Little E is always fascinated to watch her big brother and sister ride on all of their bikes and scooters. She often tries to sit on them and scoot around. I always wanted to try making a ride-on toy when the twins were little, but never had the time. So I finally got my chance! I’ll probably make more, but for this first design, I wanted to keep it as simple and sturdy as possible.

I used some poplar wood that I had in the garage. Then I got some wheels at a hardware store. It took just an afternoon to make. It kind of turned out looking like a vintage motorhome.

So far little E is quite interested in it, and especially likes putting toys inside the cargo area. I think after a bit of practice, she’ll be zooming around all over the place. The twins however, and really testing out how fast it can go. It’s pretty funny. I might need to make two more in a larger size.

54 Responses
    1. Thanks Jackie. Yeah, the chair is actually a vintage car seat that used to be sold by Costco in the 60’s. They look so cool! You can still find them occasionally in vintage stores or online. The two holes were where you’d run the seat belt through. Crazy!

  1. Joel, I love the way you made the storage with the opening at the back! I can tell you watch kids carefully when they play, and know what they like!

    I also wanted to ask you if you make your contact info available on your site. I couldn’t find it. I wanted to get in touch with you about a cardboard event I’m planning…

    1. I amber. Thanks! And for my contact info, click on “About Made by Joel” at the top right of the site. Sorry, it’s not very obvious. We’re in the process of redesigning the entire site though, so I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks!

      My email is joel (at) madebyjoel (dot) com

  2. Joel that scoot is rad! And that car seat is really cool (as a chair, as an actual car seat it’s a bit terrifying!!)

    I was looking on today and saw this bedspread someone made. I immediately thought of you and your kiddos…seems like something you guys could do and do well!


  3. Hi Joel,

    Love your site! In Australia we have a kid’s ride on toy called a Wheely Bug, that’s a lot like yours but with a soft top. Our kids grew up whizzing madly ’round the house on theirs –

  4. Dude, this is so RAD! Well Inspiring. I’ve spent the afternoon hanging a clothes dryer in our laundry. Now if I could just take the skills I learned this afternoon and apply them to the four planks of wood I have out the back and the casters that I have in the cupboard… I think we might just be able to make our own. Next weekend perhaps.

    Awesome man. Thanks!

    1. Thanks Pete! Yeah, I’d love to see what you guys make if you do one. You’d probably have a blast painting some cool character designs on yours or something. Cool!

  5. Great project Joel- I made something semi-similar last year for my son who is truck obsessed…he got a lot of use out of it. I’ll have to post a photo sometime. It didn’t have the top handles though, I like that touch. ‘Hope you’re well

    1. Thanks Deek! Yeah, I’d love to see a photo sometime! Also, cool idea with the headlights. I was thinking mine could a bit more flare. Maybe some fake buttons and dials to press and turn, too.

    1. If you have the outside room, a saodbnx would be great. My daughter was three when she first got her’s. She just turned 5, and one of her presents was a digger thing that we got at Northern Equipment that is kind of like a backhoe, and filled her saodbnx up with new sand. She got a lot of other really nice presents, but that was her favorite. He would probably like something like that.

  6. gerd

    It is nice, but i think you should cover the wheels with wood around so that nothing (e.g.the feet, fingers etc.) can come into the space between wheel and “do not know how to write in english)….also i think it would be goor to “round” the edges…

    Ans take bee wax for the wood!


  7. […] a blog that documents artist and designer Joel Henriques’ creations for his kids. I like his “modern kids’ ride on toy” that he made out of poplar wood and wheels from a hardware store. The overall construction is […]

  8. I might make a twist off this down the road- kinda a combo of one I did a ways back, yours, and with some other general weirdness mixed in for make magazine- if so, I’ll mention you/credit you in the video….

    1. Good eye Deek! Yeah, at first I used red electricians tape, because I wanted to make sure it looked good. But now I’m replacing the tape stripes by masking off the lines and painting them with red paint. Just using my artist acrylics. If you put enough coating over the tape, it might work, but still paint would be better I think.

      Oh, and a couple years ago I found the best non-toxic clear coat sealant for wood. It’s Crystal Urethane by Timber Pro Coatings. There are a couple places in Portland where you can buy it, but you can order it online too. Might be pretty good stuff for you play forts and stuff. It doesn’t smell at all. Quite nice.

    1. Ha, yes, I get that question a lot. Well most of them, like the cardboard ones can be flattened and put away in a drawer, or be recycled. But yeah, we kind of have a lot of toys on rotation. Our garage is one big playroom with tons of toys!

  9. Telly Lantier

    Hey Joel awesome idea my 2 yr. old son, who is all boy will love this! I would like to make it for Christmas and I saw the height and width on you sketch, but was wondering if the height was with the wheels add or without and if without what height about is the wood itself. Just so I could get a more accurate cut and not have to do trial and error lol! also did you cut out the hole in the back or just used a litter piece of wood to close it in. If you know off hand if not np I can get it just wondering! Thanks , I hope you dont mind a copy cat lol and i will definitely have to keep up on your site, I just stumbled onto it for the first time tonight! Thanks a bunch!

    1. Hi Telly. Yes, the hight includes the wheels. The body alone is about 6 inches tall. Also, the back is just a shorter piece of wood that I put in at the end. So total, there’s just 6 pieces of wood. (base, two sides, top, front end, and small back end board.)

      Have fun!

  10. Brilliant. Fun and functional with some storage space too – in case you need to take your teddy bear and blanky with you on a great adventure.

    Some kind of padding for the seat that keeps with the minimalist design would be good I think.