Oh Snap! Clay Wishbones!

DIY Clay Wishbone Tutorial


 Every chicken or turkey dinner, especially Thanksgiving we’ve ever had, we’ve had a problem – not enough wishbones!


Problem: One Chicken = One Wishbone

Considering that there is probably NO evolutionary benefit for a chicken to have more than one wishbone, or “furcula,” I didn’t think waiting for evolution, genetic mutation, a bio-engineer to design a many wishboned chicken, or God (if you’re a creationist) would solve our problem anytime soon — so, I took matters into my own hands.

Problem 2: If you have cats, leaving wishbones around to dry is a silly and futile endeavor.

Solution: Make as many wishbones as you want – with CLAY!

Clay, if you use the right type, formed into a wishbone, can lend a satisfying, bone-like snappiness when you break it. In my quest to find the “snappiest” clay that was easy-to-use with minimal processing and time, I determined that air-dry clays did not break with a satisfying crack (more like a disappointing dislocation), and I didn’t want to spend hours firing my wishbones in a kiln.

What worked: Oven bake sculpting compound. I used Super Sculpey Sculpting Compound, which after forming into the desired shape, only takes 15 minutes in the oven at 275° to harden into the likeness of a wishbone. Decorate if you want, and you have as many wishes as you can create. Vegetarians and vegans will love this alternative, as no animals are harmed!

What you need:

  • Firm or extra-firm sculpting compound like Super Sculpey Sculpting Compound (if you don’t want to decorate your wishbones, look for a neutral white or off-white color)
  • Foil
  • Clean working surface that you don’t use for food
  • Paints, glitters, and ribbon for decoration

Start off with your clay and condition it. Conditioning just means you smoosh it up so that the clay is workable and doesn’t crack and flake when you bend and shape it.

Super Sculpey Sculpting Compound (gray)
Super Sculpey Sculpting Compound (gray)

I tear off workable chunks and roll it around until its pliable in my hands

Condition the compound
Condition the compound

When the compound is workable, I begin to start forming tubes.

Form compound into a tube
Form compound into a tube

You can form tubes of any size you want to make wishbones of any size you want. For this project I’m aiming for chicken-sized wishbones so I’m creating tubes that are about 3″ long and 1/4″ in diameter.

Keep rolling it into a tube
Keep rolling it into a tube about 3″ long and about 1/4″ in diameter

When I get the desired diameter and length, I fold the tube in half.

Fold the tube
Fold the tube

I pinch the folded end a bit to and flatten the bottoms of the ends to achieve a wishbone-like structure. Wash your hands after handling clay. Because? Well, because the instruction say so.

Form it into a wishbone
Form it into a wishbone

Since your clay is still soft, you will need to bake the wishbones on a bolster to retain the arched shape of a wishbone while it bakes. The Super Sculpey instructions are to bake for 15 minutes at 275º for every 1/4″ of thickness.

Place on a foil bolster
Place on a foil bolster to maintain shape, and bake. Ignore the giant wishbone in the center. THAT was an experiment – muahahaha.

When you pull the wishbones out of the oven, be careful to leave out to cool for about 10-15 minutes before you handle again. You can use as is after cooled, or decorate with paint, glitter and ribbons for a festive napkin setting decoration!

Finished Wishbones
Finished Wishbones!

If snapping wishbones for wishes is a juvenile and barbaric endeavor for you or your guests, I found that these wishbones hold up just fine as decorations or keepsakes.