Townsend Elementary students looked like characters who had stepped out of books Wednesday, and in the art classroom it appeared they could be trying to find a way home.

Character dress-up day happened to coincide with a visit from Keep Blount Beautiful and a lesson on making new paper from old.

“It’s a hands-on way of showing recycling,” said KBB Executive Director Alanna McKissack.

She and Program Coordinator Brittney Whipple led ballet dancers, ninjas, zombies and dinosaurs through the steps, allowing them to choose bits of construction paper to create the students’ favorite colors when mixed in blenders with water and shredded office paper.

Students sponged excess water off screens holding the paper mixture, then flattened and further dried the new sheets of paper by wrapping them in drying towels and applying a rolling pin.

After the paper has dried, the students will use it in other art projects. Teacher Yvonne Smith said it’s one of her favorite activities with the students in grades K-5.

“They’ve made every step of the project,” she said, including the paper.

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