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The Craft

Big ol' Pile of Treasure

by Marie Post
aka Rastl Deeperdown

I needed a big ol' pile of treasure. Actually the request was for a dragon's hoard. Same difference. So I decided to make one. Here's how.

I used Hirst Arts floor tiles for the base. It's a 3 x 4 tile section, which comes out to 15 x 20 feet in game.

The bulk of the pile is hot glue. Lots and lots of hot glue. The trick here is to build up the layers slowly.

Here you can see the various layers. As you build the pile think about how the coins would slide and flow. They move very much like water. Or maybe lava. Since I don't have a huge pile of coins to experiment with let's call it water-lava. So let the glue define the shapes.

Let it harden. No need to rush this.

Now come the jewels. I used the plastic bits from a cheap suncatcher kit. These are the crystals you can melt in the oven to make really fake looking stained glass. They work great for this scale and get you away from the whole rhinestone effect.

I used straight PVA glue (cheap stuff at that) and used tweezers to place the jewels where I thought they would look best. No real method to this one. I placed the jewels before the coins because I wanted them to look buried in the piles. Add other stuff if you want. If you're going to add weapons or other things paint them up first. If you want them sticking out of the pile cut them down and use the hot glue gun to melt a hole. Fill in around the item with hot glue.

Again, let it dry. You want this really dry so you don't knock them around or off when you start applying glue for the coins.

Coins! What would a treasure pile be without coins?? In this case, glitter. Look for glitter that's little circles instead of the rectangles you normally find. There's a glitter at Hobby Lobby that has no brand name. It comes in pound jars and the circles are about 0.04". Perfect!

I watered down some of the same cheap PVA white glue and used an old terrain brush to cover the entire hot glue surface. Work reasonably quickly and try to get as much as possible. Don't forget to put a line of glue where the hot glue meets the floor tiles - you want it to look like a pile sitting on the floor. Dump glitter all over the thing. Tilt it to make sure you get all the inner bits.

Let it dry. You'll find that you'll need to touch up some spots, particularly on the edges of the hot glue. Do the same thing - watered down PVA and a brush. Add glitter. Go to the next empty spot. Keep going until you think you've got it covered. Let dry. Find a few more empty spots, curse, and do the glue thing again. By now it should be done. Let dry.

Last and final. Make a black wash or use black ink and go over the entire thing. You want to add some shadows and definition. Let dry and hit with varnish. I used matte because I didn't want the floor to be shiny. Even with matte the coins glitter quite nicely.

And there you go! A big ol' pile of treasure to find!