Did you know that you can use CSS to create beautiful animations and interesting effects? Combined with HTML and JavaScript, or even on its own, CSS can be extremely powerful. You’d be surprised at what developers can create. From simple scrolling animations to complex environments built entirely of code, these CSS background effects can add a lot of personality to your website.

What if you could use CSS background effects created by others for free? Sites like CodePen were made to host open source or other freely-licensed code, which means you can use it in your own projects with few-to-no stipulations.

This is also helpful for designers who want to learn CSS or pull off a similar, but personalized look. You can use these code snippets as a base to create your own effects.

There are a ton of developers who have created amazing CSS background effects and released them for free. Today we’ve collected 15 of the most stunning ones. See for yourself what you can do with a creative mind and a little code!

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Parallax Pixel Stars

See the Pen Parallax Star background in CSS by Saransh Sinha (@saransh) on CodePen.light

Gradient Background Animation

See the Pen Pure CSS Gradient Background Animation by Manuel Pinto (@P1N2O) on CodePen.light

Frosted Glass Effect

See the Pen CSS only frosted glass effect by Gregg OD (@GreggOD) on CodePen.light

Shooting Star

See the Pen Only CSS: Shooting Star by Yusuke Nakaya (@YusukeNakaya) on CodePen.light

Fixed Background Effect

Example of Fixed Background Effect

Tri Travelers

See the Pen Tri Travelers by Nate Wiley (@natewiley) on CodePen.light


See the Pen ColorDrops by Nate Wiley (@natewiley) on CodePen.light

Animated Background Header

See the Pen Animated Background Header by Jasper LaChance (@jasperlachance) on CodePen.light

Zero Element: DeLight

See the Pen Zero Element: DeLight by Keith Clark (@keithclark) on CodePen.light

Glowing Particle Animation

See the Pen CSS Glowing Particle Animation by Nate Wiley (@natewiley) on CodePen.light

Background Image Scroll Effect

See the Pen Pure CSS Background Image Scroll Effect by carpe numidium (@carpenumidium) on CodePen.light

Multiple Background Image Parallax

See the Pen CSS Multiple Background Image Parallax Animation by carpe numidium (@carpenumidium) on CodePen.light

Bokeh Effect

See the Pen Bokeh effect (CSS) by Louis Hoebregts (@Mamboleoo) on CodePen.light

Calm Breeze Login Screen

See the Pen Calm breeze login screen by Lewi Hussey (@Lewitje) on CodePen.light

Effect Text Gradient

See the Pen Effect Text Gradient by Diogo Realles (@SoftwaRealles) on CodePen.light

Creatively Beautiful CSS Background Effects

Good web design leaves a lasting impression on visitors, and there’s always something extra enchanting about a well-made animation. Whether you go all out with an animated starry or gradient background, or you just add some elegant and subtle parallax effects to your site, it can do wonders for your design.

CodePen hosts exclusively open source code, made by developers as a contribution to the community. So, if one of these effects caught your eye, feel free to copy it, tweak it, or use it as a base for making your own CSS animations.

Just remember to use the same license, and everything on CodePen is free to use.

Editor’s note: this article was last updated on Sept. 2, 2020

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