Tutorial [Tutorial] Custom Themes for the Nintendo 3DS

PrincessLillie

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Nintendo 3DS Custom Themes Tutorial by sks316
This tutorial was made to help guide you through the installation of Custom Themes for the Nintendo 3DS system. It was originally made with Themely by @erman1337 in mind, but has been updated to include a guide for Anemone3DS by @astronautlevel and, more recently, a guide for Howling Theme Tool by Howling Wolf Naru-José.

NOTE: The Themely and Anemone3DS guides have multiple methods for downloading themes. It does not matter which method you use.

Download Themely from here. (It is recommended to use the CIA version.)
Take your SD Card out of your 3DS/2DS and put it in your computer/Mac.
Go to Theme Plaza, find a theme you like, and download it.
Create a folder called "Themes" on the root of your SD Card if it does not already exist.
Drag the ZIP file you just downloaded to the Themes folder on your SD Card. (With Themely, it is unnecessary to extract the data from the ZIP file.)
Move the Themely CIA to your SD Card.
Take your SD Card out of your computer and put it back in your 3DS/2DS.
Turn on your 3DS/2DS and install the Themely CIA using your favorite CIA installer.
Start Themely (It may black screen the first time you start it. If it does, force the 3DS/2DS to shut down by holding the Power Button and try again)
Tap the QR Code button on the Touch Screen to open the QR Code scanner.
Go to Theme Plaza and find a theme you like.
Once you've found a theme, simply hover over the preview for the theme.
Position your 3DS camera in front of the QR Code. Re-position it until all of the QR Code is visible on the 3DS's screen.
The theme will begin downloading after the QR Code is scanned.
Find the theme you downloaded in the list. (If there is only one theme in your Themes folder, there will not be a list.)
Press the A Button to install the theme. (Hold R and press the A Button to install the theme without BGM.)
Press Start to exit Themely and press the HOME Button to go to the HOME Menu.
You should now see the Custom Theme you installed on your HOME Menu.

You now have Custom Themes. To install a new theme, download a new theme from Theme Plaza and install it using Themely.


Download Anemone3DS from here. (This tutorial will use the CIA version, but installation for the 3DSX version should be the same as any other 3DSX.)
Take your SD Card out of your 3DS/2DS and put it in your computer/Mac.
Go to Theme Plaza, find a theme you like, and download it.
Create a folder called "Themes" on the root of your SD Card if it does not already exist.
Drag the ZIP file you just downloaded to the Themes folder on your SD Card. (With Anemone3DS, it is unnecessary to extract the data from the ZIP file.)
Move the Anemone3DS CIA to your SD Card.
Take your SD Card out of your computer and put it back in your 3DS/2DS.
Turn on your 3DS/2DS and install the Anemone3DS CIA using your favorite CIA installer.
Start Anemone3DS. It will take a while to boot depending on how many themes you have.
Press the R button to open the QR Code scanner.
Go to Theme Plaza and find a theme you like.
Once you've found a theme, simply hover over the preview for the theme.
Position your 3DS camera in front of the QR Code. Re-position it until all of the QR Code is visible on the 3DS's screen.
The theme will begin downloading if you have done this correctly. It may take some time.
Enter the theme browser by tapping the download button on the Touch Screen or by holding X, holding left on the D-pad, and then releasing X.
Wait for the theme list to load. Once it loads, navigate to a theme you like. You may also navigate to other pages with the on-screen controls. You may also use Y to see a preview.
Once you find a theme you like, press A to download the theme. It may take some time to download. Once it's downloaded, press B to go back.
Find the theme you downloaded in the list. (If there is only one theme in your Themes folder, there will not be a list.)
Press the A Button to install the theme. (Press X to install only the BGM.)
Press Start to exit Anemone3DS and press the HOME Button to go to the HOME Menu.
You should now see the Custom Theme you installed on your HOME Menu.

You now have Custom Themes. To install a new theme, download a new theme from Theme Plaza and install it using Anemone3DS, or scan a QR Code.

If Anemone3DS isn't working for you, you can post about your issue here and try one of the other options.
If you have a feature suggestion for Anemone3DS, you can post it here


THIS TOOL REQUIRES THAT YOU HAVE CUSTOM FIRMWARE INSTALLED! PLEASE REMEMBER THIS WHEN FOLLOWING THIS GUIDE!
Download Howling Theme Tool from here.
Extract Howling Theme Tool to whatever location you'd like.
Inside the Howling Theme Tool install directory, create a new folder called "Themes", and inside that folder, create 3 folders with the names Custom, Custom NSFW, and Oficiales. Custom will be used for Custom themes, Custom NSFW will be used for NSFW themes, and Oficiales will be used for Official themes.
Go to Theme Plaza, find a theme you like, and download it.
Extract the .ZIP file that the theme came in.
If the theme is SFW, drag the folder into [HTT Install Directory]/Themes/Custom, and if it's NSFW, drag it into [HTT Install Directory]/Themes/Custom NSFW.
Once the theme files are in the respective folders, run "Theme Checker" in the Software folder, select your Themes folder and then press "Start Verification". If you get a message that says "All the themes are in good condition", you're good to go! Otherwise, follow the on-screen instructions.
Then run Howling Theme Tool, choose your language, select your Themes folder, and hit Start.
Click the theme you'd like to install in the "Available themes" list, then click Add to add it to the "Themes to pack" list.
Click the "..." button, select "Create theme package", and then choose your 3DS's region.
Wait while Howling Theme Tool compiles the CIA file.
Once it's done, save the CIA file wherever you'd like. You may now close Howling Theme Tool.
Take your SD Card out of your 3DS/2DS and put it in your computer/Mac.
Move the CIA file you just created to your SD Card.
Take your SD Card out of your computer and put it back in your 3DS/2DS
Install the CIA file using your favorite CIA installer.
Finally, go to your 3DS's theme manager (yes, the official one) and apply the custom theme.

You now have Custom Themes. To install a new theme, download a new theme from Theme Plaza, rebuild the CIA using Howling Theme Tool, and install the CIA.

If Howling Theme Tool isn't working for you, you can read the FAQ below, post about your issue here and try one of the other options.
Q: What does this tool do?
A: Howling Theme Tool builds .CIA packages of 3DS Custom Themes for installation with a Custom Firmware like Luma3DS.

Q: What do I need to do to get this to work?
A: Read the guide, that's the reason it's there.

Q: What Custom Firmwares does this work on?
A: The tested CFWs are Luma3DS, rxTools, and Player's Heaven.

Q: I don't have CFW, can I still use this?
A: Unfortunately, CFW is required. Please follow Plailect's 3DS Hacks Guide to install Custom Firmware.

Q: Something's not working! Help?
A: Please be more descriptive, we can't help you if you don't describe what your issue is.

Q: Themes get deleted whenever I visit the eShop or Theme Shop! What gives?
A: You're likely using an old version of Howling Theme Tool. Please ensure you're using the latest version.

Q: The themes don't show up! What happened?
A: CIAs generated with Howling Theme Tool may not work very well with FBI. It's recommended that you use DevMenu or BigBlueMenu to install the CIAs. Due to the nature of these files, I cannot redistribute them or link to them here. Use Google to find them.

Q: I'm getting a "Failed to create empty document." error when extracting Howling Theme Tool. Where did I go wrong?
A: @Chelsea_Fantasy has answered this question in this thread.

If you have any suggestions for this tutorial or if anything is broken or out of date, feel free to DM me.
 
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TarkinMX

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Nice, gonna give this a try. Never really cared for CHMM2 and it's nice to see there's an alternative now. Also, looking forward to it having a theme downloader soon.
 

PrincessLillie

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Nice, gonna give this a try. Never really cared for CHMM2 and it's nice to see there's an alternative now. Also, looking forward to it having a theme downloader soon.
I know! CHMM2 kind of got old. And I, too, am looking forward to the Theme Downloader. Soon™.
 

PrincessLillie

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i dont think a tutorial to use an app was that necessary if im going to be honest.
I just thought it was needed since:
A: There's new people on the scene who probably don't know about Themely.
B: Older members may still not know about Themely.
C: I have too much free time.
 

TarkinMX

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I just thought it was needed since:
A: There's new people on the scene who probably don't know about Themely.
B: Older members may still not know about Themely.
C: I have too much free time.

I'm going to be perfectly honest as well....

Although I didn't need a tutorial, I think it's perfectly fine that you posted one because you're right. There are people that are either new to the scene or need a tutorial no matter how many times they do something. Therefore, I think your tutorial is perfectly acceptable. You keep doing you. At least it's not a video tutorial. :D
 
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Floating Seal

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I believe Themely only detects themes in WinZip archives and normal folders. Your themes are in WinRAR archives and therefore they can't be detected. Try extracting your themes into separate folders and see if that works.
 

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I believe Themely only detects themes in WinZip archives and normal folders. Your themes are in WinRAR archives and therefore they can't be detected. Try extracting your themes into separate folders and see if that works.
Alright thanks for the reply ill try it!

Edit: This doesn't work, i extracted all the theme's in to their respective folders but they still dont show up.
 
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Floating Seal

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Alright thanks for the reply ill try it!

Edit: This doesn't work, i extracted all the theme's in to their respective folders but they still dont show up.

That's really odd. If your themes are in folders in a "Themes" folder on the root of your SD card and they still are not detected then I don't know how else I can help you. Maybe someone else will know what's wrong.
 
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PrincessLillie

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The tutorial has been updated. You can see what was changed below.

Added another theme download method. It doesn't really matter which method you use, as they both accomplish the same task.
Changed the link to Themely to automatically go to the latest release.
Added link to Theme Plaza.
Further improvements to overall system stability and other minor adjustments have been made to enhance the user experience.
 
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PrincessLillie

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NOTE: There have been claims of the official Themely being malware solely because it went closed-source. I can assure you that this is not the case. The official Themely is safe to use, and it went closed-source for the following reason:
upload_2017-8-21_11-55-45.png
 

PrincessLillie

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The tutorial has been updated. You can see what was changed below.

Added a section for Anemone3DS.
Split Themely and Anemone3DS sections into two different spoilers.
Further improvements to overall system stability and other minor adjustments have been made to enhance the user experience.

If a mod could change the title to "[Tutorial] Custom Themes for the Nintendo 3DS", that would be appreciated.
 

PrincessLillie

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The tutorial has been updated. You can see what was changed below.

  • Removed all links to ErmanSayin's repository for Themely and replaced them with ihaveamac's open-source version.
  • Removed all references to the now-defunct 3DSThem.es.
  • Removed Method 2 for downloading themes with Themely, as it relied on the built-in Theme Browser, which no longer functions. This has been replaced with a QR Code method.
  • Further improvements to overall system stability and other minor adjustments have been made to enhance the user experience.

I'd still like for a mod to change the title to "[Tutorial] Custom Themes for the Nintendo 3DS".
 
Last edited by PrincessLillie,

PrincessLillie

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The tutorial has been updated. You can see what was changed below.

  • Added a section for Howling Theme Tool.
  • Further improvements to overall system stability and other minor adjustments have been made to enhance the user experience.

I'd still like for a mod to change the title to "[Tutorial] Custom Themes for the Nintendo 3DS".
 
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