I know you don't want to use nylon, but it's cheap and I've made butterfly wings with nylon stockings and thin wire. It's the best method I've used so far, and they look fantastic when finished.
Here's the best tutorial I've found-- (0:00 - 6:11)
A tip while painting- Use a LOT of paint if you want hard edges on the design. It's difficult to paint on nylon.
If this isn't what you want, I hope you do find something. Good luck!