Elements with multiple borders using pure CSS

Even though CSS is extremely powerful, some visual results may be impossible to achieve by using the language in its usual way, which demands a certain degree of creativity from developers at the moment they are writing their stylesheets. Setting multiple borders to an element is a perfect example of those cases.

How good it'd be if we could set multiple borders needing nothing more than the attribute border. Perhaps in a few years, we'll be allowed to write something like:

div {
    3px solid green,
    3px solid yellow,
    3px solid blue;

Meanwhile, we can take advantage of some alternatives as follows:


If you need no more than two borders, the attribute outline will be securely the fastest and easier solution to go with.

.example-1 {
  border: 5px solid #f48554;
  outline: 5px solid #fdbf59;

Pseudo Selectors

If you need no more than three borders, you have the pseudo elements :before and :after at your disposal. They will make the second and third borders, or the third and fourth, in case you combine this solution with the outline strategy.

.example-2 {
  position: relative;
  border: 5px solid #fdbf59;
.example-2:before {
  content: ' ';
  position: absolute;
  top: 0px;
  left: 0px;
  right: 0px;
  bottom: 0px;
  border: 5px solid #f48554;
.example-2:after {
  content: ' ';
  position: absolute;
  top: 5px;
  left: 5px;
  right: 5px;
  bottom: 5px;
  border: 5px solid #dc424e;

Box Shadow

However, if you need more than three borders, the least complex way to build them is by using the attribute box-shadow. It allows you to set several shadows and, although the final result will have nothing to do with shadows, adjust each of their values to make them mimic borders.

.example-3 {
  margin: 25px;
    0 0 0 5px #2f030c,
    0 0 0 10px #5a071a,
    0 0 0 15px #dc424e,
    0 0 0 20px #f48554,
    0 0 0 25px #fdbf59;