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Button hover effects with box-shadow

Button hover effects with box-shadow

Making some basic animations with box-shadows. No extra elements or even pseudo elements required.

Check out my button collection for more.

A Pen by Giana on CodePen.


<div class="buttons">
<h1>Simple hover effects with <code>box-shadow</code></h1>
<button class="fill">Fill In</button>
<button class="pulse">Pulse</button>
<button class="close">Close</button>
<button class="raise">Raise</button>
<button class="up">Fill Up</button>
<button class="slide">Slide</button>
<button class="offset">Offset</button>
box-shadow: [inset?] [top] [left] [blur] [size] [color];
- We're setting all the blurs to 0 since we want a solid fill.
- Add the inset keyword so the box-shadow is on the inside of the element
- Animating the inset shadow on hover looks like the element is filling in from whatever side you specify ([top] and [left] accept negative values to become [bottom] and [right])
- Multiple shadows can be stacked
- If you're animating multiple shadows, be sure to keep the same number of shadows so the animation is smooth. Otherwise, you'll get something choppy.
// Animate the size, inside
.fill:focus {
box-shadow: inset 0 0 0 2em var(--hover);
// Animate the size, outside
.pulse:focus {
animation: pulse 1s;
box-shadow: 0 0 0 2em rgba(#fff,0);
@keyframes pulse {
0% { box-shadow: 0 0 0 0 var(--hover); }
// Stack multiple shadows, one from the left, the other from the right
.close:focus {
inset -3.5em 0 0 0 var(--hover),
inset 3.5em 0 0 0 var(--hover);
// Size can also be negative; see how it's smaller than the element
.raise:focus {
box-shadow: 0 0.5em 0.5em -0.4em var(--hover);
transform: translateY(-0.25em);
// Animating from the bottom
.up:focus {
box-shadow: inset 0 -3.25em 0 0 var(--hover);
// And from the left
.slide:focus {
box-shadow: inset 6.5em 0 0 0 var(--hover);
// Multiple shadows, one on the outside, another on the inside
.offset {
0.3em 0.3em 0 0 var(--color),
inset 0.3em 0.3em 0 0 var(--color);
&:focus {
0 0 0 0 var(--hover),
inset 6em 3.5em 0 0 var(--hover);
//=== Set button colors
// If you wonder why use Sass vars or CSS custom properties...
// Make a map with the class names and matching colors
$colors: (
fill: #a972cb,
pulse: #ef6eae,
close: #ff7f82,
raise: #ffa260,
up: #e4cb58,
slide: #8fc866,
offset: #19bc8b
// Sass variables compile to a static string; CSS variables are dynamic and inherited
// Loop through the map and set CSS custom properties using Sass variables
@each $button, $color in $colors {
.#{$button} {
--color: $color;
--hover: adjust-hue($color, 45deg);
// Now every button will have different colors as set above. We get to use the same structure, only changing the custom properties.
button {
color: var(--color);
transition: 0.25s;
&:focus {
border-color: var(--hover);
color: #fff;
//=== Pen styling, ignore
body {
color: #fff;
background: hsl(227, 10%, 10%);
font: 300 1em 'Fira Sans', sans-serif;
// Center everything ever
justify-content: center;
align-content: center;
align-items: center;
text-align: center;
min-height: 100vh;
display: flex;
// Basic button styles
button {
background: none;
border: 2px solid;
font: inherit;
line-height: 1;
margin: 0.5em;
padding: 1em 2em;
h1 { font-weight: 400; }
code {
color: #e4cb58;
font: inherit;
As a bonus, I will now begin including a shoddily written limerick or other high literary masterpiece in all my pens. Misspelled visual rhymes and two left feet are the spice of life. You're welcome.
[1/?] Glass cannon
There was a young dev on the frontend
delighted to see folks affronted
They claimed satisfaction
provoking a reaction
but threw quite a fit when confronted
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