I love seeing treasure chests in game. Whether they are hidden out in the camp, or just sitting around someone’s in-game area, I love to see them.
Sadly, getting pretty, finished treasure chests can be expensive. So, I have a few suggestions for making some on a budget.
You can get un-stained boxes from stores like AC Moore or Michaels. I LOVE these, because they are durable, and look really pretty. If you get one of these (5-10 dollars a piece) and stain them yourself, you can get a lovely effect without breaking the bank.
If you are a GM, and are going to hide these chests in game, remember to not only stain the outside, but to get the bottom of the box, and the entirety of the inside. You may want to also put a water-proof lacquer finish, so that your chests will hold up to the elements.
If you don’t have the money to spend, or if you are a GM, and are concerned about weather destroying your props (or players not returning your props), then you can use shoe boxes.
In this case, simply take the shoe-box and some textured spray paint from Home Depot, Lowes, Walmart, or any craft store. Coat the entire outside of the box, and then the inside, in a layer of appropriately colored spray-paint. Then you can take silver or gold paint and daub on dots where rivets might be, or paint the corners of the box in a metallic shade to make it appear as though there are metal edges.
These will look in-game enough that they will add to your game world, and are cheap enough that a light rain will not set you back 50 bucks.
With these, obviously you have logos to worry about. Sometimes they are ornate enough that they can add to the game feel of the box. If not, sand them off and re-stain the box. You can also paint over them with acrylic paint, spray them down with textured spray paint, or, if you are really pressed for time, glue parchment paper or tin-foil over it.
If you want to get a few of these, check out your local cigar store, and see if they will let you take away some of their empty cigar boxes from their display cigars. It never hurts to ask!
There are plenty of ways to make little treasure boxes without having to spend a lot of money. What other ways have you made treasure chests in your LARPing (or crafting) career?