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You might try buying some 100% cotton watercolor paper and see how that works. I think it comes in different weights. Soak it well. You might also try separating a page into thinner, irregular sheets and overlapping them.
Another, rather strange source, might be cotton pet bedding (for small rodents). This kind of material: https://www.petmountain.com/category/92 … dding.html Perhaps pull out a lump and work it out into a sort of 'sheet', then moisten it with a sprayer filled with water or water/glue mix, and press it down on your mold. What about 100% cotton balls, worked the same way?
If you try these, please let us know how they work, good OR bad. Thanks!
As I mentioned in a previous post in this theme, I find the packing paper that Amazon (UK, I don't know how they pack stuff in USA or elsewhere) is ideal. It is strong when dry but soft and flexible when moistened. It absorbs paste (for me CMC+PVA) extremely well and moulds very satisfactorily. Best thing, it is free when you buy goods and comes in great lengths. My family saves it for me and I have stacks under the conservatory table, ready for use. (Yes, dear, I'll tidy up some day soon!!)
Here in the U.S., Amazon ships with large plastic bubbles. U.S.: Waste Production King of the World. I don't think I've seen paper packing for YEARS.
Plastic bubbles? How sad. Of course USA doesn't believe in Climate Change does it? Are those the plastic bubble sheets that finish up in the ocean? Paper is organic . . . and great for our craft!
Apparently, the only people who don't believe in Climate Change, are the ones who stand to lose money by stopping doing what they're doing. That huge island of plastic in the Pacific is likely American-made.