Five minutes with Flatout Frankie

Five minutes with Flatout Frankie
Behind Flatout Frankie is Sarah Gardner and a bunch of people who just happen to get a kick out of cardboard, folding, construction, great design and good old-fashioned play!

Behind Flatout Frankie is Sarah Gardner and a bunch of people who just happen to get a kick out of cardboard, folding, construction, great design and good old-fashioned play!

flatout frankie sarah gardner cardboard toysI came up with the idea when it was time to head back to work and [my daughter] Lucy was old enough to do without me for a few hours a day. I had already made a few hand-drawn ovens for family and friends, so knew I loved doing this kind of thing. I could either go back to freelance graphic design work, or mix together two of my obvious passions – graphic design and kids. It was an easy choice, to cardboard toy land we went.

Our designs are done by thinking of something I fancy kids playing with or having in our house. Making teeny-tiny prototypes (which are so darn cute, I need to do something mini one day soon) and then big ones to test and play with. If we still love them, we get busy manufacturing.

In a former life, I travelled around the world gathering inspiration in a cardboard rocket.

My favourite Flatout Frankie toy is the Little Cook Oven (pictured left). Not only is it a constantly played with toy in our house, by both boys and girls, it also works as a great little storage unit. It’s amazing how many things we can fit in it! I am considering installing a row of them along one wall.

Not many people know this, but Flatout Frankie was nearly called Flat Mabel. I still love this name, and think there may be a cardboard character down the line called Mabel, and yes, she will be flat.

After school at Flatout Frankie, we dance.