Try to keep a cat out of the styrofoam crumbles. Try. I dare you.
'Twas almost a shame to vacuum them up, she was enjoying them so.
Let me say something about waiting for papier-mâché-like substances to dry in Seattle: you're in for a loooong-ass wait. Happily, I have a hair dryer, and so we finally got the top dry enough to flip the base over for a nice firming application of Cellu-Clay to the underbelly. The cat believes she can be of some help here:
Yes, Misha, very helpful. Especially when you got bored and wandered off ten seconds later.
One hour and a thorough application of Cellu-Clay later, the base of the base is now nice and firm. We shall have no tragic breakages as it's placed in the aquarium. Although I had a fear it wouldn't fit. After spending a considerable amount of time with the hair dryer, the base was dry enough to test, and it slipped in without a problem:
ZOMG, something went right.
Now all I have to do is wait for it to dry all the way through and then paint the damned thing. I spent a good portion of last night experimenting on a test surface I'd made, and I think I've mostly got the colors and blending figured out. Once that's accomplished, in the base goes, and then I can get to work on shelves. I've figured out how to do it essentially painlessly - as long as Home Despot can cut things to the proper size for me. A bit o' gluing, a bit o' painting, add sand and rocks, et voila - interesting rock collection.
I'm sure the cat will be of great service throughout.
Hope you're all enjoying your Labor Day with your respective felines, my darlings. Even if it does decide to rain everybody in the Northwest out.