Creating Gradient Borders with CSS

Gradient Borders with CSS

With more than a billion websites in the digital universe, making your site stand out is vital. One way to add extra aesthetic appeal and uniqueness to your site is by creating gradient borders using CSS. While it might seem an intricate process to some, this blog post aims to simplify it for you. We present a detailed guide on how to create gradient borders with CSS with comprehensive examples. Whether you're a professional web developer or just starting your journey, this article will prove beneficial.

Getting Started with Gradient Borders

Firstly, what’s a gradient border? It's a border showcasing a gradual blend of two or more colors. Gradient borders can make your website visually appealing, more so than simple, solid-colored borders. Before diving into creating gradient borders, let's ensure we understand basic CSS gradients.

CSS Gradients can be linear or radial. A linear gradient starts from a particular point and smoothly transitions between colors along a line, while a radial gradient begins at a central point and transitions outwards. The syntax for creating these gradients is as follows:

  • Linear Gradients:

    background: linear-gradient(direction, color-stop1, color-stop2, ...);
  • Radial Gradients:

    background: radial-gradient(shape size at position, start-color, ..., last-color);

Check out our CSS Gradient Generator to experiment with gradients.

Creating Gradient Borders

Unfortunately, CSS doesn't directly support gradient borders. But we can achieve this effect using a clever workaround: pseudo-elements and background-clip properties.

The Pseudo-element Method

The pseudo-elements method involves adding a pseudo-element (like ::before or ::after) to the target element and applying the gradient to the pseudo-element. Here's a step-by-step breakdown:

  1. Add the pseudo-element to your target element.
  2. Make the pseudo-element slightly larger than the target to make the gradient visible.
  3. Apply the gradient to the pseudo-element.

Here’s a simple example:

.gradientBorder {
  position: relative;
  height: 200px;
  width: 100%;
  background-color: white;

.gradientBorder::after {
  content: "";
  position: absolute;
  top: -5px;
  left: -5px;
  right: -5px;
  bottom: -5px;
  background: linear-gradient(45deg, red, blue);
  z-index: -1;

In this code, we first establish a parent-child relationship between the div and the pseudo-element div::after by setting the div's position as relative and the pseudo-element's position as absolute. We then use the 'top', 'right', 'bottom', and 'left' properties to create space for the gradient border.

Disadvantage to using this method is that it is not compatible with border-radius, so you cannot have rounded corners with a gradient border.

Background-Clip Property Method

The second method involves using the background-clip property. This property defines how far a background should extend within an element. The steps to create gradient borders are as follows:

  1. Apply a padding to your target element.
  2. Set a background-image with the desired gradient.
  3. Use the background-clip property to constrain the background image to the border box.
  4. Set the element's background-origin to its padding-box to ensure the background covers the padding area.

Here's an example:

.gradientBorder {
  padding: 10px;
  border: double 5px transparent;
  background-image: linear-gradient(white, white), radial-gradient(circle at top left, red, blue);
  background-clip: padding-box, border-box;
  background-origin: padding-box, border-box;
  box-sizing: border-box;

In this case, we set two background-images and two background-clips. The first background-image is a solid color (the same as the page background), and its corresponding background-clip is 'padding-box'. The second background-image is the gradient, and its corresponding background-clip is 'border-box'.


Creating gradient borders with CSS offers a unique opportunity to enhance your website's overall aesthetic appeal. While CSS doesn't directly support gradient borders, the pseudo-elements method and background-clip property provide efficient workarounds. With practice, these techniques can be a valuable addition to your CSS skillset, allowing you to create visually captivating websites.

We've lightly touched on the possibilities of gradients in this post, but CSS gradients hold immense potential. You can experiment with different colors, directions, shapes, and even animations to achieve more dynamic gradients. So, it's time to let your creative juices flow and add some colorful gradient magic to your web design projects.