How to Create CSS Card Animations

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Darrielle Evans


Static websites can be boring, making it easy for your visitors to click away. CSS card animations can be a great way to bring a modern and interactive look to your website.

woman studying flashcards powered by css card animations on an ipad

CSS animations have endless possibilities. You can add motion to elements throughout your site. CSS card animations specifically allow users to click an element on your site to spark movement. Think of it like flipping a digital flashcard.

In this post, you’ll learn all about CSS card animations. That includes the basics, the benefits, and how to code it yourself. You’ll also learn when it’s beneficial to add them to your web page. Let’s get started!

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Imagine a digital flashcard. You can click a term, and the card flips for a definition. That’s all powered by CSS card animation.

However, this effect can do more than just flip an image. The CSS card animations can be used to trigger many changes in an element’s appearance. This could include adding a drop shadow, changing its background color, or even animating the element itself.

By using CSS card animations on click, you can create engaging interactive experiences that your users will love. From subtle hover effects to more elaborate transitions and animations, they provide an easy way to add life and motion to any website or application.

CSS Card Animation in Action

Perhaps you want to add movement to your site but need more inspiration before getting started. Let’s explore sites that use CSS card animation and bring the user experience to life.

Anything but Ordinary

Anything but Ordinary helps travelers visiting Newfoundland and Labrador preview the area’s must-see attractions to plan their trip. To keep the information organized, they use CSS card animations.

When you hover over the images, a description of different experiences is provided.

css card animation, a mouse hovers over images of Newfoundland and cards text with additional details about the image slides up.

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Studystack is a website that helps users study with digital flashcards. Students can start learning all with one click. In this example, the deck focuses on U.S. states and their capitals. When you hover over the card it flips and shows the correct answer.

css card animation, a mouse clicks on a flashcard with state capitals and they flip to reveal the associated states

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Types of CSS Card Animation

CSS card animation can create a wide range of movement on your site. Check out some of many types of card animations below.

If you like what you see, you can follow the links and get the code that powers these animations. From there, all you need to do is copy and paste into your source code.

CSS Card Animation with Hover Effect

css card animation, a mouse hovers on an image a pikachu and lorem ipsum text appears underneath

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This card animation uses the hover effect and can be created with just HTML and CSS. When the user places the cursor over the card, the animation is triggered. This type of animation is great for digital game cards.

Created by: Tuan on CodePen.

CSS Flip Card Animation

css card animation, a mouse hovers on an image with a vacation icon and the card opens with more information

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CSS animation can also power a simple card flip. In the example above, the card opens and the user is able to see the video and additional detail about each excursion. All the user needs to do is hovers over the object.

This type of CSS card animation is great for digital birthday cards, digital brochures, or short stories.

Created by: Madelena on CodePen.

CSS Grow Card Animation

css card animation, a mouse hovers on an image with angry birds and the card grows to fill the screen

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This animation is created entirely with CSS and HTML. When the user clicks on the card, it expands. This animation is good for adding a dramatic effect to any web page.

Created by: Harsh Shah on CodePen.

CSS Card Swap Animation on Click

CSS card animation, card swap animation example.

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For this card animation, you’ll need to use HTML, CSS, and a few lines of Javascript code. When the user clicks the change button, the card is swapped.

This type of CSS card animation is good for recipes, games, or name cards.

Created by: Shubham Chaudhari on CodePen.

CSS Spread Cards

CSS card animation, card spread animation example.

Image Source

Author Andrew Canham created animated spread cards using HTML, CSS, and Javascript. When the user clicks the card, a spread of cards is displayed. This type of card animation is perfect for card games.

Created by: Andrew Canham on CodePen.

How to Create CSS Card Animation on Click

Now that you’ve seen how to create an animation with CSS, it’s time to create your own. We’ll walk through how to make a card that flips on click, but this is just one of many possibilities.

1. Use HTML to designate what will be in the card.

To create a CSS card animation, you’ll need to start with the HTML for your web page. If your card is all text, you’ll use standard HTML tags for paragraphs (<p>), headings (h1, h2, etc.), and more.

You’ll also need to designate what information is on each side of the card. To do this, use tags with specific classes that designate both the effect and the side of the card. The below example uses the following:

  • This designates the effect itself.
  • This determines which side is the front.
  • This determines which side is the back.

We also included body text to indicate the action the user can take. In this case, we use <p>Click to flip</p>.

css animation, HTML code

2. Create the CSS.

Now, it’s time to create the CSS. When working in CSS, you’ll need to specify the design you want for the front and back of the card. You’ll also designate how the card will move or change when clicked.

Let’s take a look at the code below.

css animation, css code

The “.flip-card,” “.front,” and “.back” classes refer to the different sections of code written in HTML. From here, you can designate different effects. For example this section of code tells the card to flip over when clicked:

.flip-card .black { transform: rotateX(180 deg); }

Remember you can customize the values however you want. You can edit the code you just learned now using CodePen.

Here’s the card our code produced:

CSS card animation, card flip animation example.

Code your own CSS card animations.

Overall, CSS card animations are a great way to add life and motion to any website. By using this powerful tool, you can create engaging user experiences that keep visitors coming back.

With just a few lines of code, you can make your web applications come alive with CSS card animations. Start exploring the possibilities today and see what you can create.

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Topics: CSS Animation

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