For festivals, for fancy dress, or just for fun.
Hi, I'm Seb Mayer, and cardboard is a very close friend of mine, he’s been showing up throughout my life since i was a child. We've only been working together in a professional sense for the past sixteen months, but in that time we've produced some very promising work, and now we're ready to share the fruits of our labour with a wider audience.
I founded Partly Animal to distribute my animal masks to the humans of the world. I mostly do animal masks because I can just steal ideas from the work of a much more skilled and ancient designer – Mother Nature.
For years, I’ve been wearing my creations to parties, festivals, and several times through customs at the airport, and everywhere I go I get people coming to ask “Where did you get that? Can I get one?” Until now I’ve always have to respond: “I made it, and I’m afraid it’s the only one there is.”
Well hopefully soon I can change that response to “I made it, and yes, there are enough for everyone!”
The chimpanzee is my most recent design, borrowing features from all the best masks I’ve made in the past. The system of tabs that hold it together has been perfected over the course of about 50 different prototypes, making it easier and quicker than ever to assemble. With the six-step instructions, most people can put one together in under 10 minutes. The record sits somewhere around 40 seconds.
Corrugated cardboard gets its strength from flutes of paper that run along within it. This mask has been designed from the start with the flutes in mind, so that when assembled they are perfectly aligned over the mask to make it as strong as possible.
You can knock it, drop it, pick it back up and put it on your head, which means you can get right into the crowd without worrying. Obviously it’s not indestructible; if you stamp on it or set it on fire you will ruin it, but last summer one particular mask endured travelling with me from London to Arles to Avignon to Basel to Freiburg to Berlin, back to the UK, and it had been to two festivals before the summer was over… It still looks good, sitting in my living room right now.
When the mask comes to the end of its life, it can be recycled. Unlike plastic or silicone masks which will spend the next few hundred years in a landfill, it will be reincarnated as a cereal box, or maybe a nice paper hat for next christmas. The only part of the mask that isn’t recyclable is two little rubber bands. Paper just isn’t stretchy enough, and believe me i’ve tried.
Unlike most masks, which sit against your face and feel claustrophobic, this mask sits on the top of your head and forehead but doesn’t touch your face. It’s spacious enough to breathe comfortably and you have complete freedom to move your mouth inside. The chimp eyes are set further apart than your human ones so you can see straight out between them. And if you don’t want to wear it all the time, you can push it back on top of your head and wear it like a cap: now you can see and your friends can recognise you!
The mask is designed to fit on a medium sized adult, but will fit on any head from juvenile to geriatric. Grownups love them. Kids love them. Last year, when I ran a stall at festivals with the big cat mask, we had interest from all age groups, and the only problem was we couldn’t sell them fast enough. It sounds boastful but it’s true; we were selling plain masks that you had to paint yourself, which can take an hour. So five-year-olds to thirty-year-olds were queuing up for their turn. This year, with ready-printed masks, it becomes a two-minute fancy dress solution: no queues, no hassle, just instant masked merriment.
All the prototypes you see in the video are made by hand, following a long, arduous process that can take three hours at a time. If I move to industrial production I can shorten that time to less than a minute.
The mask will be made using a combination of screen printing and litho cutting. I'll be outsourcing the production of the masks to an experienced manufacturer in the UK with the perfect tools for the job.
In the factory:
- High quality paper is silkscreen printed with a four-colour process and finished with a varnish layer.
- The paper is fixed to E-flute corrugated cardboard.
- A specially made die cutter is used to punch out the eight, perfectly cut and scored pieces.
- The mask sets are delivered to me, where I’ll package them along with the string, rubber bands, split pins, and instructions.
The end result is a stackable, postable, convenient flatpack with everything you need inside to become a chimpanzee.
WHERE YOUR MONEY GOES:
- Tooling costs for the printing plates and the die cutter.
- Raw materials and labour involved in production.
- Renting space for packaging and distributing the masks.
- Paying for a European Community Notified Body to certify the mask so I can legally sell it.
- Marketing the mask to retailers in the local area and further afield.
- Organising and preparing for touring a mask stall at festivals this summer, including festival deposits.
If i make more than my £7,500 target, i will put the money towards the finalisation and production of my next mask design. Ideally I'd like to have at least two different designs produced in time for mid July to sell at festivals.
7 March – 31st March – Kickstarter Campaign
1st April – 15th April – Payment Collection
16th April – 30th April – Production of Masks
1st May – 31st May – Packaging and Distribution
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
Back the project:
Make a pledge to help me get off my feet, and get yourself a wicked mask at the same time! Win-win!
Spread the word:
If you like the idea, share it with your friends using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or even using your old-fashioned mouth and vocal chords! (if any of you are still into that.)
Keep in touch:
Risks and challenges
The design of the mask has been tested over countless prototypes and I have had masks produced lithographically before. I am confident that my chosen manufacturer will produce the masks to the highest standard.
The largest challenge I foresee is setting up the production line for packaging the masks once they’re delivered to me. I’ve never had to package masks at such high quantities before, so to minimise the chance of orders coming late, I’ve budgeted a month of time for this task, which should be ample.
I also have to finish designing the packaging, which is very close to completion. But hey, if I can design a cardboard box in the likeness of a chimpanzee then I should be able to design one that looks like a rectangle, right?Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (24 days)