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Creating Your Pirate Treasure Scene

Sometimes we can feel discouraged when we can't quite recreate the bounty of treasure that we have in our minds to rewards the participants in the pirate treasure hunt that we create. We envision piles of gold coins, rubies and sapphires, elegant silks and gold trinkets…and of course, that oh so important treasure chest! Although you may be able to have that Hollywood-quality finish to your hunt, we do have some great ideas to beef up your final treasure scene.

Before we begin discussing the different types of things that you can use to beef up your treasure, let's consider placement and juxtaposition first. HOW you set up your treasure has a lot to do with the 'wow factor' that you are probably looking to achieve. Think of the old technique when you were a child at the dinner table. When you wanted to make it look like you ate all of your veggies (in my case, it was those darn peas) what did you do? That's right…you spread them around your plate to make it LOOK like there was less then there actually was. In reverse, use this concept when displaying your treasure. Stack it! Do you have a pedestal to put it on? Even better. A pedestal ON a pedestal? Potentially even better. When something is elevated, it has an appearance of more and better.

A second thing to consider before you start to arrange your treasure is the notion that cheating is ok. By cheating, I'm referring to making it look like more than you actually have. Consider crunching up some newspaper into a pile and throwing a gold lame fabric over it to 'simulate' a pile of gold (lame read like 'la-may' - VERY shiny stuff!) This goes double for whatever treasure chest you are trying to fill. Stuff that thing with as much cardboard as you can and throw a yard of nice gold fabric right over the top! For best results, make sure that the surface is uneven or it won't have the same feel as real treasure.


A final suggestion is to take a couple of pieces and lay them just outside of the pile in such a way as to make it look like it 'fell out' because there was just too much treasure in a pile. It sounds like a simple trick - but very effective!

Ok…now the treasure stuff…

A great place to start is in your own home…and your friends and family. Ask around for any type of brass object that you might be able to borrow, keeping track of what items you borrowed from which friend and family member lest you lose a couple…not items but friends. These are great piled on top of each other! For those with a few extra bucks to spend can also frequent a few garage sales and thrift stores. You'd be surprised at the 'treasure' you'd find there!

Create some gold objects. How? Glad you asked. Get your hands on as many trinket statues of any type that you have. Garage sales are great for this! You can pick little nick-knacks up for a quarter a piece. Now take a single can of gold spray paint and cover the statues and figurines! Remember that they can be made of any material if your treasure is for looks only. Keep in mind when you are choosing your items to paint that the features aren't painted on. For example, if you have a figurine with a face that is painted on only then when you cover it with the gold spray paint you'll end up with a featureless face!

If you have a pile of gold objects and want to give them a visual punch, pick up a cheap yellow light bulb at your local hardware store. Illuminating your treasure with a yellow light bulb will actually help your treasure to be extra 'golden.'

To create a visual of a lot of gems, weave into the pile of treasure a string of colored Christmas lights. Yep, Christmas lights. Based on the size of your treasure pile you'll have to experiment with how much of the string that you'd like to use. To many lights will detract from the overall effect. Have fun experimenting with them…including the strings of lights with fading dimmers!

There are also things that you can do to boost the scene outside of adding more treasure. Consider having some appropriate pirate music playing from just behind your treasure. A nice harp tune sounds great when approaching a big pile of gold. Visit your local library or check some music choices online.

Other things that you can use to decorate your scene would include garden lanterns, pirate maps, a shovel and some dirt (yep…actual dirt!) These types of objects can help create a more robust scene visually…but too much will detract from the treasure itself so choose wisely.

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