I figured out a way to make faux leather in two steps with three supplies that you probably have in your home right now. It's great for crafting and junk journals and it really looks and feels like leather.
Take a big piece of heavy paper bag or other kraft paper. Heavy paper with lots of visible dots and spots and fibers works best. (I like to use the paper from corrugated cardboard I have separated.)
Wearing gloves, rub shoe polish into the kraft paper. The more you apply, the darker your "leather" will become.
Once you have covered a big enough spot for your needs, use a shoe polish brush to rub the shoe polish, further embedding it into the paper fibers. A clean, rough cloth will work just as well as a brush.
Cover the shoe polish with lotion and rub it in. Use your fingertips to press it into the paper. This will soften it and give it a sheen. Wipe off any extra lotion. And that's it!
Experiment with different kraft paper and different shades of shoe polish and you will get different results.
For this journal cover, I used a heavy paper bag and brown shoe polish for the main cover. I used the same polish on deconstructed corrugated cardboard to make the spine. Here's a video on how to deconstruct corrugated cardboard if you are interested: Video
Use your "leather" to make bookmarks,
and tabs. Experiment!
Here I made a tuck spot with faux leather that I stamped with permanent ink and colored with alcohol markers.
This pocket topper has flat brads that really add to the leather look.
I used the faux leather to help define this secret side pocket.
And this belly band flip is made from embossed faux leather.
I hope you have a blast with this. I know I am!
Here's a video of the whole process if you want more details: Faux Leather Video