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Multiple CSS Decorative Gallery

Created 13 years ago   Views 15449   downloads 2717    Author webdesignerwall
Multiple CSS Decorative Gallery
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I will show you how to decorate your images and photo galleries without editing the source images. The trick is very simple. All you need is an extra <span> tag and apply a background image to create the overlaying effect. It is very easy and flexible — see my demos with over 20 styles, from a simple image icon to a rounded corner to a masked layer (both decorative and complex).

What Are The Benefits Of This CSS Trick?

  • Saves Time — You don’t have to manually create the decorative template in Photoshop and export the individual image.
  • Keeps Original Source Images — So you don’t have to worry about changing the design theme in the future.
  • Very Flexible — You can have a completely different look and feel by just editing the CSS.
  • It Works on Any Site — This CSS trick works on any type of site, with any image size.
  • Cross-Browser CompatIble — It has passed the test on most browsers (Firefox, Safari, Opera, and even the "buggy IE6").

Basic Concept ()

You need to insert an extra <span> tag within the <div> tag, with which we’ll apply a background image to create the overlaying effect. If you don’t like to have an empty span tag, you can append the span tag by Javascript (I’ll show you how later in this tutorial).

Then in the CSS, the key point you have to remember is: specify the div element to position:relative and the span element to position:absolute. You can position the span element anywhere you want by using the top and left property.


To make the transparent PNG image work on IE6, I use this wonderful hack. Download a copy of and insert the following code in between the <head> tag:

<!--[if lt IE 7]>
<style type="text/css">

  .photo span { behavior: url(; }



Look and Feel

To change the look and feel, simply edit the CSS specifications of the span element. Click the image below to see the demos I have. To show you how flexible it is, I’ve created 15 different styles (notice the HTML markup is same).

The jQuery Solution ()

I know some of you (particularly the web accessibility fans) don’t like to have an empty span tag in the markup. Well, I’ve solved this issue by using jQuery to append the span tag to the source code. Insert the following code in between the <head> tag:

<script type="text/javascript" src="jquery.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">

  //prepend span tag
  $(".photo a").prepend("<span></span>");