Boontje was born in the Netherlands to Dutch and Swedish parents. He studied at the Eindhoven Design Academy and later at the Royal College of Art, London. Boontje set up his company TranSglass, with the artist Emma Woffenden, making vases, carafes and glasses from salvaged wine bottles. He has collaborated with the fashion designers Shelley Fox, Alexander McQueen and Paul Smith, and has designed chandeliers for the crystal specialist Swarovski.