"Playing became learning," he says, and now, at the age of 24, he has been working as a full-time artist in his parents' studio for six years.
Indeed, when most young boys are in the pub or playing football, Theys was hard at work perfecting the family craft, making flowers out of glass when he was only 13. At 16, he left Belgium for Venice, learning the old techniques of glass blowing in small workshops, just as his father had.
There's little opportunity to learn glass blowing in Belgium, Theys explains, so "you have to learn everything by yourself, do it every day again and again".
Wanting to move on to more unique, non-commercial projects, he began to work on larger installations. His speciality now is unique, ornamental pieces of glass - or glass paintings as the family refers to them.
When one walks into Theys & Miseur - the family's gallery situated on a small corner in the heart of the historical district of Leuven - one is immediately awestruck by the large glass panels hanging on the wall. These diptychs and triptychs of bubbling, whirling colours seem to be frozen like ice.
"I made most of these," Theys says. "Glass paintings are the biggest part of our business because people don't find them anywhere else. Vases and other objects you can find everywhere in all different colours, but glass paintings are unique."
The family has in fact invented their own technique, unlike anything else in the world, to create the glass plates. "We use different techniques of glass blowing, but also of glass fusing," Theys says. "We even make glass paint."
Theys and his parents - Daniel Theys and Chris Miseur - spend two days a week running the gallery and the rest working at the studio in Holsbeek, 10 kilometres from Leuven. Theys grew up here and finds the thought of leaving virtually inconceivable. "To make a piece, I always stay in Leuven or in Holsbeek," he says. "I can't work when I'm in another country. It's strange, but I have to have inspiration here."
Theys is an artist on a mission: most of his works are inspired by his own personal evolution theory, which examines peoples' decision to seclude themselves from the outside world. He captures moments of loneliness with his camera, using the photographs to inspire his collections.
"I photograph spaces - empty lounge bars, empty theatres - to show that many people are living on their own, not in a group. People spend their evenings looking at their televisions, they don't come out."
Although they share the same work space, Theys and his parents have their own artistic agendas and specific techniques. Theys prefers glass blowing, a technique that goes into creating the large glass plates.
Theys' father, meanwhile, has spent most of his glass-making career working on stained glass windows. He entered the field in 1985 after completing a few small restoration projects on stained glass. He avoids using Christian themes or tailored symmetrical shapes, instead going for jagged edges and modern forms. One piece, displayed in the stairway of the gallery, features asymmetrical shards jutting into each other from every direction, somehow morphing into the shapes of flowers - as if Picasso had ventured into glassmaking.
Theys' mother works mostly with jewellery. Several necklaces are displayed in a long, glass case at the back of the gallery. Theys has worked on a few projects with his father; last year they made a large stained-glass window for a church in Tremelo to honour Father Damien, the 19th-century priest who was made a saint last year by the Catholic church. Theys drafted the design, and his father executed it.
"It was a little bit different - not typical for Christian stained-glass windows," notes Theys. A few months ago, the two began work on a giant chandelier made of several hundred small glass pieces.
The family has plans to expand the business, possibly to Brussels, Antwerp, Ostend or even internationally. But their plans are still very much in the early stages. "It's not easy to find the right people to work with," Theys says. "You have to find a really good gallery."
Most of their customers are tourists who wander in, but some are customers who come back several times to purchase an entire collection. The family's work has travelled all over the world - everywhere from Japan to South Africa. Some international customers come in and buy several pieces to take back to their country to sell. They are also represented in galleries all over the Netherlands.
To expand their global reach even further, Theys hopes to one day be able to sell his family's work online, but he admits it is not the ideal setting to sell such unique pieces. It's true: the immense beauty of the work of the Theys family cannot really be captured on film. "At the moment, the website is not good enough," he confesses, "but it is difficult to order pieces like this online because you have to see it in person."