I can’t seem to come up with a good way to make this material. It’s like a semi-transparent, somewhat glossy clean plastic. It just never looks realistic no matter how I make it
Have you tried mixing transparent with translucent and then mix the result with a glossy?
I’m guessing the mix between transparent and translucent should use layer weight (or fresnel) as a factor, to make it more transparent when is facing the camera.
Or another option would be to use volume, but that would take ages to render…
Quite a few threads about this already, e. g.
Never thought of mixing glass with emission for this kind of material!
You probably won’t need to use that trick once 2.8 is released - the emission shader is being used to counteract the darkening effect that occurs with rough glass. In 2.8 this has been fixed by the introduction of a multi scattered GGX option.