Skinny Bones, a Jekyll starter

What originally started as a site refresh quickly turned into something else when Jekyll baked in native support for Sass with a 2.0 release.

This was a good excuse to learn Sass and figured starting a new repository to experiment with would be better than breaking my existing site and Jekyll themes. I ended up with what I’m calling Skinny Bones by completely rewriting all of Made Mistakes’s stylesheets, _layouts, and _includes to be more modular.

I like to think of Skinny Bones as a starter for building your own Jekyll powered site — versus a theme you use as is. I’ve purposely kept the styling minimal and light to make adding your own flare and markup easier. If that’s not your thing you can still use it without modification, but where is the fun in that?

Setup guide Live preview

Notable features


Found a bug or aren’t quite sure how something works? By all means submit an issue on GitHub. For straight forward bug fixes (spelling mistakes, typos, broken links, etc.) feel free to submit pull requests.

Skinny Bones was built predominately as a framework for myself. My intention was never to make it all things for all people. So please keep that in mind before submitting new features or enhancements. If you’ve used any of my Jekyll themes I think it’s pretty clear what I like and what I try to avoid. When in doubt ask before wasting your time on a feature that won’t get merged in.


This theme is free and open source software, distributed under the MIT License. So feel free to use this Jekyll theme on your site without linking back to me or including a disclaimer.

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Thanks for doing this. I’ll be using Skinny Bones for both my personal website, and the website for my SF series.

Fantastic. Glad it’s been of use.

Thanks for created awesome themes… I’m use it for my personal website but still in progress in customization.

Thanks a lot Michael. I started playing with Minimal Mistakes but the Skinny bones fits even better. Cheers

You’re welcome. It’s definitely my favorite out of the two. Way more fleshed out than my older Jekyll themes.

Cheers Michael, an excellent way for someone to get started

Nice work. Could I bother you for a quick summary of the difference between this and HPSTR?

All of my themes share common traits but all look visually different.

HPSTR is more of a tumble-log styled theme, post after post. Skinny Bones has tile based archives that are more visual based instead of a dump of full posts.

On my Jekyll themes page there are bullet points that describe each theme and what is unique about them.

Brian Moseley on

This is great! Incredibly ignorant question: I’ve been messing around with variables in Sass, but I can’t figure out how to change the font. I make changes in _variables.scss, but the fonts don’t show up on the rendered site.

Do you have a public repo somewhere for me to look at?

Have you loaded the actual font files as well? Just changing the name in the CSS won’t work unless it’s a system font (Arial, Verdana, Georgia, Courier, etc) that is already installed.

I’m using Google webfonts and a script is placed in the head of the default.html layout that loads the appropriate fonts. Then those are referenced in _variables.scss by family name.

Depending on what font(s) you’re using you can either use a font service (Google, Typekit, Fontdeck, etc) that hosts them for you and just include their script in your templates. Or if you have the rights to embed fonts that you own you can use a service like Font Squirrel to convert them for embedding.

Brian Moseley on

I see. I’d forgotten that the fonts I was using weren’t system fonts and needed to be loaded.

Thanks for the Jekyll starter! It’s really great!

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