You can make a copy of the original icon set you want to edit to a working folder in your
/home folder, then edit the name of the folder so you know it's your own custom setup.
Within this folder is an
index.theme file, which you can edit with your text editor of choice. At the beginning of the
index.theme file will be text similar to below.
Comment=Smooth modern theme designed to be intuitive.
You want to change the theme name, typically the name you chose for the folder name.
Notice the Inherits section, this is where you place the names of the themes you would like to include with this theme.
The way the icon themes work is typically whatever is missing by this theme will then be Inherited by the next theme assigned in
You must use the name that is associated from within the index.theme file of designated theme(s), not the folder name.
Within the folder of your main theme directory if you do not want the icons on the panel, then find the folder(s) that are labeled
status then delete them. Also if there is no panel folder, then panel icons will usually be found in the
apps folder with a
-panel designation on the icon file. Application toolbar icons are typically in folder(s)
actions. So if you do not want the action buttons of the main theme, then delete the folder(s) labeled
This same process can be applied to individual files within each folder, if there are individual icons you do not like.
Once you have finished your edits, place the icons in
~/.icons first for a test run before moving them to
/usr/share/icons if you want the theme available to all groups/users. If you don't have a
.icons folder then just make one. You can leave them in
~/.icons as long as you assign read permissions to all groups, if you just want to use them on your account plus have them show up with sudo applications.
$ chmod -R 744 ~/.icons or
755 will work.
This method will work for most, if not all distributions, so making a backup of your custom theme(s) is a good idea.