We make our own paper. We use old paper and tear it up. It's a way of recycling so we don't have to chop down more trees. We make paper with Mama Jenny and Mama Elizabeth.
The paper we use comes from the classroom. We also find paper in the trash cans. To tear it up, we just take it in our hands and rip it into little pieces. After we tear up maybe 156 pieces of paper, we soak the pieces in a big tub of water. It only soaks for a few seconds. Then we put the paper in a blender, the same kind of blender you make smoothies in. When we turn on the blender, it looks like throw-up because the green and yellow paper are getting mixed up together. We run the blender for about one minute. Then it looks like grits.
Only the white paper looks like grits. It's thick and soft and a little mushy like oatmeal. It's also a little bit ticklish like spit if you put some in your hand. Now we empty the mixed-up paper from the blender back into the tub of water. Then we use a piece of screen to strain all of the water out of the paper. Now we have to turn all this wet paper into dry paper.
The main tool we use for making the new paper is a press that Mama Jenny made out of two big pieces of wood. First you put a cloth on one piece of wood. On top of the cloth you pour the wet paper mix. Then you cover the wet paper mix with another piece of cloth. On top of that you lay the second piece of wood. Now you have to press it all together. We press it with our hands. Sometimes we stand on it. We stand on it until most of the water comes out. That only takes about half a minute.
The paper has to dry overnight. First we take it out of the press. It's kind of dry. We put it on a shelf or on a table with the cloth still under it. When we come back to After Four the next day, the paper is finished. Now we can make books out of it.