Introduction: Giant Stoplight Lamp

Everyone needs a stoplight.

Make a working stoplight in any size you want.

I made a 4 light version(standard 3 light - red, yellow, green) which also has a light for a left turn.


So I heeded the notice on the shipping box and will up-cycle it to be a giant stoplight lamp.

You can make the stoplight any size desired but I wanted to use what the materials I had on hand constrained me to. I've got a whole lot more cardboard boxes to recycle.

I had in my stash of craft supplies a sheet of this plastic cloth/mesh(for rug making. string art) which I will use to give a nice look to the lens/bezels of the individual lights.

I will use my microtroller and strand of neopixel leds to provide the lights and control the stoplight light up pattern.

I will use fiberfill to diffuse my LEDs.

And as usual, have the usual tools such as tape, glue, utility knife, scissors. and more scrap paper or cardboard to build this project.

Step 1: Cut It Out...

I had a used shipping box that was the perfect size for my project.

I tried tearing off all the packaging tape and labels but it had that fiber reinforced glue down tape which did not peel off completely. I just deconstructed the box at the corner joint. flipped everything over, recreased the folds and glued it back for an inside out box. It gave me a fresh clean cardboard surface to work with.

I then slit the end flaps in half and creased it in half. Since the box was originally a wide rectangle, you can reshape your box by refolding the ends and splitting the end flaps to make a slimmer rectangle.

Mark out where the lights will be. I had the cap of a large container that I could trace for the outline of the lights. You could plan and figure out the placement mathematically and use a compass to draw the circles but I just eyeballed it.

Cut out the holes for where the lights will be.

Cut 4 more pieces of cardboard to become the hood/visor for the light, It helps to have the grain of the cardboard going in/out of the light so that you can bend and crease the cardboard to fit into the hole for the light. Trim the front of the visor by cutting it to a rounded shape. Test the fit and look. Use that as a template to cut and trim the other visors. Glue in place. The excess can be left inside to help form the light baffle of each the lights so that they light up indiviually.

Step 2: Look Official...

Paint the stoplight in some shade of school bus yellow or traffic safety stoplight yellow. I used acrylic paint that I had resembling the right color.

Since this was a bare cardboard surface, I primed first with white acrylic paint which I had a lot of.

Cut out the plastic cloth/mesh to be the lens cover/bezel of each light. You could use anything to make it appear more realistic as a glass lens by using the bottoms of large plastic clear/frosted containers or drink botlles. Use small clear plastic bowls... Hot glue in the pieces covering the hole for the lights,

The grid will cast a shadow making these look like newer LED equipped traffic stoplights. Use pieces of window screening or similar if you don't have this plastic grill-like material.

Step 3: Red Light Green Light...

As usual, I had my microcontroller board with a strand of neopixels still wired up from another project.

Just find the inspiration to get maximum use of what you have on hand,

I mounted the neopixel strip in the stoplight,

I then diffused the lights by loosely packing some fiberfill and covering with dark paper/tinfoil to create individual shining lights.

I cut out a cardstock light mask/filter in the shape of the arrow to place in the bottom light opening.

It was then off to code in Circuitpython to make the lights work.

I suppose no makerspace big or small should be without one.

Now go and make your own stoplight lamp. You may have the only one in town.


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