HO Scale Traffic and Rail Road Crossing Lights

I recently decided to make my own HO scale traffic and rail road crossing lights. For the purpose of my photos, I don’t need the expensive ones available that allow you to set timers for the change of the lights etc. I did want mine to be able to light up though, for my Headlights series. So, I set out to make my own.

Want to follow along? You’ll need: 2mm in diameter acrylic rhinestones, fine grit sand paper or nail file, tweezers, super glue, thin cardboard or matboard, black hobby paint, thin gauge jewelry wire, small paint brush, black coffee stirrer straw

How to Make HO Scale Traffic Lights


stop light color


  • gather the materials listed above
  • paint the an area of your cardboard black
  • cut a 6mm x 14mm rectangle from the painted cardboard
  • sand the foil backing off each acrylic rhinestone you plan to use
  • mark the placing of the 3 lights on your cut cardboard with pencil
  • ‘drill’ 3 holes in the marked locations to place the colored rhinestones on top of
  • place a drop of superglue in each hole and attach the rhinestones
  • paint the sides and back of your cut cardboard
  • cut 3 pieces of a black coffee stirrer – cut the stirrer in half lengthwise (through the hole) then cut pieces 2.5mm long
  • round one end of each of the 2.5mm coffee stirrer pieces
  • glue the coffee stirrer pieces over each rhinestone to create a ‘hood’
  • twist a length of thin jewelry wire to create a line that the traffic signals will hang from over the road
  • cut a 1 inch piece of thin jewelry wire and make it into a tiny hook/circle to connect to the traffic signal and hang from the line
  • attach the wire hook to your traffic signal with super glue
  • place a micro led behind the finished light to let the light shine through each rhinestone

How to make HO Scale Rail Road Crossing Lights


Gather the materials listed above, and follow along with the images in the gallery below. The original idea was to have a video tutorial for this one as well, but there were some technical difficulties…so screenshots it is.

  • Cut a 2.5 x 2.5 cm square from a piece of non-corrugated, compressed cardboard or matboard.
  • Draw a line from one corner, to the corner opposite on the cut square – creating an ‘x.’
  • Draw a line perpendicular in each corner measuring a 1/2 cm in length.
  • Connect the ends of each of the 1/2 cm lines to the end of the line in the opposite corner – creating an ‘x’ that is a 1/2 cm wide (see the first image below).
  • Cut out the space around the ‘x’ (see images 2 and 3). This is your Railroad Crossing sign.
  • Use glue to attach the sign to a black coffee stirrer. Leave about 1 cm of the coffee stirrer sticking out above the sign.
  • Sketch out the backing for your railroad crossing lights. Each circle should be 1 cm in diameter. leave them connected in the center. (see images 4 & 5).
  • Cut out the circles and attach to the coffee stirrer, directly below the ‘x’ with glue. (see images 4, 5 & 6)
  • Cut a piece of cardboard 1/2 x 7 cm. This will be the traffic stop.
  • Glue the 7 cm long piece of cardboard to your coffee stirrer, about 1 cm below your circles. If you would like this arm to move, rather than remain down, use a pin to poke through the coffee stirrer and into the arm, to make it movable. I suggest using a sewing pin, then cutting it down to size with wire cutters once it’s been poked through.
  • Let the glue dry a bit, then paint the ‘x’ and arm white, and the circles, black.
  • Once dry, add red lines to the traffic stop arm (see image 11).
  • ‘Drill’ holes in your circles with the point of an exacto knife.
  • Gather 2, 2 or 3 mm red acrylic rhinestones.
  • Use fine grit sandpaper or a nail file to sand off the foil backing of the rhinestones.
  • Use superglue to attach the rhinestones over the holes you drilled in the circles (see image 13.)
  • Cut a coffee stirrer in half and cut 2, 3 mm long pieces.
  • Round the edges of one side of each 3 mm piece.
  • Glue the flat side of the piece above each rhinestone to create a hood of sorts.

12 thoughts on “HO Scale Traffic and Rail Road Crossing Lights

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  1. That’s really cool! I love how you added the working lights. I made a couple of crossing signals for my N scale layout with rhinestones – haven’t tried lighting them.

    Good tutorial, too. Very nice work!

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