Effigy Build Application

We, the Effigy Council, are filled to the brim with joy knowing people who love to build big things and burn them to the ground exist. This passion has fueled our desire to create a one-stop-shop for all of your effigy building desires. Reading and understanding the following information, in its entirety, will help us work together to see this project through.

We’ve outlined ALL the information that you need to create and submit a proposal along with important expectations of the Effigy Build Lead and Crew. If you don’t know everything don’t stress it as the purpose of the Effigy Council is to not only choose the next effigy, but to consult with the effigy lead and builders in getting it constructed. If you have questions, please email effigy@lakesoffire.org

The  members of the Effigy Council will score each application. All factors that we score on are located in this document. The more detailed proposal you can give us the better. The winner who gets their design chosen will be the new Effigy Lead. Once the project is done the lead (if you choose) can be a member of the Effigy Council to help choose and mentor the next effigy for the following year.

Please include contact information (Name, Playa Name, Email, Phone Number) for your Build Lead and/or Effigy Lead when you submit your proposal. The application deadline for 2019 is January 15 at 10pm EST.

The application schedule is:

  • Jan 15: Submission deadline to Effigy@lakesoffire.org
  • Jan 22: Council Meeting to review applications
  • Jan 22-Feb 5: clarifying and updating conversations with chosen proposals
  • Feb 5: Final council meeting
  • Feb 10th ISH: Announcement of the Effigy

Option 1: You have an idea but don’t have a build crew:

SWEET! Please email effigy@lakesoffire.org with:

  • A detailed description of your project. (Please address everything below under Proposal Requirements, keeping in mind everything under Limitations and Expectations)
  • A drawing if you have one.

It’s OK if these things are not perfect, we understand. We’ll submit your idea to a group of people who love to build things. We’ll wait to see if any of them are interested in taking your idea and running with it.

Option 2: You have an idea and a build crew:

WOOHOO! Please submit a thorough proposal to effigy@lakesoffire.org. Below is a guideline to assist you in getting your proposal off the ground. (Please address everything below under Proposal Requirements, keeping in mind everything under Limitations and Expectations.)

Building an effigy requires dedication to detail; your application provides us with a first impression of your ability. We have included examples of several previous applications for you to understand what we are looking for. Detailed, complete proposals have a better chance of being selected.

  • 2012: DPL Effigy – Click Here to View the Submission
  • 2012: Fort Effigy – Click Here to View Submission – This was not chosen for the 2012 effigy, but still a great proposal.
  • 2014: Mundus Absurdus Templgy – Click Here to View the Submission


  • Please view the list of Prohibited Materials here.
  • Due to space constraints the size of the effigy and its footprint at the maximum amount is 20 feet by 30 feet and 25 feet high. This is non-negotiable
  • The total amount of wood used must be less than 4,500 lbs.
  • Budget $8,000.
    • The Effigy budget will not cover the purchase of tools (saws, drills etc). The budget is good for:
      • Hardware: bolts/screws/wood (indicate sizes and amounts in the proposal)
      • Paint
      • Replacement drill bits, saw blade, etc
      • Transportation of the effigy to/from LOF
      • Lighting purchasing (but we do have some already and we would like you to resuse if possible) 
      • Flame effect propane
      • Gas for generator (if using one)
      • Decoration
      • Small amounts of swag
    • Misused or unapproved purchases are considered disrespectful to the community at large and are not allowed. Misappropriated funds will have to be paid back to GLEA, the governing entity of Lakes of Fire (the organizing branch that allocates funds from each year’s ticket sales to pay for the effigy).
    • Any money spent outside of the approved budget will be the sole responsibility of Artist.
    • All items purchased with the intent of building the structure are the property of GLEA and must be returned to a member of the Effigy Council before the final payment of grant monies are distributed.
      • Items to be returned include anything that was purchased using GLEA funds and wasn’t burnt to the ground. 
    • All funding for the Effigy is to come through GLEA and the Effigy design build crew only. Any outside fundraising and solicitation is strongly discouraged and is to be reviewed by GLEA before initiating.
    • Upon award of project and project funding, any subsequent budgetary adjustments must be reviewed by GLEA before proceeding.
  • The effigy build crew must be prepared to regularly participate with the rest of the effigy building departments through google group and conference calls. Failure to participate in these calls will make everyone’s jobs more difficult.
  • A member of the Effigy Council is required to come and view and/or participate in several of your build days. This allows us to see how your team works together, the construction of the piece and to troubleshoot any issues that might happen. Any suggestions that come from the Effigy Council member need to be listened to in detail and taken into account. If the build crew is not ok with these suggestions or these visits, please state so and we will kindly put your application aside
  • Effigy build crew will have access to the site starting the Friday evening before the event. The piece needs to be fully constructed, decorated, lit up, etc by Wednesday afternoon on opening day.
  • Only one point of contact is necessary but more are welcome.
  • Never at any point is the build crew/lead to contact the local fire department. This is not your responsibility or your role. FAST will handle all communication with the fire department, permit creation and obtainment.
  • Fireworks: GLEA hires a licensed and insured fireworks company to install and execute a beautiful fireworks show. There is a separate budget of $4,500 for this piece of the Effigy. The Effigy build lead will be a part of the conversations with the fireworks company to create an event that showcases the Effigy. These conversations will be initiated by FAST.
  • Onsite Expectations: So you built it, you transported it, you assembled it… alas your work is not done. Effigy lead will have a radio the whole event. This radio is used for FAST and other departments to communicate with the Effigy lead about any number of things. There is a dedicated channel for this communication. A responsible and appointed in charge member of the Effigy Build crew must be onsite AT ALL TIMES and in a position to be able to make important decision should they arise about the Effigy.
  • LNT: The Effigy Build crew is responsible for the full LNT of the effigy burn site.  This is done Sunday morning till the job is all cleaned up.
  • DMV: Effigy build crew will be allotted 1 cart from DMV to use. This cart will be available to you from when the carts are delivered onsite till Thursday am, then it will be given back to you Saturday evening through Sunday afternoon. The cart is only allowed to be used for Effigy build matters. Abuse of the cart will result in removal of the cart from your care and if damages have occurred, driver will be responsible for damages.
  • Effigy Contract: If your design is chosen, you will be given an Effigy Contract for the Effigy Lead to sign. This contract must be signed before money can be given for the project.


Any and all answers are respected. We need to know how we can best assist the project. Your honesty will only help the Effigy Council support you more from start to finish. We are all one big team.

  • Effigy Vision: Give us a fantastic introduction, include the vibe of the piece, the intention, how you came up with the idea, theme incorporation, is there anything super special about this piece? A hidden element? Make us feel your inspiration.
  • Group Introduction: Please introduce you and / or your group to us. Include skills you have, talents you possess, previous build/project experience, leadership capabilities and burner resume. How many Lakes of Fire / burner events have you participated in? Additionally, we want to know what are your weak points. This could include:
    • Maybe you have never led a project like this before.
    • Maybe you hate using a saw.
    • Maybe you are bad at budgeting.
  • Prior Projects: If you have built prior projects and/or burning structures please tell us a little bit about them and what you have learned from each piece/project.
  • Drawings and Diagrams: Hand drawn, computer illustrated and/or blueprints.
    • Outside view of the effigy – in all it’s glory
    • Outside view of the effigy including dimensions
    • Inside view of the effigy – in all it’s glory – include any decorations or accoutrements
    • Inside structural diagrams – including dimensions, thoughts on weight load
  • Materials: What is your effigy made out of? Please list all materials used. Including lighting, sound, decorations, wood, screws etc. There are certain items that are not allowed to be used in burnable art at Lakes of Fire. (Please view the list of Prohibited Materials.)
  • Budget:
    • $8,000. Please do not make $8,000 your goal if the project does not need it.
    • Where are you sourcing your materials? Are you buying lumber from craigslist? Bolts from Home Depot?  Knowing this information tell us that you’ve done your research. After full review, we may be able to offer you a more inexpensive alternative to your originally sourced sources. We’ve done this a couple of times.
    • The Effigy Build Team is required to fill in a GLEA specific budget form and to continually update this budget. Failure to do so in a timely manner could result in lack of reimbursement. The form will be given to you when you submit your signed contract for the project.
  • Participation and Interaction potential: We all like to play and climb on things. If your piece has been designed around the elements of participation and / or interaction, please tell us about them.
    • Include potential safety hazards that might arise from people interacting with your piece, and any thoughts you may have regarding minimizing those hazards.
  • Build Logistics:
    • Build Plan: Create a schedule based on anticipated milestones
      • Milestone 1: Purchasing of materials
      • Milestone 2: Date you / your team begins using materials
      • Milestone 3: Date of 25% total project completion
      • Milestone 4: Date of 50% total project completion
      • Milestone 5: Date of 75% total project completion
      • Milestone 6: Date of project dry fit
        • The dry fit date must happen at least 2 weeks before the piece is transported to LOF to ensure there is enough time to make structural or other changes, if necessary.
        • Project dry fit date needs to be communicated so a member of the effigy council can come and inspect the piece for structural stability.
        • Communicate any changes to this date at least 2 weeks in advance.
      • Milestone 7: A detailed account of what you will need onsite to build, finish and open the structure to the public.
    • On-Site Build Schedule:
      • Prefabricated structural component allow for ease of assembly on site, and should be considered in the design and build plan. Ideally, the Effigy will require minimal time for assembling the structural components at the LOF site. The majority of time on site should be budgeted for cladding/finishing, lighting and decoration.
    • Build Location: An important piece about your project is the home in which it will be created. Please tell us a bit about the space, where it is located (address is extra brownie points) and any limitations or benefits you know about with the space.
  • Safety Plan: Take a bird’s eye view to anticipate how someone, anyone of any size, might injure themselves while interacting with your piece.
    • Do changes need to be made to make it safer?
    • How have you incorporated safety into your design?
  • Your Burn Vision: We know what it looks like now but how do you envision it looking like when it burns? How do you envision lighting it? If you don’t have a vision yet, that is OK. FAST (Fire Arts Safety Team) will work with you on this.
  • LNT: We are a Leave No Trace event. After years of doing effigy cleanups, we have a very good idea of how the process works and are willing to train volunteers. Do you have a plan or crew available to work LNT on Sunday morning starting at 9am – till it is done?
  • Volunteers (Build, docent, perimeter, LNT): Your project will require a variety of volunteers to help you succeed.
    • Do you have a volunteer manager?
    • How do you plan on recruiting volunteers?
    • How will you create space for the general population of Lakes of Fire to help out and/or create things for the Effigy?
  • Flame Effects: We love them, we know you do too. ALL flame effects have to be approved by the Effigy Council. Please tell us in your proposal if you have plans on building your own.
    • If you do not have one but would like to use one – GLEA has several flame effect available for the Effigy project every year. You are welcome to incorporate this effect or not. We encourage it!
    • FAST will provide trained volunteers to man the flame effect if you do not have any trained volunteers in your group.