Sophy Wong is a designer of 3D-printed fabrics, wearable electronics, and other amazing technology to up your cosplay game. She’s built everything from a lightsaber to LED manicures. Wong recently showed off her latest creations at SiliCon, Adam Savage’s convention that attracts a lot of makers. Her book Wearable Tech Projects covers everything from sewing and laser cutting to 3D printing and programming. Nerdist chatted with Wong about finally getting to build her own lightsaber and the difference between inspiration and motivation.
“The lightsaber build was especially fun because I got to collaborate with my friends Bill and Britt Doran at Punished Props,” says Wong. “I always learn new things and get ideas from visiting someone else’s shop. I definitely enjoy having total control over my projects when I work alone, but it’s also great to collaborate with amazing makers like Bill and Britt. I learned a lot, and I also got to contribute something significant to the build—those are two things I’m always looking for in a collaboration.”
The adorable Grogu tree-topper pictured below is another of her Star Wars builds. Wong 3D-printed and painted it but also 3D-printed candy ornaments to go on the Baby Yoda tree. A good idea since we know that he’ll get up to all sorts of trouble in search of food.
“I’m a very visual person,” says Wong. “So I’m very inspired by fashion, films, photography, architecture, and design. My natural habitat is a forest of visual research printouts, mood boards, swatches, and magazine clippings piled on top of art books.”
But as we all know, inspiration isn’t always enough to get a project done. “I also need some motivating factor, like an event or a client with a deadline, to act as a catalyst for my project,” she continues. “The perfect combination is: an exciting project idea, plus a dynamite way to showcase it, like a public event or a music video shoot. That kind of motivation creates magic!”
One such magical event is the Labyrinth Masquerade, which Wong has attended on multiple occasions. From the regal costumes to the whimsical goblin masks, it looks like a good time. Especially after all the work that clearly goes into it. Maybe I should attend someday. After all, the first dance at my vow renewal was to the song “As the World Falls Down” from the bubble scene in Labyrinth that inspires these balls.
Wong’s booth at SiliCon showcased her designs. But she also taught a live workshop so con-goers could make their own cyberpunk headset. “I designed a sci-fi looking headset, and we made laser cut kits containing everything you’d need to build one,” Wong states. “We did a workshop of 30 folks and we all made the headset together. Watching these headsets appear in real time in front of me, each person giving it their own unique spin, was such a thrill. Afterward some folks showed me their finished headsets at my booth—they were amazing!”
Wong also participated in panels at SiliCon. We attended was “Embracing New Technologies for Cosplay.” It showcased some cool techniques and the people using them. Other panelists included Michael Corrie from Props To History, Frank Pillar from Frankly Built , and Joel Telling of 3D Printing Nerd. As well as Ben Eadie from Foam Armory, a prop maker and special effects artists on movies like Ghostbusters: Afterlife and Prey. He’s also a regular on Adam Savage’s Tested channel.
In the Tested video below, Wong shows off some cool creations. Including an amazing spacesuit she made for herself which was also featured in a music video. Check out Sophy Wong’s YouTube channel and her website to find out more about her costumes and other cool builds.
“This was my first time attending SiliCon, and I already can’t wait for next year!” says Wong. “As a multidisciplinary designer/maker/costume-obsessed individual, this con brought all my worlds together like no other event ever has.” Sophy Wong’s designs were certainly a standout at the convention and I’ll be following to see what she does next.
Featured Image: Adam Savage’s Tested
Melissa is Nerdist’s science & technology staff writer. She also moderates “science of” panels at conventions and co-hosts Star Warsologies, a podcast about science and Star Wars. Follow her on Twitter @melissatruth.