How to Make a Thai Spirit House

Written by megan shoop
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How to Make a Thai Spirit House
Miniature spirit houses grace nearly every home and business in Thailand. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

In Thailand, spirit houses are as common as mailboxes in other parts of the world, though their purpose is much more esoteric. Every home and business in Thailand has a spirit house hovering somewhere outside, according to Asian Art. These houses are meant to attract Phra Phum, a spirit that brings good fortune. The elaborateness of the house varies, but the purpose is always the same. The house must be carefully maintained to keep Phra Phum happy and the good fortune flowing.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Card stock
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Outlining pen
  • Paint markers
  • 10-inch square cardboard box
  • Craft spray paint
  • Utility knife
  • Phra Phum figurine
  • Tibetan dancer figurine
  • Man and woman figurines
  • Plastic horse
  • Plastic elephant
  • Two small, ceramic bowls
  • Water
  • Bread pieces

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  1. 1

    Sketch a house facade onto your card stock. It should be about 14 inches from the tip of the roof to the base and about 10 inches across. The roof should have long, wiggly points coming up from the bottom corners and a jewelled staff sticking up from the central point. Sketch a wide door, columns, swirling scroll work and six-petal flowers onto the facade

  2. 2

    Draw three more sides to your house. These should be about 12 inches from tip to base and 10 inches across. These sides need no doors but should have plenty of decoration, similar to the decoration on the front of the house.

  3. 3

    Cut out all three of your sides. Label them on the back so you know which side is which. Outline the details on each piece of cardstock with a fine-tipped outlining pen. Colour in the details with metallic and matt paint markers. The colours differ depending on the day you were born. Use red for Sunday, white and cream for Monday, pink and lilac for Tuesday, green for Wednesday, orange for Thursday, blue for Friday and black for Saturday. You may use different shades of your colours and decorate the house as opulently as you like.

  4. 4

    Place your 10-inch square cardboard box right side up on your work surface. Spray the box inside and out with craft spray paint that matches the colours of your house's sides. Allow the cardboard box to dry for 2 hours. Glue one house side to each side of the box and let it dry overnight. The paint prevents any cardboard that shows from looking out of place.

  5. 5

    Carefully cut out the door in your house with a utility knife. Place the spirit house somewhere where light flows into the top of the box. The door in the house should be wide enough that you can see clearly into the house.

  6. 6

    Place a figure of Phra Phum inside the house along with two small ceramic bowls. Fill one with water and place a little bread in the other. Set a Tibetan dancer, a man and woman, a horse and an elephant outside the house. This ensures Phra Phum has food, entertainment, transportation animals and people to keep his house clean.

Tips and warnings

  • Obtain your figurines from a local ethnic toy shop. You can also find these figures at religious sites online or create your own from paper.
  • Substitute special horse and elephant figures for plastic toys. Decorate them with bits of colourful cloth and paint to make them suitable.
  • Create a pleasant atmosphere around the house with a Zen rock garden and colourful potted flowers. You may also hang silk flower garlands on your house and burn incense near the entrance.

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