There are numerous theories on foundation and quite a bit of observation on what bees will draw on and accept in the hive. With wax being preferred, dark colors seemingly more desirable, etc.
I also undestand that bees will chew and remove some materials, paper being one of them.
This question is a bit out of left field but I am wondering if anyone has ever tried plasticized paper/cardboard as a foundation? I am wondering if a plastized paper could be wax coated and run through an embossing mill.
I know this is an off the wall question. I guess the first thing I should try is putting a strip of plastized paper in to see if they shred it. After that see how they react to a wax coated strip and then maybe a starter strip embossed and fixed to the top of a frame.
I'm not entirely sure what "Plasticized paper" is, but DuraComb and DuraGilt are sheets of plastic with wax on them that have then been embossed. It works well as long as the bees don't decide to tear down the wax. Once the wax is off the plastic they never put it back on.