May 09, 2012 • By

How to make crafts out of Cheerios boxes

Joel Henriques knows how to roll with it.

When his music career didn’t turn out as he hoped, he began selling paintings. When fatherhood interrupted his painting career, the stay-at-home dad began making toys with his toddlers.

“People who had been purchasing my art wondered what I was doing,” Henriques explains. “I started a website so they could see the stuff I was doing, which was mostly toys. That’s how Made by Joel got started.”

Made by Joel is a popular blog that moms, dads and teachers turn to for all kinds of crafts for kids. More than 100,000 people visit it each month, says Henriques. He has been featured on “The Martha Stewart Show,” and Parents magazine named his blog the best craft site of 2011.

“I started this a little over two years ago. Once I figured out I could upload templates and drawings, and things that people could print out and cut to turn into paper toys, that actually became the most popular thing [on the blog].”

You can also see what he is up to via his Facebook page.

Henriques likes to repurpose stuff when he can, and caught our eye because he once created some cool crafts using empty Cheerios boxes.

You can learn how to make a snack box, rubber band guitar and portable dollhouse on his blog.

Here’s his how-to video for the guitar.

Many of his other projects use recycled materials, too.

“Woodworkers hate to waste little art scraps of wood, so I get a lot of free scraps of wood. They are perfect for toymaking. Same thing with fabric scraps. All my neighbors and friends give me their little strings from sewing projects, and so I have lots of fabric scraps that otherwise end up being wasted.”

It’s no surprise that Henriques does what he does – he comes from a family of artists.

“My two grandmothers were both very artistic and crafty,” he says. “We always used to do a lot of homemade toymaking.”

Henriques earned a degree in painting. Even though he no longer makes a living doing it, he says he will always paint. Right now, daddy duty (he has five-year-old twins and an infant) and Made by Joel are his calling.

“It’s all kind of the same creative process, I guess, whether you’re painting or woodworking or sewing or drawing … It’s all kind of the same thing to me.”

Like I said, he knows how to roll with it.