3
  permalink: '/:num/'
  title: ':title'
  limit: 0
  sort_field: 'date'
  sort_reverse: true
  collection: 'blog_posts'
    before: 2
    after: 2
  • Run your server and you should be good to go!
    • bundle exec jekyll serve


  • The curl -L -O commands may not have fully downloaded each file. Even if it seems the file was fully downloaded, open each one to make sure that it doesn't just contain a 503 error inside. Delete the files with errors and retry the curl commands.
  • You may need to restart your server in order for your changes to take effect.


To create a new tag, make a new file in the tags directory with the name of the tag you'd like to use. The structure of each is the following:

layout: blog
title: Jekyll
permalink: /jekyll
color: purple
  enabled: true
  collection: all
  tag: jekyll

All posts tagged with _Jekyll_

If you're familiar with Jekyll front matter, this configuration will be intuitive. The parts unique to this theme are the color and the pagination configurations. The color configured here will determine the color of the tag page header and is based on SCSS color settings, meaning it's not just the default CSS purple color being used here. More on that in the colors section below.

The pagination settings are necessary to set for the jekyll-pagination-v2 plugin. The only one you'll likely want to ever modify here is the tag: setting, where you simply put the tag name you'd like to use in lowercase.

You'll also want to create a new file in the _blog_tags directory that is also named after the tag you'd like to use. This is to set the color of the actual tags themselves, and only the color needs to be set as below:

color: purple

In order to configure the colors as above, and make your own custom colors, see the section on colors below.


If using this theme as a gem, see overriding theme defaults in the Jekyll docs as you will need to make a copy of the following files.

Page header colors

To set up a new color variable in the SCSS, you may do so in settings/_color.scss. To create a new reusable color class that can be used for tag pages and the tags themselves, go to elements/_colors.scss. The structure a new color classes should look like the following:

.orange {
  color: $channel-orange;
  &.icon {
    fill: $channel-orange;

.bg--orange {
  background: $channel-orange;
  color: $white;

a.bg--orange:hover {
  background: darken($channel-orange, $darken--button);

This is what would allow you to simply configure color: orange in your tags and _blog_tags directory files. For an example of what is happening under the hood, you can take a look at the _includes/header.html file, lines 1-15.

Homepage background color

To change the background color of the particles.js canvas on the homepage, go to components/_particles.scss and change the background color here:

#particles-js {
  background: $dark-sea-green;

About page customization

If creating a local copy of the site, simple modify the HTML and text in _layouts/about.html. When using the gem theme, create a new _layouts directory with an about.html file inside that use the following front matter:

layout: default

You may put whatever HTML and text you'd like below.

Customizing particles js

To customize particles.js, such as the shape and size of the particles, you'll need to edit assets/js/app.js. If using the theme gem, you'll need to create this file and override with your own settings. Since this customization is outside the scope of this readme, I recommend learning more on the particles.js GitHub page.

Future projects

  • A portfolio/work page using CSS Grid
  • Search bar for articles in blog
  • Modular scale typography


Bug reports and pull requests are welcome on GitHub at https://github.com/ryancolorcafe/jekyll-theme-collider. This project is intended to be a safe, welcoming space for collaboration, and contributors are expected to adhere to the Contributor Covenant code of conduct.


The theme is available as open source under the terms of the MIT License.