We’re headed to the beach again this weekend, so I was in the mood to get out the driftwood pieces from our last trip and paint them.  I ended up using non-toxic paint pens (Painters Opaque Paint Markers by Elmer’s), which made it really fast and easy.  It’s amazing how much fun a bunch of wood and rocks can be.  We had a great time arranging them, making different scenes.  Then I found an old wooden box to store them.  We’ll have to get some more driftwood this weekend!

42 Responses
  1. Lise

    Oh, my gosh…I swear, I fall in love with every thing you make! I'm headed to the beach on Sunday, and now I'll be looking for fishy driftwood. Thank you for all the inspiration.

  2. Gwynneth Beasley

    OMG – wow – I just found your blog through a twitter link – it is all so fabulous – I cant wait to read it slowly tonight!

  3. medina family

    so glad I found your blog! You're brilliant. Can't wait to try all your ideas. The kids are already coloring the paper city.

  4. Joel Henriques

    Thank you everybody! Yeah, this driftwood thing turned out to be even more fun than I was expecting. Nice!

    Gwynneth Beasley & medina family – Thanks! Glad you found my blog!

  5. Gwynneth Beasley

    Hi again – I've just read through the whole blog – I love your aesthetic – and I am really glad to hear you are writing a book! I've bought quite a few toy making books and they are usually really old fashioned or require serious woodworking or sewing skills. Your toys look a little simpler to make – hopefully not deceptively easy! Can't wait!

  6. Lori Henriques

    wow, joel. again so beautiful, even down to the storage box. :) and your color choice as always is so pleasing. bon voyage! wish we were coming with you guys…

  7. Temps perdu

    These are lovely. I can almost feel the soft surface of driftwood. Wishing you a plesant weekend, Nina

  8. barbara

    I love your style so much. From the more complex to the more simple ideas, everything you do is art.

  9. Kickcan and Conkers

    Fabulous – I love it! You are definitely in your element here – a born toymaker. You rock! (ha!ha!)

  10. Anonymous

    I love your blog. We used to have a waterfall and pond in our backyard but took it out because of safety worries, but we kept a 'stream' full of rocks. These fish would look wonderful in the stream – can't wait to try it.

    A book of directions to make your toys would be wonderful!!

  11. Sofie

    just found your blog and would like to link to you on mine, hope it is ok I borrow a picture or two.
    all the best and thank you for good inspiration!

  12. Catherine Hansen Peart

    I just love absolutely everything you do. I will be looking for driftwood for our own little school of fish too. You make me try and think more simply about what I do with my own kids – great inspiration.

  13. Mary

    Fantastic! They remind me of the LIttle Fish That Got Away. Did you ever read that story to your kids? Lovely, simple, early 60's aesthetic. It's by the author Harold and the Purple Crayon. Anyway, this looks like a great activity to with kids. (Maybe without the same minimalist results!) (Mary)

  14. Amy

    Joel, my 6 year old and I love your blog. We can always count on being inspired by your projects.
    So, I have a request for a post. Would you please put together a list of favorite things to do with the kiddos in Portland? Farms to visit, fun restaurants, hikes, craft stores……with summer coming up I would love for some new fresh ideas.

  15. Joel Henriques

    Thank you all. You are too kind!

    Mary – I have the book Harold and the Purple Crayon, but haven't seen The Little Fish That Got Away. I'll have to look for that one. Thanks!

    Amy – I wish I got out more. We end up going to a lot of the same places over and over. Daily Cafe in the Pearl. Jameson Square Park (has an awesome toddler friendly water feature to wade in), Powells Books, Lots of Parks (and free concerts in the parks during summer). I'll have to think on this some more.

  16. Gwen

    Our son's wonderful pediatrician made "fish sticks" for our son at every visit–he drew a fish on a tongue depressor and gave it to him! He passed away last year, well into his 90's, and I wish I had saved at least one "fish stick"! Thanks for the memory!

  17. Megan.K.

    These are just so good!! Beautiful. We have a similar collection of beach pebbles, shells and drftwood – am off to turn them into fish!
    Oh, I am also loving the aquarium posted after this… Tomorrow could a fish day!
    Thank you for such inspiring ideas.

  18. Novi On The Go

    These are lovely! I like the little red snake, the bulge of the wood looks right for the eye. Very creative and fun designs!

  19. Joel Henriques


    Novi On The Go – Yeah, the eye on that snake is actually a knot in the wood. I didn't paint it. Cool!

  20. Gesualdo

    For extra fun with driftwood, take a magnifying glass to the beach. With a strong sun you can etch letters or fish or whatever into the wood very quickly. Feels a bit like writing with a laser.