This dish towel hanger duck was painted with pure gesso. It changes cheap glazed objects into a richer looking product. Here's a before of the duck so you can see the difference.
I have been thinking of doing a post on making your own chalk paint, but another blogger did that a few days ago, so I don't have to.
Making your own chalk paint is so much cheaper than the $40 per quart (yes, quart) the popular stuff costs. I have been experimenting by adding gesso to left over paint I have on hand, using 1/3 gesso and 2/3's leftover paint. I got the idea to paint with gesso from Villa Barnes -- who I think is the most creative blogger out there when it comes to furniture.
Anyway, No Minimalist Here (another highly skilled and entertaining blogger) gives a variety of ideas on how to make the chalk paint, but missed the gesso combination.
Gesso is available at Michael's and Hobby Lobby, etc. Michael's is the cheapest I've found. I have been painting a variety of stuff with it since I learned about it by reading Villa Barnes' blog. You can use it by itself or mixed with paint. Love the stuff. I'm becoming possessed and I have a house full of projects in various stages to prove it.
Check out information on painting with gesso and making your own chalk paint at the blogs below. They probably won't link so you may have to type it in yourself: