Introduction to CSS3 – Part 2: Borders

For the second part of our series on CSS3, we’ll be taking a look at borders. Everyone who uses CSS is familiar with the border property – it’s a great way to structure content, create effects around images and improve page layout.

CSS3 takes borders to a new level with the ability to use gradients, rounded corners, shadows and border images. We are going to look at each of these in a bit more detail, using examples where possible.

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All the examples shown below can be seen at our CSS3 examples page. Many, however, can only be appreciated in the latest builds of various browsers:

View the live examples page

Rounded Borders

Achieving rounded borders using current CSS coding can be tricky – there are numerous methods available, but none are extremely straight forward. Creating individual images for each border is often needed in addition. Using CSS3, creating a rounded border is incredibly easy. It can be applied to each corner or individual corners, and the width/colour are easily altered. The CSS code is:

.border_rounded {
background-color: #ddccb5;
-moz-border-radius: 5px;
-webkit-border-radius: 5px;
border: 2px solid #897048;
padding: 10px;
width: 310px;

Rounded CSS3 Borders


Gradient borders can look effective if used correctly. This code is a little more complex, requiring you to define each colour of the gradient. The CSS code is:

.border_gradient {
border: 8px solid #000;
-moz-border-bottom-colors:#897048 #917953 #a18a66 #b6a488 #c5b59b #d4c5ae #e2d6c4 #eae1d2;
-moz-border-top-colors:  #897048 #917953 #a18a66 #b6a488 #c5b59b #d4c5ae #e2d6c4 #eae1d2;
-moz-border-left-colors: #897048 #917953 #a18a66 #b6a488 #c5b59b #d4c5ae #e2d6c4 #eae1d2;
-moz-border-right-colors:#897048 #917953 #a18a66 #b6a488 #c5b59b #d4c5ae #e2d6c4 #eae1d2;
padding: 5px 5px 5px 15px;
width: 300px;

Gradient CSS3 Borders

Box Shadows

Adding a shadow to an element is difficult at present – it is a good way to differentiate a certain area, but as with any effect, it should be used sparingly. The CSS code is:

.border_shadow {
-webkit-box-shadow: 10px 10px 5px #888;
padding: 5px 5px 5px 15px;
width: 300px;

Shadow CSS3 Borders

Border Images

Border images are one of the most useful additions – I’m really looking forward to discovering how people choose to use them. CSS has the ability to repeat, or stretch a border image as you choose. The CSS code is similar to the following (it varies between browsers at present):

.border_image {
-webkit-border-image: url(border.png) 27 27 27 27 round round;

Image CSS3 Borders

In conclusion…

Borders are revolutionized! These additions in CSS3 are bound to save you a huge amount of time as a designer. They go a long way towards simplifying layouts and allow you to create visually appealing boxes without even opening Photoshop.

The next article in this series will be expanding on a new area in CSS3, Text Effects. Remember, to see live examples of these features, take a look at our CSS3 example page.

Other posts in the series