Realistic Road Markings For OO Gauge Model Railways Using Stencils

Realistic Road Markings For OO Gauge Model Railways Using Stencils


Have you ever stopped to study road markings? Road markings are one of those things we see every day on our travels & don't really give a second thought about them. Next time you are out & about, take a little time to observe the road markings & what type of condition they are in. On new roads, the road markings will be solid & bright. On older roads, the road markings will generally look duller & more weathered, unless they've just been repainted. 

There will also be old road markings that have worn & faded away, as in the example in the image above. The more you look & observe the real thing, the more you'll notice the worn road markings. Many modellers paint their road markings as pristine, however As modellers we aim to recreate our miniature worlds as realistically as we can. In this guide, we'll cover how to create road markings with a more natural realistic worn effect.

Table of Contents

  • What do I need to create realistic road markings?
  • How do I use the stencils?
  • Cleaning the road mark stencils


What Do I Need To Create Realistic Road Markings On My OO Gauge Model Railway Layout?

You'll need our RX001-OO road markings stencils set which covers virtually most of the UK road markings.  We also have two other road marking stand-alone stencil kits, these are the RX002-OO Car Park Markings & RX003-OO Bus Stop / Taxi Bay Markings. You'll also need the following tools/items:

  • Scissors
  • Make-up artist sponge or kitchen scouring sponge
  • Small paint brush
  • Ruler
  • Pencil & eraser rubber
  • Old cloth for wiping excess paint away
  • Acrylic paint such as artist's acrylic paint

How Do I Use The OO Gauge Road Marking Stencils?

Our road marking stencil kits are precision-cut and specifically designed to be easily divided into smaller sections, making them a perfect fit for your model roadways. With perforated cutting lines on each stencil sheet, you can easily cut & divide them into smaller manageable sections.

Start by cutting along the section cutting lines to separate the stencils into smaller manageable sections as seen below.

The stencils after being cut into small sections. Now ready for use with the paints for marking the roads.

For the road surface, there are a number of ways to model, including:

For this specific example, I've used a sheet of greyboard card as the road baselayer and applied a coat of Woodland Scenics Asphalt Top Coat Road Surface Paint.

To apply the paint for the road markings, you'll want to use a sponge or makeup sponge applicator. One cheap way I recommend is using a kitchen scouring sponge. Those supermarket cheap budget yellow ones with a green scouring pad are ideal. Simply cut the yellow sponge into strips so that each sponge strip is wide enough to dip into a paint pot. Use a pair of scissors as shown below. For best results, use a different sponge strip for each colour - one for the white road markings and another for the yellow road markings. This will ensure that the two colours don't get mixed. 

With the sponge now cut into strips, remove the green scouring part. Simply pull the scouring part off the sponge (as shown below) & just discard it. 

The kitchen sponge is ready to be used as a model paint applicator.

For the paints, I'm using Revell's acrylic water-based paints. The colours are white and yellow. We highly recommend using mat acrylic water-based paints with stencils as they make cleaning up afterwards easier. Clean with warm water after use. 

To make sure the markings will be positioned correctly, draw a faint guideline using a pencil & ruler on the road surface as shown in the image below. This will help guide you and ensure correct alignment. Don't worry about the guidelines too much - as they are easily removed later on using a rubber eraser.

Place your chosen stencil on top of the pencil guideline. Make sure that the lines to be painted are perfectly aligned with the faint pencil-marked guideline. This technique works very well. In the photo below I'm using the pencil guideline to align the left-hand side of the bus stop markings to their correct position, as indicated by the two orange arrows.

Now, give the paint a good stir for a few minutes to ensure that it is thoroughly mixed.

To get the best results, dip the end of the sponge into the paint pot. Remember, you only need a minimal amount of paint on the end of the sponge strip. Allow a few minutes for the paint to become tacky before moving on to the next stage.


Wipe away any excess paint from the end of the sponge onto a kitchen paper towel. Remember, only a bare minimum amount of paint is necessary on the sponge.

Holding the stencil so that it does not move, gently lightly dab the sponge onto the stencil markings. 

TIP: Use masking tape to temporarily hold the stencil in place. 

Apply varying amounts of paint to create more realistic-looking road markings. Mimic natural wear and tear of real-life road markings by leaving some areas more faded while leaving others more defined. Using this technique achieves the most authentic look for worn road markings.

Now that the paint has been applied to the road surface, carefully lift up and remove the stencil from the roadway.

If you get any paint seepage under the stencil, correcting it is very easy to do. Simply touch up the affected area with the same colour paint as the surrounding road surface. For best results, use a small flat paintbrush to apply the road surface paint, as shown in the image below.

Moving on, the rest of the bus stop markings have been painted. Here below the painted bus stop road markings have fully dried. Since we're aiming for a worn look, there's no need to worry if any small bits of road markings are missing. In fact, worn road markings often have bits that are partly or completely faded away. To take the realism even further, apply weathering pastels or powders to further enhance the worn effect.

The white centre-line road markings

To ensure precise placement of the stencil for the centre road marking line, mark a faint guideline in pencil on the centre of the road. Place the stencil with the road marking centre line of your choice over the faint pencil guideline. Alternatively, here as our road way is a wider one, we're using the dashed yellow line as a helpful positioning guide (as highlighted by the orange arrows) for the centre white lines. With the stencils in the correct position, it's time to add the white centre road markings. The dashed line between the two white arrows is the one we're using here. 

Using a new sponge strip! To ensure the best results as before, dip it into the white acrylic paint pot and take only a small amount of paint on the end of the sponge. Remember to wipe off any excess paint onto a paper towel. Wait for the paint on the sponge to become slightly tacky before applying it to the stencil, as shown below.

Dab the sponge with the white paint following the dashed stencil line, as shown in the image below. Reposition the stencil as needed and repeat the process as required along the roadway.

The image below shows the centre white line road markings after painting. To achieve a faded and worn-out appearance for these markings, use the dry sponge method which is the bear minimum amount of paint on the sponge. It's a well-used method that gives the desired effect of faded/worn road markings.

If any paint seeps under the stencil edges, as before, touch up the overspill/seepage using a small paintbrush with paint to match the surrounding road surface. As shown below.

Filling the gaps

For continuous lines such as the Double Yellow no parking lines or the solid white no overtaking lines, there will be gaps left by the stencil. As shown in the image below. We'll now show how to fill in the gaps.

Lay the stencil over the painted double yellow lines. But this time, place the end sections of the double yellow lines over the previously painted portions on the road. This reveals the gaps in the painted double yellow lines. See the image below.

Now, apply the paint again as before by dabbing the sponge over the unpainted gap sections. This method will fill in the gaps. Repeat this process until all gaps are filled in as required. As shown in the image below.

Carefully lift & remove the stencils away from the roadway. If there is any paint overspill/seepage on the road surface from the road markings paint, touch up with paint that matches the road surface. The image below shows the road after completing the painting of the road markings.

Cleaning the Road Marking Stencils

Clean the stencils with warm water and washing-up liquid. Carefully use a nail brush to gently remove any stubborn paint bits. Take care not to damage the stencil. Once cleaned, dry the stencils with a cloth or towel. Place the stencils back in their packet, ready for use next time.

A final tip…

For areas that have the yellow hatched hazard box markings, the hatch hazard box stencils can be used repeatedly to cover bigger areas such as the loading point on a container rail-served depot, as seen in the image below. We've given them a worn well-used look.

Happy Modelling




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"Simply pull the scouring part off the sponge...& just discard it."

Throw something away?


I've never heard such sacrilege! You should be able to find a use for it; N guage hedge,flower border or a climbing plant maybe. Or how about for applying weathering powder or mud and rust.

The last thing I (reluctantly), threw away, was scale out of my kettle. And that was only after a month of letting it dry and racking my brain for ideas! (True story).

Thank you for a great article, despite this.

Thanks for the information

Looking for ideas for box junction and double yellow lines